In this thoughtful Nomad Futurist podcast, we learn how Dave Perez’s unusual background in Hotel and Restaurant Management laid the foundation for his wide-ranging technology career and experience in building construction across a broad set of industries including the critical infrastructure space, renewable energy, manufacturing, microelectronics, and life sciences.

Perez grew up in a Cuban household in Miami with a father who was a mathematician and chemist, and a mother who was a psychologist. After beginning studies in mechanical engineering, Perez shifted gears.

I was fascinated by the social aspects of business, so I gravitated towards the business and marketing side.”

He opted for a degree in Hospitality Management which attracted him as it encompassed engineering, marketing and law and had a strong social component.

In construction it’s about people management the same way that the hospitality industry is. The hotel degree in comparison to a business degree is more holistic. It teaches you how to pivot and keep moving forward. It’s really an entrepreneurial degree.”  

Perez, a master builder, discusses the challenges of creating environments for different industries. He singles out the data center and microelectronics industries as two of the most challenging because of the pace of what is required. 

You have to make a lot of decisions within a very short period, and you have to make accurate decisions that are meaningful and impactful.”

After decades of experience across different verticals, Perez has gained a broad perspective and ability to cut through complexity.

“There’s similarities and there’s differences, you pull the similarities together and then you understand the nuances and the differences of each building. The characteristics of a life science building, a data center, and a semiconductor building at the core are very similar. They are powered buildings that can never go down.”

In terms of education, Perez aligns with Nomad Futurist on the need for alternative approaches to the standard four-year college degree such as trade schools and laddered programs that allow students to get into the workforce while they are learning. He also believes in the importance of reaching out to underserved demographics who are easily overlooked in the current system.

“There are some really talented people that, if given the opportunity, could step into a trade school, learn a trade, and then figure out how to build those skills to move into management or other things.”

Perez shares some nuanced observations about the challenges involved in building a more diverse workplace including the unrecognized impacts of well-intentioned initiatives that focus on helping one group while excluding others. 

In parting, Perez encourages young people to be bold:

“Be a little bit bolder and have the courage to speak up and have your ideas heard. Don’t assume that because it hasn’t been said that people have thought about it and dismissed it.”

Dave Perez is an established business leader in the technology sectors with over 30 years of experience in advanced manufacturing. He has spent a great deal of his career assisting the world’s largest technology companies expand their footprint and optimize their manufacturing processes. His industry-related experience spans from microelectronics, life sciences, data centers, automotive, thin film PV, and renewable energy. Perez’s broad knowledge provides an exceptional end-to-end client experience across a global footprint. 

In his current role as Senior Vice President, Client Experience at Nexii, Perez is committed to the company’s mission in creating a greener built environment for people and the planet. His role assists Nexii’s clients in achieving their long-term sustainability goals through an enhanced building process. “We have to look at the way we build things and provide better solutions for our environment and planet. We have less than 10 years to reverse the cycle and we must act not talk.”   

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