Brandon Milner

Brandon Milner

SVP of Digital and Data Engineering at EllisDon

EllisDon
We explore Canadian construction leader EllisDon’s digital transformation, leveraging data and technology to gain insights and drive better decisions

EllisDon has grown exponentially beyond its modest origins in London, Ontario. 

Founded and incorporated in 1951 by brothers Don and David Ellis Smith, today EllisDon is an employee-owned, US$5bn-a-year construction services company. With over 5,000 salaried and hourly employees across 15 national and international offices, EllisDon has become a leader in every sector and nearly every facet of the construction industry.

“EllisDon truly is founded on the core philosophy that everybody is an entrepreneur,” says Brandon Milner, SVP of Digital and Data Engineering at EllisDon. “That goes from our senior leadership team, all the way through to a coordinator on a construction site.”

EllisDon’s Digital and Data Engineering division has the aim to be a leader in technology, just as it is a leader in building and futureproofing its operations. It has launched a new division called Building Digital to facilitate and accelerate exactly that. It leverages the latest technology, using data to create efficiencies, inform intelligent decision-making, and elevate client and user experiences.

This entrepreneurial and driven approach throughout the department, Milner explains, has been emphasised by EllisDon’s former CEO and now Executive Chair of the board, Geoff Smith. “He really encourages us to think on our feet, to own it, to drive things, to try new things, all under the guise of obviously being fiscally responsible and married to the brand and reputation of EllisDon, which the leadership team and the wider company has built over the last 72 years.”

Having been with EllisDon for around three years, today Milner’s role is focused around technology and digital environments. And while he started his career in the financial services industry, a constant throughout has been a close relationship with technology.

“I worked in the United Kingdom for 12 years, then I moved to Canada, and throughout I've constantly maintained my passion around technology, because I realised that in order to understand where businesses are going from a digital or technology perspective, it was very important to keep up to date with the latest technologies.

“Where I landed up was really in that middle ground between leading digital teams, building teams, and creating digital products that made not only financial sense but also tied into the requirements for clients, for businesses, for users.”

From an outside perspective, a move from financial services to construction might seem an unusual move. “When this opportunity came up at EllisDon, my first gut feeling was, why construction?” Milner explains.

“So, I started doing a bit of research around EllisDon and I looked at a couple of the videos and publicly available speeches from our previous CEO, Geoff Smith. Lo and behold, for the last 20 years he has been focused on digital, on IT, on technology and on data, and the importance of that and how it can, the proprietary nature of maintaining, building and owning your own IT infrastructure and your own data, was critical to the success and future growth of any company, let alone a general contractor (GC). 

“That was my catalyst to drive me to actually come and work for EllisDon, being one of the largest general contractors in Canada, there was obviously an opportunity there to be influential in the market in general, not only just for EllisDon, but to help support our subcontractors, our clients, and the industry in general. Building Digital will be the division that will lead the way for this exciting new future.”


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