Meet the Insider: Amr Raafat, Chief Innovation Officer, Windover Construction 

amr raafat windover

Innovation is vital to drive the construction industry forward. And even in our modern day and age, where new technologies blossom every second, we must still push to find innovative solutions to everyday problems. Only with this mindset can we transform those problems into ones of the past, not the present. 

Amr Raafat is here to do just that. As Chief Innovation Officer at Windover Construction, Amr leverages technology to optimize global project delivery. We're so lucky to have him as one of our newest Digital Builder Insiders. As part of the Insider program, he'll write about digital transformation and sustainability. 

Amr leads Windover’s virtual design and construction (VDC) team and the Innovations for Design, Engineering, and Automation, IDEA™ platform, providing leading-edge technology services to streamline the construction process. With over 20 years of experience combining architecture, construction, and engineering, he champions pioneering technologies to integrate and unify project procurement. 

People like Amr will continue to solve problems such as housing our growing population, streamlining building components manufacturing, and developing new sustainable solutions for construction. 

Want to get to know him? Read on. 

Tell me about yourself and what you specialize in?   

I have been in the AEC industry for over 20 years, leveraging my expertise in architecture, construction, engineering, and technology in novel ways. I help to streamline efficiencies, mitigate risk, and provide certainty of outcomes on our projects. 

As Chief Innovation Officer at Windover Construction, I promote innovation and advancement across all company segments. My time leading the VDC team and the IDEA™ platform helped me turn my passions into innovative solutions for global projects. 

Throughout my tenure in this field, I've leveraged groundbreaking technologies such as BIM, prefabrication, Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA), VR/AR, reality capture, digital twins, and automation to develop tech-first solutions to challenges throughout the project lifecycle while advancing sustainability. By utilizing technologies in novel ways to support projects large and small, we can redefine what's possible to advance the industry. 

I received my master's degree in architecture from Boston Architectural College and received the prestigious "Innovator of the Year" award for the Autodesk AEC Excellence Awards in 2019. 

How did you get into the construction industry?   

I had the privilege of starting my career by working with and learning from the world-renowned aquarium architect Peter Chermayeff, FAIA, in Boston. I worked on the programming, conceptual design, and BIM management of many international aquarium projects, including the National Aquarium Expansion in Baltimore, Maryland; the Trieste Aquarium in Italy; and the expansion of Nausicaä Centre National de la Mer in France.  

In so doing, I developed a deeper understanding of coordinating complex building components, which inspired me to explore the world of making big ideas and challenging designs a reality through problem-solving and innovative solutions. That is how I got to construction.   

What are you passionate about in construction?  

One area that I’m passionate about is building even more affordable housing. We have a unique opportunity to achieve that goal in the AEC industry, starting with our local communities.  

At Windover, our approach to digital transformation is solution-based and rooted in our core values. These are the drivers for me to propel construction technology. Delivering affordable, high-quality housing projects in the most efficient way possible through technology is rewarding. 

I am also passionate about cross-industry innovations. Many of the novel solutions for our projects and the global collaborations we built over the years are based on learning from and applying technologies used in other industries, such as manufacturing, media, and aerospace. We can transform our construction workflows to streamline communication and become more efficient, lean, and sustainable by mirroring these industries' approaches.   

Is there a project or person in the industry that inspires you to build better or differently?  

I grew up watching my father build amazing buildings. He is an architect and a construction management leader. Some of the lessons I learned from him are how honesty, good work ethics, and a can-do mentality can shape our world into the best it can be.  

Over time, as I envision, plan, and lead projects and teams, I realize the responsibilities that our AEC community has to positively impact people's lives, build humane spaces that bring people together, and create a sustainable built environment.    

What can readers expect to learn from you?  

Readers will gain fresh perspectives on advancing the AEC industry, practical uses, and educational project case studies to understand how to better utilize today's technology with tomorrow's vision to construct, deliver, and operate buildings in the most efficient and sustainable way possible. 

I will write about innovations in the AEC space around the globe, tour spaces where the latest and greatest innovations are happening, and interview experts in the United States, Australia, Europe, Asia, and beyond. One of the most effective ways to push the industry forward is to exchange ideas and learn from each other. 

What’s one “tool” you can’t live without and why?  

The pencil. I start every project with a pencil and a blank piece of paper. It helps me brainstorm and sketch ideas before going digital. Pencils offer the flexibility to erase, correct, and continually grow my thoughts as I develop solutions. It helps in the initial thought process to reach the best results.  

Lauren Ginsberg

Construction Content Marketing Manager, Autodesk Construction Solutions