How the Surfside Tragedy has reignited Giatec’s mission

How the Surfside Tragedy has reignited Giatec’s mission
How the Surfside Tragedy has reignited Giatec’s mission

“There are structures from thousands of years ago that remain standing, so it is clear structural resiliency is possible.” Pouria Ghods, CEO and Co-Founder.

In the early hours of June 24th, 2021, tragedy struck the close-knit community in Surfside, Miami when the Champlain Towers South experienced a partial collapse. This part of the building had 130 units inside and, to the world’s horror, the death toll has been announced at 98 victims.

Unfortunately, infrastructure collapses like these are only getting more common. In April of 2021, the Whitehouse released its infrastructure report card with all states scoring between a C and a D-, not inspiring much positivity around the country. In a similar 2014 report from the Whitehouse, it was deemed that throughout the U.S., 1 in 4 bridges needed repairs and 65% of roadways were in poor condition. Public funding of infrastructure has decreased steadily over the past decade, and with the added effects of climate change, it seems destined that more trouble lies ahead.

Though it may seem like a helpless situation at times, innovation is on the rise and people are working to create the smart solutions we need to ensure tragedies like this don’t occur in the future.

Over the past 11 years, Giatec’s team was working hard to develop a solution. From buildings to bridges and roads, Giatec has created a suite of products, ranging from their wireless concrete sensors to non-invasive corrosion detection technology, built to combat rising infrastructure issues.

Giatec is on a mission to revolutionize the concrete industry and every team member has an opportunity to make an impact and drive change today. While not every job at Giatec is directly linked to the creation of solutions for concrete monitoring, every role contributes to making a difference in making this change happen. All employees are committed to making our construction practices smarter, faster, and most importantly, safer. At Giatec, we are doing our part to make sure that the surfside tragedy will never be repeated.

We decided to speak to our CEO and Co-Founder, Pouria Ghods, about how he got into such a field and what drives him and Giatec.

Pouria understands from experience how important the quality of infrastructure is. Growing up in Iran, one of the most seismically active countries in the world, Pouria watched as thousands of people were affected by catastrophic earthquakes almost every year. These earthquakes caused massive infrastructure damage, costing the Iranian government $6.9 billion USD over the last 100 years. As Pouria recounts, “I saw how these natural disasters could take away the basic needs of shelter, security, and life.” These earthquakes ignited an interest into the quality of our infrastructure and buildings, and how that quality could be improved.

Pouria explained that he chose to go into Civil engineering at the age of 18 because he not only felt the need to fix the problems he identified in his country’s infrastructure, but he also had a passion for science and a skill for math. “I always had an interest in engineering,” Pouria explained, “but believed civil engineering would allow me to create the most positive impact on other peoples’ lives.”

As he began his journey in engineering, Pouria saw that his passion rested in two categories: the safety and sustainability of buildings and infrastructure. He saw the environmental damage that the industry was causing and knew the cement industry alone contributes more to total greenhouse gas emissions than all of Canada. Pouria saw the opportunity to change the construction industry for the better by creating a solution to make the construction industry build safer structures and reduce its carbon footprint in the process.

With his mission to revolutionize the concrete industry, Pouria knew that he would not be satisfied or see the same level of impact in a traditional engineering role. He, along with Giatec’s Co-Founder and CTO Aali Alizadeh, knew the best way to make a mark on the industry was to create a technological solution that leverages IoT.

Therefore, the pair launched Giatec, a knowledge-based company that provides smart solutions to the construction industry. To combat the issues of safety and sustainability, Giatec, in its 11 years, has created a suite of products to help address both.

Pouria explained that “…an infrastructure issue can start small, like a single cancerous cell in the body. Without diagnosis and treatment, the cancer will inevitably spread and take over the host.” To address existing infrastructure issues, Giatec has created a product for safety and inspection use. This allows engineers to be proactive and diagnostic with existing infrastructure, rather than waiting idly by for another tragedy to strike. He concluded, “The earlier the cancer is found, the more inexpensive and effective the treatment will be.”

At Giatec, we believe that while there needs to be a way to detect issues in existing buildings, there also needs to be solutions available so that these issues never arise from future construction projects. There need to be solutions that allow new construction to withstand and remain resilient against natural disasters and changes in climate. Therefore, our wireless sensors are able to measure the temperature and strength of concrete as it is being poured, so any issues can be found and resolved right at the beginning.

“There are structures from thousands of years ago that remain standing, so it is clear structural resiliency is possible” Pouria states. At Giatec, we know there needs to be more focus on long-term and sustainable practices and less focus on return on investment. We are determined to help make this the standard across the industry. Come join the Giatec team and become a part of bringing this mission to reality.

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