Impact Infrastructure (ii) is at the center of efforts to create standard risk-adjusted metrics and tools for project valuation. The company’s AutoCASETM product line automates business case analysis for infrastructure and public building projects. John F. Williams II
Chairman & CEO, Impact Infrastructure, LLC
While the company was officially created on March 5, 2012, work toward its inception began in 2007 with a meeting in the Town of Brookhaven, New York, and a conversation with an economic development director revealing plans to be the “greenest” community in the nation. By the end of the meeting it was apparent that achieving “green” aspirations was going to be easier said than done.
Brookhaven was one of hundreds, if not thousands, of communities with similar plans and a similar challenge. How do you answer the overarching questions that can stop any project in its tracks: What’s in it for me?; What are the social, environmental, and economic costs and benefits associated with a particular undertaking?; What are the risks that go along with the project?; How might uncertainty impact the bottom line, or business case, on which investments are based and prioritized?
The subsequent economic crash of 2008 made it clear that really smart investment decisions were needed in order to allocate limited funding to projects that deliver the greatest overall social, environmental, and economic returns. The need to find a standard, transparent, and affordable approach to project valuation and risk assessment was clear.
ii’s co-founders set out to identify data and assemble tools essential to addressing this challenge. A range of experience and skill was required, the breadth of which was well beyond the capabilities of existing organizations. They leveraged their combined networks to assemble a collaborative team comprised of talented people who share a common vision, aptitude, and willingness to work together to achieve something that they feel is both GOOD and GREAT. Collaboration is at the heart of ii’s development.
ii’s co-founders engaged, organized, and empowered a diverse team of experts with the goal of finding an efficient, transparent, and affordable means of answering the “What’s in it for me?” questions. We needed to blend a combination of expertise in infrastructure delivery and finance, as well as specialty skills in economics, risk, and data management.
Thankfully, our professional network provided access to the “best” of the best. We challenged them to find a way to leverage lessons learned from custom studies to automate the process of assessing the impact of a project, and make it possible for non-economists to run credible comprehensive business cases.
Automation will dramatically cut the cost of the decision-making process. By allowing for comparisons within projects AutoCASETMwill also provide a significant incentive to run cases early and often, making them a common practice for enabling investment decisions.
Our collaboration began with a Clinton Global Initiative Commitment to Action and expanded to include:
- Three Columbia University based research teams
- Private project developers and financiers
- The Zofnass Program for Sustainability at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design
- The Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure and its Economics Committee
- The West Coast Infrastructure Exchange
- A collection of planning, architecture, and engineering companies
- A team of economists and risk management experts
- Software developers
- Graphics and communications specialists
- Angel investors
PURSUING A CLEAR GOAL
The decision to create Impact Infrastructure was driven by a desire to address the need for an industry standard for project valuation and risk assessment. Our goal was to create affordable tools for rapid deployment to millions of users around the world. During the 2013 business year our collaborative efforts made significant progress toward achieving this goal.
- Developed AutoCASETM, software designed to automate comprehensive business case and risk analysis for infrastructure and public building projects, and filed a provisional patent
- Secured initial paying Beta testing sites in Texas and Arizona
- Released the spreadsheet based Business Case Evaluator for Stormwater Management (BCE v1.0) for public comment and peer review through the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure, designed as an Economic Companion Tool to ISI’s EnvisionTM Sustainability Rating System for Infrastructure Projects
- Entered into strategic relationships with software development and distribution partners in anticipation of an initial commercial release of AutoCASETM for Stormwater Management in 2014
- Entered into strategic relationships with the Carleton Centre for Community Innovation and the Canadian Impact Infrastructure Exchange
- Opened offices in New York City and Toronto
- Launched the company website (www.ImpactInfrastructureLLC.com) and created a social media presence:
- ii Insights Blog (http://impactinfrastructurellc.com/blog/)
- LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/company/impact-infrastructure-llc/)
- Facebook (https:/www.facebook.com/impactinfrastructure)
- Twitter (https://twitter.com/ImpactINFSTR)
PLANS FOR 2014 AND BEYOND
Throughout the execution of the AutoCASETM Beta tests, refinements will be made and a commercial application for Stormwater Management will be prepared for release by mid-2014. ii will work with our strategic partners to offer and support the software. As the first commercial product enters the market, ii will be preparing a Beta version of AutoCASETM for Transit and Active Transportation. Additional packages of AutoCASETM for Bridges and Highways, and Social, and Environmental Infrastructure are expected to follow in 2015. Our long-term goal is to
offer a complete portfolio of metrics across the broad range of infrastructure and building types.
ii’s collaborative team of co-founders includes John Williams, our Chairman and CEO; a CFO and Director of Business Development; John Parker, our Chief Economist; and Ryan Meyers, our AutoCASETM Product Manager.
They have been supported by Economists Gaelle Espinosa, Dan Hodge (UMASS based), Scott Macmurdo, Ying Bao, and Ju Li, as well as software developers Trevor Scullion and Dan Gerlach; Timothy Dvorak our Creative Director, Cassandra Harris our Communications Consultant, and Denise Dvorak our Documentation Consultant. ii’s General Counsel is Linda Robison and our IP Attorney is Joe Englander from the law firm of Shutts & Bowen, LLP.
Our angel investors include Joe Harris and Bill Davis.
Our Board of Directors include:
- John Williams, Chairman of the Board, Founder and CEO
- Bill Davis, Vice-Chair and Managing Director, Empirical Asset Management
- Raffaela Siskind, PE, SVP Washington Square Partners
- Whitney Stevens former EVP Citi Global Cards
- David Stoller, Executive Chairman, Reach4Entertainment Enterprises PLC. and former Partner and co-head of global finance for Milibank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, LLP.
ii’s strategic collaborators include: Emma Stewart and Brian Young, Autodesk; Marty Janowitz, Stantec; James Grant, HNTB; Lidia Berger, Dewberry; and Kevin Shepherd, Verdunity.
Other Collaborators include: Deborah Nisson, Ullico; Thomas Croft, Heartland Capital Strategies; Paul Zofnass, EFCG; Bill Bertera, ISI; Chris Taylor, West Coast Infrastructure Exchange; Nancy Degnan, Columbia Earth Institute; and Tessa Hebb, Carleton University.
Download a PDF version of the above: ii_2013_SUMMARY_01062013-1