News from AU
February 10, 2021

Perspectives on Business, Construction, and Women in BIM: Rebecca and Nicole De Cicco

This interview is part of a series featuring the members of our diverse AU community, from speakers and conference attendees to forum participants and online commenters. You are AU.

Nicole and Rebecca De Cicco
Sisters Nicole De Cicco (left) and Rebecca
De Cicco (right) of Digital Node.

1. What’s your current job role?

Rebecca: Director of Digital Node

Nicole: Training & Communications Manager at Digital Node

2. What are your main areas of expertise and interest?

Rebecca: My role as the owner is to support the growth of the business in three key areas: strategy, projects, and training and education. As Digital Node is a consultancy based on the implementation of BIM and digital construction techniques, it is my job to ensure we execute, deliver, and bring in new clients in this space.

Nicole: I focus on the management and marketing of the practice and work closely with Rebecca to ensure that we have a good online presence as well as provide opportunities for presence in media and publications. I also manage and coordinate all communication regarding online/face-to-face training for the company.

3. What do you enjoy most about your work?

Rebecca: I love the fact I can support the implementation of a new process and technology. I have always been fascinated by how technology can support new processes and techniques, and with my construction background this is a great part of what I do. I am a big advocate for training and education in this space which is why Digital Node’s aim is to share and support the sharing of knowledge in industry by not only the training courses we deliver all over the world but also in the work we do with nonprofit communities to link people together and grow knowledge.

Nicole: Being able to work closely together with my sister Rebecca to grow the business is something I most enjoy. It allows me to learn and develop my skills in BIM from Rebecca’s expertise and knowledge which she has gained over the years. Teamwork and collaboration are crucial to the development of any business, and being sisters allows us to be open, honest, and transparent with everyday activities.

4. What one challenge in your work would be most satisfying to solve?

Rebecca: I think it's the process of enabling automation to support the quality of both 3D models as well as the information that resides in the models. If we can automate this quality and authorization process more effectively and efficiently, then we can rule out one process (and a lot of time) along the journey when delivering construction projects.

Nicole: What I find when we deliver virtual and face-to-face training courses is that the time it takes in order to receive feedback is far too long, post-training. Maybe coming up with an automated response or possibly an app for delegates to use during training could be a possible solution so that we as training providers can continue to better our services.

Nicole and Rebecca at work

5. What one thing should new graduates entering your field know?

Rebecca: For me, it’s the speed of technology and digital change. How quickly our industry is evolving using differing technologies and processes is crazy and this rapid rate of change is something that new entrants should acknowledge and be excited by.

Nicole: I tend to agree with Rebecca in terms of how technology is rapidly evolving and changing in our daily lives. Being up to date and knowledgeable with social media platforms is crucial to the image of the company.

6. What has been one of your most impactful moments attending AU and why?

Rebecca: For me, it was the first time I presented at AU, which was 2015. I presented on the impact of the future and what will change in industry as we move into 2050 with my other BIM 2050 colleagues. This was a life-changing moment, as I was able to talk about my work, the future of the industry, as well as how technology and the impact Autodesk has will ultimately change what the future looks like.

Nicole: The AU 2019 General Session presentation from Asa Kalama, Disney’s executive creative director. His presentation on the development of their Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge using BIM technology and Revit to its full potential is something I will never forget. It was exciting to see something so creative being designed using Autodesk products.

7. Where do you see your industry in 10 years?

Rebecca: I believe that the future of construction will evolve, but 10 years is too short a space of time to see enormous impact. I feel that by 2050, however, we’ll see technology enable us to make better decisions. Decisions that currently involve heavy time scales will start to dissipate. Much research suggests that the uptake of digital and AI in the industry will help our asset owners understand how to manage individual assets better and more efficiently which will contribute to carbon output as well as energy efficiencies.

Nicole: The evolvement of technology and keeping up to date with that evolvement is crucial for the future of the construction industry.

8. What’s a fun fact that people may not know about you?

Rebecca: I wanted to be an actress, and I auditioned for an independent Italian film when I was 17. I never made the part, but life may have been different if that journey had materialized!

Nicole: Basketball was a passion of mine for many years. I started playing when I was 8 straight through to the age of 25. I coached girls as well. I loved it and was very good at it; no Michael Jordan though, that's for sure.

9. If you could contribute one thing to making a better world, what would it be?

Rebecca: For me, it's making sure there is an equal and fair workplace for women in construction. I started Women in BIM in 2012 and the group is now a global entity with leaders and members all over the world. One of my key ambitions for the incentive is to make sure that there are opportunities for women and minorities in BIM and that we address issues such as equal pay where there are no longer barriers for those who are interested in working in this space.

Nicole: I run the global administration and communications for the Women in BIM group Rebecca created and am equally as passionate about diversity in the construction industry. Therefore, I would have to say to help in promoting, retaining, and supporting women in this space and celebrating those women who are true advocates in the BIM space.

Check out Rebecca’s profile and Nicole's profile (and follow them) to learn more about their work and contributions to the AU community.