5 min read

The power of windshield time [Nexus Newsletter #148]

This edition of the Nexus Newsletter is brought to you by Butlr and Tietoa.

Hey friends,

When I was growing up, I loved road trips. Jumping in my mom’s navy blue minivan meant we were going to one of two places I loved to be: my grandparents’ house or a soccer tournament.

Early in my career, I found a third flavor of road trip I grew to love: 1-on-1 time with one of my mentors. “Windshield time” meant we were hitting the road to visit a building or campus in Arkansas or Kansas City or rural Illinois.

To my surprise, I learned to love these trips just as much as family trips from childhood. Why? Because the windshield time between St. Louis and our destination meant I got to ask any question I wanted.

My mentors, who were normally jumping from meeting to meeting all day, were suddenly captive… for hours.

I had Sterling or Sam or Anne for sales questions, Brett or Jim for project development and HVAC design, Kyle for controls and commissioning, and David or Brian for energy modeling. One boring midwestern highway at a time, they caught me up to speed on how this crazy industry works. And hearing them fire questions at facility managers helped too.

I now realize how rare this was… and not just because of COVID. It’s rare to have the quality and quantity of mentors I did. If you do, it’s rare to get so much uninterrupted time with them… our leaders are busy people.

It’s also rare to have this time outside of your company’s four walls. Frankly, from the moment the average new hire’s onboarding begins, they are inoculated with company-specific training and socialization (Our competition is evil, our solution is the best, etc). Getting out of the building helps you get out of the echo chamber for a minute.

Looking back on how lucky I was, I’ve realized there’s a lesson here for all of you building teams of smart buildings specialists (and I know that’s a lot of you!).

Here’s the lesson: there are actually two types of onboarding needed for new hires into the smart buildings industry.

On one hand, you need company-specific onboarding: it’s all about how your company does things. Your special sauce. Almost every company already has this in place.

But you also need industry onboarding. The type that’s focused on what’s going on outside of a company’s four walls, how you fit into the bigger picture, and how you can be successful in the broader ecosystem.

And we need the latter now more than ever.

Did you know that since 2021, our Foundations course has taught industry onboarding to private teams, including Google, Carrier, Arcadis, Mapped, Willow, and WiredScore?

We'd love to get your team of 10 or more on the schedule this fall... there are two spots left.

Hit reply or reach out to zack@nexuslabs.online to get it on the calendar.

—James Dice, Founder of Nexus Labs

P.S. To figure out whether you need industry onboarding, we have a free checklist. It’s got the 6 most important parts to make sure you’re covering.

A message from our partner, Tietoa:

After participating in the Nexus Foundations course, Sam Kovar is hooked on smart buildings. As an outsider, he sees a future where this industry can move forward faster with better communications. He wants to be an independent creative resource (15+ years of experience in strategic communications, creative consulting, and technical execution for video, animation, and photography) for helping the Nexus community connect to their customers and grow their audiences.

Connect with Sam by filling out this contact form.

✖ At the Nexus

Here’s everything worth sharing from Nexus HQ this week:


★ PODCAST: 🎧 #121: Stacy Smedley on the Road to Zero Carbon Construction and Where Technology FitsEpisode 121 is a past conversation with Stacy Smedley, Sustainability Director at Skanska USA and Executive Director of Building Transparency, a fascinating nonprofit organization founded by a bunch of huge enterprises that are out to decarbonize the construction process.

We talked about that in detail, including what embodied carbon is, how to reduce it to zero, whether Stacy believes we can get to zero, and finally, where technology fits.

Specifically, we dove into the EC3 tool that's managed by Building Transparency - it's free, I think it's the key to really transforming construction, and there's a key value proposition for operating buildings with zero carbon that all of you should understand.



  • New Member Orientation: Nexus Founder, James Dice, hosts an introduction to the Nexus Labs Community and how you access and take advantage of all the resources that come with your Pro Membership. This is for new members or those who've not taken advantage of all the resources at the Nexus Community. October 5 @ 1:00pm MT
  • Subject Matter Expert Workshop: CTO and Co-Founder of SmartLocus, Inc., Victor Taylor, will lead us with A Primer on Machine Learning. October 13 @ 9:00 am MT.
  • Member Gathering: Macerich's Vice President, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability, Ryan Knudson will lead the discussion on Macerich's Smart Building Program. October 26 @ 9:00am MT.

Join Nexus Pro now to get the invites and access to the recordings.


★ ON LINKEDIN: THE term everyone in the buildings industry needs to learn, fast


★ READ OF THE WEEK: The Matter smart home standard officially launches today.


★ JOBS: Are you hiring? Searching for a job in smart buildings?—We've relaunched the Nexus Labs Jobs Board and we've made job postings free.

It's got great jobs from Belimo, Lockheed Martin, The Clarient Group, Vigilent Corporation, Grosvenor Engineering Group, Siemens, Virtual Facility, Clockworks Analytics, Watts, and LMRE.


🔥🔥🔥 Hot Jobs in Smart Buildings

👉 Belimo is looking for a Smart Building Specialist in Hinwil, Switzerland.

Belimo produces millions of sensors and actuators for the HVAC industry. All their devices have a digital identity and participate in the Belimo Digital Ecosystem. This job will enable you to develop your skills further and make a difference in an ecosystem of small devices with a big impact.

👉 Lockheed Martin has two open positions:

  1. Building Management Systems Controls Engineer in Startford, CT.
  2. Fault Detection & Diagnostics Lead in Moorestown-Lenola, NJ.

These positions support the Smart Buildings Team within the Lockheed Martin Rotary & Mission Systems (RMS) Facilities organization. The selected candidate will initially work under the guidance of the team with the goal of quickly becoming an independent subject matter expert.

As a leading technology innovation company, Lockheed Martin’s vast team works with partners around the world to bring proven performance to our customers’ toughest challenges.

A message from our partner, Butlr:

Occupancy data drives a variety of use cases across workplace experience, real estate planning and smart FM and is too valuable to be siloed in a walled garden. Every building and workplace would benefit from accurate, private, cost effective occupancy data accessible via API.

Listen to The Nexus Podcast with Rags Gupta, President of Butlr, on their approach to providing accurate API-first occupancy data at a fraction of the cost while not being physically able to collect personally identifiable information.

👋 That's all for this week. See you next Tuesday!

Whenever you're ready, there are 4 ways Nexus Labs can help you:

1. Take our shortcut to learning the Smart Buildings industry here (350 students and counting)

2. Join our community of smart buildings nerds and gamechangers here (450 members and counting)

3. Sponsor our newsletter & podcast & get 5k+ nerdy eyeballs and earholes on your brand, product, or business.

4. (NEW) Join the Nexus Labs Syndicate on Angellist for opportunities to invest in the best smart buildings startups that cross my desk each month.