Peter Torrellas is President for Connected Communities at Parsons Corporation leading infrastructure-focused business across cities, transportation, and utilities. Peter joined the podcast to talk about embracing the complexity of infrastructure to implement projects across domains.

Infrastructure Projects are a Journey

Peter Torrellas, emphasized that infrastructure projects are a process:

“I think there are some really reliable ingredients for success. One of those ingredients is, first, being honest about what the process looks like, so not declaring the problem solved, not coming in and saying, you know, we know how to do this. And maybe we’ve done it before, but maybe we haven’t done it before in that environment, and helping people manage uncertainty.

And so, bringing that to the table, not only transparency in the problem space that you’re facing, but also transparency in the change management part of the journey, what’s important for them to focus on, what they need to think about for their stakeholders, what problems they might run into. And then, as relationships move at the speed of trust, building that as you encounter challenges together, and – and sticking with each other, and working through problems in a collaborative way. 

I think trust is something that you need to continuously reinforce.”

Getting the most of Digital Twins

On the topic of Digital Twins, Torrellas explained:

“It’s probably more helpful for people to understand the process. So, what are we doing, exactly? Essentially, we’re trying to mathematically express something that’s happening in reality.

And then, if you can imagine, the simulation, I think, is what people really get excited about. But most of the work is not the simulation. It’s the data, and bringing the data together, and federating the data or gathering data into one [place].

…Then the magic starts, because as you say, no matter what you’re trying to solve, there’s a heavy lift in just getting everything together and creating the model to begin with. But once you have the model, then you have almost limitless possibilities in terms of what you can do with the simulation.”

Making Impact

Torrellas concluded: “The most exciting thing to me is that we’re at the beginning of this journey. And when I talk to my colleagues and partners and clients, whether we’re talking about water, or buildings, or transportation, or energy, or energy transition, all of the things related to infrastructure, what you start to realize is the war for climate action is going to be won or lost at the infrastructure level. It’s going to be about clean air, and clean water, and clean energy, and being able to move people and goods in a clean and safe way.

What we do now with infrastructure over the next five to 10 years will be the legacy that will be what generations live with for the next 50 or 100.”

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