Contributed by Lauren Anderson
I am not even sure where to begin recapping CONSTRUCT 2017.
What I will start with is my experience from last year in Austin, Texas, as I had never attended a conference for my job until that CONSTRUCT. As a product rep, this conference is the only one specifically tailored toward my profession within the AEC industry. As I was concerned about keeping costs down in ‘16, I registered as a Young Professional, and chose not to add on the Welcome Reception or walking tour. Fear drove my decision making as I didn’t know very many people attending at all. Instead of taking advantage of this opportunity, I squandered it by skipping the afternoon sessions of Young Professionals (YP) Day, the Welcome Reception, CSI Night Out and the YP mixer. I made a lot of excuses out of being nervous and fearful to network alone. After Austin & CONSTRUCT, I left sort of deflated. I learned some, but didn’t network well and I completely missed the point.
A few weeks after I returned from Austin, I joined Twitter. I started connecting with some fellow CSI folks and industry professionals at all levels. Over the course of the last year, Twitter has changed my professional life. I’ve learned so much – more than I can recap here – so I signed up for 2017’s CONSTRUCT with a fresh perspective. I was so excited that I even asked two of our company’s newest reps to join me. I promptly paid extra for the Welcome Reception and snagged a seat at YP Day – a must-do. If you’re reading this, don’t miss out because of fear. Sign up for everything and connect ahead of time as much as you can with fellow attendees!
After arriving a day early into Providence this year, there was a welcome reception at Union Station Brewery across from my hotel that was geared for first time attendees. I emailed ahead to RSVP alongside my two colleagues, but realized later that it had opened over time to all attendees who arrived ahead of the official conference start. The reception was a blast. Great food, delicious locally brewed beers and I got to meet new people ahead of Wednesday’s sessions.
Wednesday started bright and early with YP Day – a special set of sessions started three years ago -- by Cherise Lakeside to specifically focus on mentoring, networking and knowledge for young professionals 35 and under. YP Day offered breakfast, almost an hour of networking time & then we dove right into introductions and learning. LeeAnn Slattery started us out with constructive tips for being a conference “sponge”. Following that, CSI Fellow Casey Robb demonstrated how to become an effective networker – something all people can benefit from in the early part of their careers. He offered specific tips and gave us a book recommendation, ‘Network like an Introvert’.
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
National events, tradeshows and organizations are filled with attendees, members, associates and numbers. Names and faces can be lost in the crowd. People come, people go. They attend one year, perhaps skip the next.
How many functions are a must attend for you? Perhaps your annual family reunion? Greenbuild? That friend’s party that comes along every Summer? Inbound? I can name just one for me: CONSTRUCT. The Construction Specifications Institute’s annual meeting and tradeshow, which is being held this year in Providence from September 13 - 15. www.CONSTRUCTshow.com
Since attending my first CONSTRUCT in Philadelphia in 2010, I’ve blocked out one week per September to ensure that I will make it to my must attend event. While the show itself moves from city to city each year (2011 in Chicago, 2012 was in Phoenix, 2013 was Music City – Nashville, 2015 was St. Louis and 2016 was Austin), the people themselves remain constant.
Coming from all walks of life in the construction industry – including specifiers, architects, engineers, contractors, facility managers, product representatives, manufacturers, owners and others – most attendees of CONSTRUCT are attracted for the education (which can be acquired both in a classroom setting and the tradeshow floor), while chances are the rest are there for the people.
An AEC family reunion of sorts, friends from across the United States and our ‘neighbours’ to the North, come together for the camaraderie that is CSI. No matter the walk of life, all members of CSI hold an equal seat at the table. This is evident from watching people interact at CONSTRUCT. Architects sharing hugs with product representatives, handshakes exchanged by engineers and specifiers, cordial smiles between manufacturers and owners. Your background and profession really doesn’t matter within CSI and at CONSTRUCT.
I’ve been fortunate enough to witness this firsthand now 7 years over. While the admission for CONSTRUCT is worth every cent for the education and events alone, the real value is in the relationships and the people you meet and connect with. Whether you share a cab, a class, a lunch table or a dinner, it is easy to meet a stranger that has the immediate potential of becoming a lifelong friend. CSI has done wonders for my career over the last five and a half years, while introducing me to some of the friendliest, personable and most intelligent friends I know.
Young Professionals (YP) Day Program
Contributed by Cherise Lakeside and Lauren Conners Anderson
From the Leader:
Three years ago, I was asked to lead CONSTRUCT’s first Young Professionals Day and am thrilled to have been asked back to lead it the event for years 2 and 3. This event, and young professional development as a whole, is a mission that is near and dear to my heart. I have been fortunate throughout my career to have amazing mentors in many areas of this industry who have helped me grow and thrive as a professional. No more so than when I joined CSI almost 6 years ago and gained a new family.
I have a burning need to give back. This event gives me the opportunity to not only share my knowledge but also create events for YP’s that will give them exposure and insight from many others. There is more value for YP’s cram packed into CONSTRUCT in three days than they could potentially get in years.
