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Keyan Zandy Receives 2023 LCI Pioneer Award

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Keyan Zandy Receives 2023 LCI Pioneer Award

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The Lean Construction Institute (LCI) has named Keyan Zandy as its 2023 LCI Pioneer Award winner. The annual award recognizes individuals who have moved the design and construction industry forward in embracing and implementing Lean tools and techniques.

“Keyan has been an active advocate and champion for Lean construction practices since 2005. He’s used Lean culture, practices, and tools to propel Skiles Group to record growth and built an avid, active base of Lean enthusiasts with his The Lean Builder community,” shares Dan Heinemeier, executive director for LCI. “He has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to advancing Lean practices within the construction industry – and within our LCI membership – and is well deserving of this recognition.”

“I am deeply grateful to LCI for this recognition, but beyond this, I am humbled by the company I find myself in. I see myself as just one of many stewards of the ideals this honor represents, and I am excited to continue my Lean journey alongside so many inspiring people who I respect and consider to be mentors and true leaders for our industry,” says Zandy.

Zandy currently serves as CEO of Skiles Group, a general construction management firm based in Richardson, Texas. He was recruited to the firm in 2014 with the specific goal of introducing and fully integrating Lean Construction practices into every project. He succeeded, and in doing so, the firm has achieved 5X in volume and doubled its staffing as well as won numerous building awards.

Perhaps his most lasting and impactful contribution to the construction industry is his book, The Lean Builder: A Builder’s Guide to Applying Lean Tools in the Field (co-authored with Joe Donarumo), and the community following that it has spawned. The book was named the 2020 winner of the Shingo Institute Publication Award and has sold more than 20,000 copies. Since its debut, Zandy and Donarumo have launched a blog, LinkedIn community, and national workshops to provide ongoing education on the value and impact of Lean.

Over the years, Zandy has been a vital supporter and contributor to LCI and its various Communities of Practice (CoPs). He’s been a frequent speaker at Congress, a workshop leader for CoPs across the country, and fielded international interest from LCI communities across the globe. Additionally, he is a past chair of the DFW CoP chapter and has served as a core team member for over 10 years.

“LCI is immensely proud to acknowledge Keyan’s significant contributions to the Lean design and construction community. His dedication, innovation, and leadership exemplify the values and principles that LCI stands for,” shares Heinemeier.

In conjunction with Lean thinking, Zandy brings a passion for technology innovation. This drive led to his development of Smart Safety, a crisis management smartphone app used to improve and streamline communication on construction projects during crises. The tool has earned Zandy two patents as well as awards from Constructech Vision and AGC.

He is an active author, quoted leader, and speaker for industry publications and associations. Beyond sharing Lean construction techniques and approaches, he often highlights how Lean culture and methodologies can help mitigate the construction industry’s chronic labor shortage and mental health issues.

The LCI Pioneer Award ceremony will be held as part of the 25th LCI Congress on Thursday, October 26th in Detroit, Michigan.

About Lean Construction Institute:

The Lean Construction Institute (LCI) is a non-profit organization committed to transforming the built environment through Lean implementation. LCI’s mission is to build a community of stakeholders from across the design and construction industry to foster collaboration and transform the industry into a more efficient, productive, and integrated system. For more information, please visit


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