Shanoc Halliday is a rarity in the construction technology industry.
Most technology companies are packed with software engineers to build the actual tools, marketers to generate awareness and demand and salespeople to get them into customers’ hands.
Halliday serves in none of these roles. He doesn’t write software code or have professional experience in marketing or sales. Yet his position is critical in today’s construction industry, where implementing and using digital tools has become essential.
Halliday acts as a pivotal translator and subject matter expert between the people who build construction technology and those who use it for their work. Before working at Bluebeam as an enterprise customer success manager (CSM), Halliday spent nearly 20 years in various roles in the engineering and construction industry as a structural draftsperson. He used this time learning and applying nascent technologies, starting on the drawing board and progressing to managing building information modelling (BIM) in projects ranging from residential to large shopping centres and office towers.
These days, Halliday is part of Bluebeam’s Customer Success team, serving the Asia-Pacific region, tapping into those decades of experience as he helps current industry customers discover, improve and optimise their use of the company’s suite of tools to make their projects more efficient.
‘What keeps me excited is the customer feedback and knowing that you’re making a difference in their day’, Halliday said.
Now living in the Dandenong Ranges in Victoria about 43 km east of Melbourne, Halliday works from a home studio in the back garden he built himself. Thousands of people worldwide have been invited to visit his studio via online meetings. ‘When I’m part of an online meeting, it’s an opportunity to bring people into my “virtual” home. I have my tiki mugs, art and plants in the background, so it feels like my guests have been invited over in person.’
Halliday’s first entry into his computer aided design (CAD) career was with a local sheet metal company. Starting on the shop floor with laser cutters and punch presses, Halliday saw it as a chance to stay employed while further educating himself in mechanical engineering and CAD.
Halliday worked at a few different sheet metal companies, ultimately moving from the factory floor to the office using CAD/CAM software. Then he did a stint in a precast concrete detailing company. However, his big career change happened when he applied to work in Melbourne at a structural engineering firm. ‘It was interesting going from a sheet metal company to modular and precast and then to engineering’, he said. ‘At each step, I was able to take my experience and apply it to the new job. I know it’s not your standard career steps, but that was my journey.’
While at the engineering firm, Halliday was given his first exposure to 3D modelling, a then-emerging technology in the construction industry called Revit, known as a building information model (BIM). ‘I understood very quickly that Revit would be no walk in the park’, Halliday said. ‘Unlike AutoCAD, which is a blank space and users add content, Revit is a database that gets manipulated to present as drawings.’ So Halliday set his employment sights on a company that had already begun its BIM journey.
Halliday started working at Robert Bird Group in 2008, where he spent almost five years building his craft and getting promoted to senior structural draftsperson. He managed the drafting for big construction projects throughout Melbourne, most notably the Emporium Melbourne luxury shopping centre.
Halliday left Robert Bird to become a drafting team leader at Arcadis. Again working primarily on large construction projects, including Eastland Shopping Centre, a three-year project covering 14 acres of land. ‘Eastland was the biggest project I’ve ever worked on in terms of sheer size and staff geolocations’, Halliday said.
This is also when Halliday first discovered Bluebeam, but only using it as a basic drawing markup tool. ‘To be perfectly honest, I wasn’t all that great at first’, he said. ‘I was a beginner at best. I remember accidentally opening the Markup list and being overwhelmed.’
Halliday had intentions of taking his BIM knowledge further to work for an engineering company that specifically wanted to employ a BIM manager. Instead, a friend convinced Halliday to work for A2K, a construction industry software reseller and trainer, to help other companies develop BIM standards. He took the job, spending the next five years travelling across Australia and Asia, training architectural and engineering consultants on construction industry technology and discovering a new passion for educating others.
While at the reseller, Halliday became a Certified Bluebeam Instructor (BCI), an experience that ultimately opened his mind to the incredible capabilities of the software. ‘I had always thought the PDF and Revu were simple’, Halliday said. ‘But I came out of the course with my mind blown’, he added, specifically when he discovered the power of Bluebeam’s real-time collaboration tool, Studio Sessions.
Building customer relationships
Halliday started at Bluebeam in April 2021 as a technical sales engineer (TSE), working with customers throughout the Asia-Pacific region to get the most out of Bluebeam’s software. More recently, in August 2022, Halliday was promoted to enterprise customer success manager (CSM) – a role he said perfectly combines his deep construction technology experience with his passion for sharing knowledge.
Halliday now spends most of his days working on expanding customers’ awareness of what Bluebeam can do to make their jobs and lives easier. As the capabilities of Bluebeam continue to grow, Halliday and the rest of the CSM team work directly with clients to understand their awareness of Bluebeam’s functionality and workflows and opportunities where they can get more from the software.
‘I start clients with Tool Chests, Layers, Markup Lists with Status options, then move them to Studio Session for collaboration’, Halliday said. ‘This enables data collection for the design and construction review. Clients can then create a PDF report or push data into PowerBI for a historical and accountability dashboard.’
Halliday’s industry experience, ability to learn and understand the relationship between various construction workflows – not to mention his personality – have made him a special contributor at Bluebeam. ‘Shanoc’s passion for this industry and creating processes and standards don’t seem to come with an off switch’, said Andrew Gaer, Bluebeam’s director of customer success management. ‘He is always on.’
Apart from being a amazing at helping customers understand inventive ways to use Bluebeam, Gaer said Halliday is invaluable as an educator to his internal colleagues. ‘In addition to working directly with customers on their specific workflows, he has created a series of Knowledge Shares to show people what they can accomplish with the right application of available tools. Internally, he’s organised regular Tech Corner sessions to bring together all subject matter experts to share ideas, concepts and discoveries.’
Working at Bluebeam has allowed Halliday to tap into his natural proclivity to help people and build relationships while drawing from his acumen in structural drafting and construction technology. One of Halliday’s favourite aspects of being a CSM is hearing what everyone is doing and drawing on their best practices. ‘I’ve got this great opportunity to see how a whole range of people are using software and pulling that source of information together to improve existing or create new workflows’, he said. ‘With the creation of Bluebeam’s new CSM team, I get to use my acquired knowledge to improve client and end-user experience. I can’t think of a better job.’