I am honored and humbled at the opportunity to help this group grow.
Cherise Lakeside, CSI, CDT
Total World Domination: Currently Searching for New Opportunities
From a Past Attendee:
After leaving my first YP day last year, I ventured into CONSTRUCT with best practices for personal growth, how to properly network with more experienced industry professionals and best of all, connecting with other emerging professionals. I can't wait for this year's events! YP Day changed the course of my future and made me more confident in my role on the project team.
Lauren Conners Anderson, CSI, CDT
Conners Sales Group, Inc.
You can read all of the options at CONSTRUCT for Young Professionals here.
YP Options are for registrants who are 35 and under. ID required.
YP Day Program Session Discount:
Take advantage of this special deal and register with discount code CN17EDYP1 so you can still get the early bird registration rate!
YP Day Program Includes:
"Symbiosis: The Importance of Collaboration between the Owner, Architect, & Contractor"
Contributed by Marvin Kemp
We all have ideas, beliefs and issues that we bring to the collective construction table for each project. Those individual ideas, beliefs and issues come together to form the culture of the project team. Part of the benefit I receive from CSI is better understanding of each team member’s ideas, beliefs and issues which helps me serve my clients better. It also helps me shape the culture of the project team in positive ways, which also helps the projects be better. Construction professionals should always be analyzing what is said and written on a project to better understand the motivations behind what is said and ultimately what is done. We should work collectively, collaboratively on behalf of our projects, our companies and our clients.
In construction, we have relationships of mutual benefit or dependence, too. Owners select architects and contractors, through some method of procurement. Architects and contractors then rely on each other for information and assistance to finish the built product. If we owe the ability to perform our work to our clients and we have to rely on others to get the work completed, why can construction be so adversarial? It doesn’t have to be.
This presentation at CONSTRUCT will compare and contrast two construction projects with varying levels of trust and interdependence. These two projects are similar only in that they are both health education facilities built at public universities in the eastern United States. They are in different states and at institutions with different missions. One is a very small, two story school of nursing. The other is a very large, 10 story school of dentistry. One had a passive owner while the other had an owner team with many different architects, engineers and construction professionals all voicing their opinions. One utilized traditional design-bid-build delivery while the other utilized the CM at Risk delivery method. Both had “red flags” that if noticed and acted upon could have allowed the project to move more smoothly and to a more fulfilling resolution for the ownership team, design team and construction team.
Using these two projects as real world examples, this presentation will point to specific “red flags” that project participants should have seen in these projects that pointed to potential problems coming to the project team. Attendees will be given specific strategies that if acted upon, will help the projects they are involved in to run much more smoothly and to a better conclusion.
As active and caring project team participants, we can all influence what happens during construction. If we exhibit the proper attitudes and act in proper ways, the project culture will be enhanced and we will all be more fulfilled with the end result.
"How does Resilience in Building Materials, Energy Efficiency and Building Codes Impact Project Specifications"
Contributed by Paul Bertram, FCSI
A little known fact is that CSI, the Construction Specifications Institute, is an "Amplifier" for the Industry Statement on Resilience that was founded by the AIA and the National Institute of Building Sciences.
CSI is in good company with a long list of other supporting “Amplifiers".
How does Resilience in Building Materials, Energy Efficiency and Building Codes Impact Project Specifications?
First, how is Resilience defined? Is Resilience the new “Sustainability”? What lessons have been learned from past storms that have impacted code development, product testing and compliance? How does “Resilience” play into Performance Based project outcomes? What are emerging Resilience Design Standards? What work and references are available for more information?
All these answers are part of the CONSTRUCT W17 session "How does Resilience in Building Materials, Energy Efficiency and Building Codes Impact Project Specifications", starting 1:10 PM on Wednesday September 13th (Editor's note: this session immediately follows "Let's Fix Construction: An Interactive Luncheon").
W17 is presented by Paul Bertram, FCSI, CDT, LEED AP BD+C, GGP, who is a Fellow of the Construction Specifications Institute and a Past Institute President with a focus on building product environmental impacts, and envelope first energy efficiency strategies with Pathways to NZE. He has extensive background in material evaluation and specification as well as building science fundamentals. His current work includes advocacy for resilient and reliable building energy efficiency and related reductions on demand side energy. In 2016 he was named to the Board of Directors of the National Institute of Building Sciences and the GSA Green Advisory Committee. Previous to PRB Connect he was Director of Environment & Sustainability for Kingspan and the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association He was also president of his Orlando based architectural graphic design firm for 28 years. He started his career in Design & Development at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida after serving 6 years in the Navy as an Electrician/Electronics technician.
This post is a special CONSTRUCT Session Highlight. Let's Fix Construction has recently partnered with CONSTRUCT, which you can read about here.
Let's Fix Construction is a collective group of construction professionals who want to better the industry by sharing our knowledge, openly communicating and encouraging collaboration.
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