Hello everyone, I'm Alonso Vargas Pérez, and my journey to Stanford and the field of Sustainable Design & Construction has been both deeply personal and profoundly influenced by my early experiences. One fateful night, as a child, I witnessed firsthand the devastating power of nature when rains flooded my home, turning a peaceful evening into chaos. This event left an indelible mark on me, sparking a lifelong commitment to finding ways for human development and nature to coexist harmoniously.
Growing up, I embraced several core beliefs that have shaped my approach to construction. I view waste as a grave misallocation of resources and believe that the construction industry should be more about building trust than just structures. My experiences playing soccer and battling health issues like asthma taught me the values of collaboration, resilience, and the transformative power of passion and perseverance. Through my travels in east-Asia, especially the technological advancements I observed in places like Japan and Songdo, I became convinced of the pivotal role that collaboration, technology, and education play in constructing high-performance buildings that can mitigate climate change.
Collaboration is paramount in construction. Collaboration thrives with trust. I believe in construction, we are not in the building business, we are in the trust business. Our outcomes are cemented in our ability to build, sustain and increase trust. Entering the field, I was astonished to find that despite Mexican families being known for their cohesive virtue, fear & competitiveness govern construction teams. To counter this, I wholeheartedly believe Lean Construction is the collaborative paradigm shift our industry desperately needs; it wasn’t easy at first, for I mistakenly expected everyone to mold into complex principles I had learnt, but soon I realized I had to become the change I’m devoted to create and ventured to a learn-and-help-learn framework. Through collaborative pre-construction techniques, such as Pull and Takt Planning and on-going integrated engineering sessions, we’ve decentralized decisions by empowering Last Planners, creating reliable workflows, clarifying our objectives to ultimately enhance trust, as we standardize construction towards a more efficient and sustainable execution. As we united ourselves, we needed to make sure we were going in the right direction
We need technology to make sustainable decisions. As a marathoner, I’ve learned to administrate improving-performance data. I was able to smoothly make a transition between measuring calories and running intervals to construction KPI's such as lean, safety and environmental indicators. We simply can’t improve what we don’t measure. We need to learn to communicate through technology to enhance our performance predictability, therefore build better. As I understood the current industry conditions, and visualized where we need to go, I realized I needed to plant for us to harvest.
Understanding my urge for shared-vision partners, while living through the well-documented skilled labor force shortage in our industry, I quickly returned to my alma mater, but this time to co-design and teach undergraduate courses. Through education, my goal is to spread knowledge to speed up the implementation of state-of-the-art construction practices. Being an instructor has taught me to not only propel my desire for knowledge, actively educating myself to educate others, but also to deconstruct complex ideas, into simple to explain, thus, simple to apply solutions.
As I gathered all these experiences, in a country where, on the one hand 85% of the population suffers from one of the most widespread droughts in decades, while on the other, when it does rain, infrastructure is severely challenged, I’ve designed, virtualized, and built entire houses, while installing diverse eco-technologies such as dry toilets, greywater biofilters and rainwater-harvesting systems. This, to enable families in marginal communities to utilize this vital resource in a more efficient manner. As I’ve discovered an incredible passion for empowering people through an innovative and sustainable use of our resources, I’m fully aware there is a long way to go.
I chose Stanford's SDC-M program because I believe it aligns perfectly with my vision. I see it as a convergence of collaboration and technology to address pressing global challenges. I'm excited to be part of this community and eager to learn and share with all of you. My dream is not just to build better structures, but to do so in a manner that respects and collaborates with nature. Together, I believe we can make a lasting impact on our planet.