Recent Civil Engineering Ph.D Graduate Forest Flager Talks with SPIRE
Forest Flager’s path from the son of contractor to product manager for a cutting edge software tool to analyze real estate development has been a long one.Forest, who holds an undergraduate degree and PhD. from Stanford, and a Master’s degree from both Harvard and MIT, is putting them all to work as product manager at Vannevar Technolgy.
For Forest it began while growing up inNorthern California seeing his father who was a contractor build homes. After graduating from Aptos High School near Santa Cruz Forest knew he wanted to be involved in the real estate industry somehow, it was then began his undergraduate course work in Civil Engineering at Stanford. Upon completing his undergraduate degree he obtained a Masters degree in Digital Media from Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Furthering his passion for technology and engineering he continued his education by going to MIT and obtaining a Masters degree in Structural Engineering.
It was after MIT that Forest began working as a Structural Engineer at theLondonbased design firm Arup. While at Arup he worked on lots of interesting projects, one significant project in particular was the Beijing Olympic stadium nick named the “Bird’s Nest”.Forestbenefited from all the varied projects he was able to work on and all the overseas connections and experience he was able gain.
After a couple of years in London he returned to California and began working on technology based design options. It was in 2006 that Mr. Flager decided to return to Stanford and obtain a Ph.D in Civil Engineering and work more closely with computation design. It was during his time as a Ph.D candidate he began working the Center for Integrated Facility Engineering (CIFE) at Stanford. CIFE a program of the Civil Engineering department at Stanford has as its mission to be the world’s premier academic research center for virtual design and construction of architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry projects.
Working with the CIFE group he was able to work with actual industry professionals and collaborated with the Beck Group on a multifamily residential project where he explored alternative development method scenarios to reduce cost and environmental impact. With a enthusiasm for the technical and the design components of real estate,Forestsays “my objective in developing these methods is to augment human capabilities to evaluate large numbers of design alternatives and, thereby, to help AEC project teams to identify innovative design solutions that improve the quality of our built environment from an economic, social, and ecological perspective.”
Now with his Ph.D Forestis currently the Product Manager at Vannevar Technology, which is a venture-backed startup founded by Google engineers that are developing an open cloud-based collaboration platform for building delivery. His responsibilities include product strategy and roadmap, and he serves as a liaison between the customers and the development team.
During his Ph.D candidacy Forest was able to co-create and teach a course at Stanford and said that it is something that he greatly enjoyed and would love to do again someday. When asked about being a lecturer he says “I really enjoyed working with the students, I found it very motivating and inspiring.”Forest went on to say that he really appreciates what the SPIRE organization does, he continues “I think it’s great that all facets of real estate can be involved with SPIRE moving forward in the real estate industry.” Be on the lookout for Forest and Vannevar Technology as they change the way we approach development.