Robotic Construction and Sustainability Themes of 2023 DCP Residential Summit

By: Kyle Niblett
Wednesday, September 13, 2023

University of Florida students from a variety of disciplines in the built environment descended upon the Stephen C. O’Connell Center Wednesday afternoon to learn more about the current trends in residential building construction. The main topics of the two-hour session, which was also attended by several prominent members of the residential industry, centered around robotic construction and sustainability in new homes.

“It was a great opportunity to open my eyes up to the residential side of the construction industry,” said Samantha Butler, a senior at the M. E. Rinker, Sr. School of Construction Management. “It is so important for all Rinker students, whether you’re a freshman, J1 or even a graduate student to come to these types of events. It broadens your perspective and provides a ton of great networking opportunities.”

The event was the fourth of its kind, and as usual was hosted by founder Dr. Nathan Blinn (MSCM ’15, Ph.D. ’18). The two-time UF College of Design, Construction and Planning graduate welcomed to the podium Rinker Assistant professor Dr. Aladdin Alwisy and fellow two-time DCP alum Kyle Abney (BDES ’99, MBC ’01), who is principal at Abney + Abney Green Solutions. The event continues to be of massive importance to Blinn’s company, Eagle Construction of Virginia.

“Last year at this very event, I ended up meeting three of the four summer interns I hired,” said Blinn, a 2023 UF 40 Gators Under 40 recipient. “I am excited to see the continued growth of this event, as well as the increased interest in residential construction.”

Samantha Bucherger spent time with Blinn after the event and is hoping to keep the UF pipeline going to Eagle’s offices in Richmond, Virginia.

“Nathan was really easy to talk to,” Bucherger said. “He told me about how many different parts there are to residential construction and how many different ways you can get involved. Every part of this business is innovative.”

Dr. Alwisy spent his portion of the Summit teaching current and future professionals about his first-of-its-kind Robotic Station, which has the capability to save companies millions of dollars and time.

“Framing is a bottleneck task where you have to wait days or even weeks to build a single house,” Alwisy said. “Our new patented station can now frame it within 90 minutes. A community that takes six months now to frame, will only take a weekend.”

Abney, who helped create the first-ever student chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council Club back in 1999, spoke about how he wished DCP offered a degree in sustainability when he was in school like it does now. Reviewing standard incentives, federal incentives and even progressive incentives in the green residential sector, the double Gator spoke to the capacity crowd about how cities and counties are transitioning from those things to mandates.

“Residential green building is a great niche inside of the larger green building industry,” said Abney, who is celebrating his company’s 15th anniversary this year. “Today’s students aren’t fearful of it like they were 20 years ago. That’s a good thing, because now it’s not something they should know, but something they need to know. The industry is receptive to it now more than ever.”

One of the students who was fascinated by Abney’s lecture was Rinker senior Davis Lunger. The two spoke for more than 10 minutes after the event, providing exclusive one-on-one time between a job seeker and potential employer.

“My biggest takeaway from speaking with Kyle was how imperative sustainability is in the future of homebuilding,” Lunger said. “Learning about the owner’s incentives for pursuing green building and the different tax deductions really expanded my mind about why people should pursue sustainable practices in building construction.”

Lunger and a host of other Rinker students will attempt to lock down internships and full-time jobs at Thursday’s annual Rinker Career Fair, which also takes place in the O’Connell Center.

Scroll to Top