Meet the Team: Frank E. Carpenter, Business Development
How did you end up working as a Business Development team member at Datum Tech Solutions? How did your roles in Alaska and Tennessee bring you to the Pacific Northwest?
I started my working life in the AEC industry building offshore oil rigs and other oil and gas facilities in Alaska. I then moved to Tennessee and started a real estate and construction company called The New Homes Division, building luxury custom homes and developing land.
I eventually got a little tired of the lack of programming efficiency in the industry and moved to the PNW to start a family and transitioned into commercial project management and process improvement.
I was quickly overtaken by technology solutions and got completely immersed in Building Information Modeling (BIM.) From there, I became enamored with reality capture. Bob introduced me to Stan and the rest is history!
Is there a technology that’s coming down the pipeline that you are super stoked about? Anything that’s worth sharing?
Where can I even start??
- Fully-automated UAV laser scanning capabilities
- automated point-cloud software that can clean and create floor plans
- haptic acoustics in XR technology
- collaborative engines for city planning and the film and video game industry
- artificial intelligence (AI) designing homes and commercial structures
- self-driving cars (these also use the same simultaneous localization and mapping (SLAM) technology that we use in our laser scanners)
- Permissio Datum Tech’s own software for managing AutoDesk permissions
And finally … some really fun stuff I’m working on myself to assist firefighters in viewing actual locations inside of large buildings when there are emergencies.
If you can’t tell, I’m a nerd, tinkerer, researcher, and have a constant, insatiable thirst for knowledge. All of our industries are now interconnected with hardware, software, and symbiotic use-cases. How can we put them all together to increase our quality of life??
How would you describe your role with Datum Tech Solutions? What’s the most exciting component of your position?
My primary role is business development, but working at a small business, we all get to wear a lot of hats and try out new things. I spend a good deal of my time consulting with clients, developing solutions, and project managing/performing their execution.
My favorite part, hands down, is delivering a great product to a happy client. There is no greater feeling than performing with excellence!
Are you still working on your PhD in Built Environment at UW? Has your education changed the way you think about Business Development? Has it changed your BD strategy?
That all went out the door when covid came in and shut everything down. I also had a baby, Frank IV, and moved to Gig Harbor. It didn’t fit into the plan anymore.
I never stop learning though! I’m currently working on my drone pilots’ license, another project management certification in Agile processes, and getting basic certifications in AWS and networking so I can stay relevant in the ever-changing landscape of technology.
How do you see BIM and 3D laser scanning solutions changing the way that industries like architecture, design and engineering perform their work? Have you seen anything particularly inspiring in the last year or so?
We still face the same challenges as we have for years, but for most part, everyone has embraced virtual design construction in some capacity. The last holdouts and older-generation are on their way out.
We just need to continue our mission of collaboration and education of our vendors, clients, and partners to streamline workflows, lower costs, and enable the use of our technologies across verticals.
The most inspiring thing I’ve seen trending lately is the push for open source solutions. I work with the American Planning Association’s Technology Division and they have an open initiative to drive the entire industry toward these solutions. It’s my hope the initiative is successful and we can force manufacturers and software developers to make their technology more accessible and configurable.
How do you stay up-to-date in your industry? Any specific magazines, blogs, social accounts that you regularly check in with?
I’m old (forty) and sometimes old-fashioned! Some of the newest and best things I learn about are from friends and colleagues in regular discussions. My best friend is a senior developer at Ingram Micro and is abreast of all the new technological advancements. I like to trade new technologies with my clients as well.
As a good consultant, I need to be aware of any solutions that can solve collateral issues for my clients. This is just good business practice and creates value for the client.
Any advice for prospective candidates looking to pursue a career in STEM? What advice would you give to someone looking to change their career later in life?
CERTIFICATIONS! Hiring managers, like everyone, is risk averse. They don’t want to be responsible for a bad hire. If you’re certified, you remove some of that risk.
Also, try to get a good idea of your intended career path before you get started. Much of life is a fluid machine, but it’s easier to get where you’re going if you have some idea of where you want to go.
Finally, do what my father told me, “Frank, try participating in your own life.” It sounds kind of silly, but schedule some time for living: professional development, athletics, hackathons, music, whatever you’re into. When you do things you love, you give other people the opportunity to see you shine. There is no better way into any job than with a personal referral from someone you know outside of work.
What do you feel is the most misunderstood aspect of your industry? Any common misconceptions?
Most people have no idea what laser scanning actually is. It’s becoming more mainstream, but there is still a long way to go before people understand the value and capabilities of precision survey.
Most people, even industry professionals, don’t always understand that a point cloud is the model. Everyone seems to want to model the captured data, but for a lot of applications, you’re just doing a ton of extra work for no reason.
What are your hopes for the future of your industry? How do you see the industry evolving?
For us, we have major hardware and software challenges that need to be made to make scanning easier, faster, and more mobile. Once we’re able to achieve that, and eventually drive the costs down, I’d like to see the whole world mapped out! They’ve already scanned and mapped Singapore.
Do you have a mentor? Any specific advice that they have given you that you can share?
Everyone at Datum Tech and several of my clients! We’re all generalists with a few areas of specialization. We all have to lean on each other at different times and that makes working at Datum Tech exciting!
We all learn bits and pieces from each other here and there. Stan has been great at organizing training opportunities and our internal team members have been setting up their own training for specific tools.
Any tips for people in your industry on how to navigate working remotely successfully?
A Couple Things:
- Get up, shower, brush your teeth, and get dressed like you’re going into the office. It really helps.
- Have a morning workout, even if it’s just some squats and sit-ups.
- Block out dedicated time for specific tasks.
- Make sure you reach out to your team members and spend a couple of minutes in a Zoom call just to say hello!
What are some projects to watch as we wrap up 2021? Anything people interested in 3D laser scanning should keep their eyes on?
Green energy, Aerospace, and Aerial Lidar! Drone-based laser scanners are the future of the industry.
What’s it like working on a team that’s spread across the country? Any challenges that you’ve been able to overcome?
I’m pretty well used to it. I have clients in Western Australia and Poland. I have team members in every time zone. Just part of doing business in the 21st century! We just have to stay aware of when each other are working and make sure not to violate the sanctity of their family time and/or time when they should be off work.