The Core Concepts of Innovation

It has always been one of my favorite sayings – The difference between a groove and a grave is only the matter of depth. Many a man and many an institution have found their graves, so far as useful service is concerned, simply because they refused to be lifted out of their grooves.

These are words from our founder, Samuel Austin, to company stakeholders in January 1928, as the Company celebrated its 50th anniversary. Clearly, he felt it was important to remind everyone to stay plugged into their passion for innovation, for improving the way the Company performed work, and for improving the world around them. These beliefs set the foundation of our company, and continue as part of our DNA today. This is what drives us forward.

These core concepts of innovation and thinking outside the box have continuously been at the heart of all of Austin’s key success stories over the past nearly 140 years. From inventing the modern-day design-build project delivery method to the development of the concept of pre-fabricated structural steel buildings, the early use of precast concrete structures, or in the creation of a patented concrete leveling device, innovation has always been at the core of who we are. We strive to design and build plants and facilities better, faster and at a better value – or in the words of Samuel Austin, “at a square deal.”

Throughout the past year and a half our team “got its groove on” when it came to moving forward with change, new ideas and delivering successful projects. We gained many new team members as the Company expanded, welcomed new people to management roles, and embraced multiple new technologies in project management, document controls, estimating, and design. We tested mixed virtual reality design reviews, developed a new food plant design that received a provisional patent, implemented (the first on an industrial project site) masonry robotics in the field, worked on automated interfacing between Revit and other design platforms, led an initial expansion into new markets, and brought on new in-house skillsets. To say things have been busy is an understatement.

Our team accomplished all these initiatives while maintaining their passion and commitment to delivering high-quality projects.

The goal is to be faster and come in with a better value. We build with the heart and soul of a craftsman. This is what sets us apart. Austin is not just another contractor on a list – we are innovators in our industry. We are innovators not only because that is what it takes to be a leader in our markets, but also because we are passionate about our work and about the ability of our work to impact our communities and world. By staying current, we help Owners stay on the cutting edge of their business. In the process, we get the opportunity to help impact the lives of millions. By my count, the projects the Austin team worked on this past year will directly impact the lives of more than 10 million people. That is something very, very special and cause for celebration.

2017 is more than half over and it’s been a good year with a great tune. 2018 will have a new song, and this one is going to have an even faster beat. No doubt it will come with some challenges and we will be learning new steps together, but I look forward to another year of “getting our groove on,” and I know if we stay true to our core, we will continue to be blessed with the opportunity to positively impact humankind and the world through our work.