Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
The AEC community needs more people like Michael Riscica.
Michael is a Licensed Architect who once resided in Portland, Oregon, with his Labrador Retriever, Molly. And to say he is passionate about helping Young Architects is an understatement. After becoming licensed, Michael was frustrated by the lack of support, bad advice and misinformation he had during the years between graduating architecture school and becoming a licensed Architect. In early 2014 he began blogging at YoungArchitect.com to address that problem.
A few years back, Michael sold most of his personal belongings, bought himself a van, packed up Molly and only what he needed and literally took Young Architect on the road. Rarely in one place for long, you can typically find Michael speaking to aspiring designers somewhere. In five years, he has assembled a massive following of future leaders in the architecture industry through presentations, persistence, and passion.
Cherise and I were fortunate enough to meet Michael a handful of years ago and we immediately saw a kindred spirit, an individual who was not happy with the status quo in AEC and set out to make a change.
Recently, Michael announced the first ever Young Architect Conference, which will be held over three days, August 23rd to the 25th in Portland, Oregon. The mission for the Young Architect Conference is to explore leadership, connection, and service within architecture. All keynotes, workshops, parties, and everything related to this conference will connect back to these three themes in some way, shape or form.
Here is the proposed agenda:
Let's Fix Construction is honored to be friends with Michael and involved with the Conference, as Cherise will be leading the session 'Public Speaking in Architecture'. We're also a hand-selected affiliate of the Young Architect Conference. What does that mean, exactly? That means, you, as part of our community, can register to attend and save $$$. You have one month to use the code LFC for $150 off of your registration.
Please take two minutes to view this message below from Michael and then visit the Young Architect Conference website for details, registration and more.
Contributed by Michael Chambers
Recently, a national trade association contacted education presenters to provide them with the evaluation results for their programs. This is a large association with a very strong focus on technology and its applications in business, education, worship, and industry. Their national convention offers hundreds of hours of educational opportunities for the attendees.
In general the education programs were very well received and evaluated. Attendees rated 90% of the programs at 4 (out of 5) or above for “overall quality and interest”. However, it is interesting to note that the same attendees indicated that less than 10% of the programs were rated 4 or above for “applicability to daily practice”. In other words, attendees thought the programs were very interesting but came away with nothing they could use in day-to-day practice.
In my experience this is true of most of the continuing education that I receive from product manufacturers’ box lunches, AIA continuing education programs, and CSI Chapter presentations. The majority of them are interesting and provide USEFUL information but rarely do they ever provide USABLE information. The concept here is much like searching the web on Google™ or Yahoo™, you end up with hundreds of USEFUL items but only a tiny fraction are truly USABLE. If continuing education is to have a positive impact on the construction industry, developers and presenters are going to have to put real, applicable content into the programs.
To effectively use continuing education as a marketing and communication tool, the content presented must be directly applicable to the day-to-day operations of the audience. Information about a product’s features and benefits is quite useful, as marketing hype, but it is rarely usable since design professionals need industry information, technical data, design guidelines, and details to effectively integrate a product or system into a building project.
In any type of presentation to design professionals, the focus must be on providing USABLE rather than USEFUL information. I guaranty it will transform your relationships with design professionals and enhance your professional credibility. It is critical to provide continuing education information on how to specify the product and to provide examples and details of how to appropriately incorporate the product into the drawings. I am constantly amazed how few educational presentations even discuss specifying and even less, how to detail and coordinate the drawings.
The best and most effective presentations are extremely simple, no PowerPoint™ or flim flam, just product installation examples, guide specifications, and example construction drawings of successful installations. That is truly USABLE information and HIGHLY EFFECTIVE continuing education.
(Editor's Note: Michael D. Chambers, FCSI, FAIA, CCS is Associate Vice President and Senior Project Specifier for HGA and is responsible for the specifications in the four California offices and is principal of MCA Specifications. Michael also sits on the CONSTRUCT Education Advisory Council with Let's Fix Construction Co-Founders, Cherise Lakeside and Eric D. Lussier.
NEW FOR CONSTRUCT IN 2019!
The NEW Product Rep University Program has been designed to meet the needs of Manufacturer's Representatives of Architectural Building Products, as integral members of the project team. The program features a full day of education (6 sessions) to help you stay up to date on current trends in the industry, and refine your interactions and relationships with design professionals.
CONSTRUCT will be held October 9 - 11, 2019 at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, MD. Details and registration will be opening soon. Read more on CONSTRUCT here. )
Contributed by Eric D. Lussier
Unless you've been living in the 2000's and not the present day, you've undoubtedly heard the word CONTENT and the importance of it. Whether building a website or your personal brand, the name of the game is now content, and it is everything when it comes to search engine optimization (SEO) and how you, as a business or brand, is found in the modern day.
The definition of content has changed so much in the last handful of years that definition c. from Merriam Webster is "the principal substance (such as written matter, illustrations, or music) offered by a website. Moving further down the definitions of content brings us to 3. which is "the matter dealt with in a field of study". While I personally frown upon using the term expert, especially given how rapid the world is changing, I feel that everyone has a specialty. Whether that is knowledge on CrossFit, baseball cards, baking or indoor sports flooring, you have a skillset that is unique to you. Now, you may not be an expert baker, or have that stash of 1952 Mickey Mantle's in your closet, but you have information and CONTENT, inside of you that is unique.
Tomorrow I "celebrate" thirteen years of experience as an indoor sports flooring product rep and subcontractor. If I have done my job properly over those thirteen years, I will have absorbed years of unique experiences that have built up to January 23, 2019. Now, there is that chance that I've been doing something wrong for those thirteen years, but chances are that I've been doing some things right over these last thirteen years too. While I don't consider myself an expert on indoor sports flooring by any means, I do consider myself a specialist and an information provider.
Information gathered is absolutely no good unless it is information shared."
If you have had the opportunity to sit through the Let’s Fix Construction workshop, I hope you took home the mantra to share your knowledge. If you didn’t take that home with you, I apologize. We do our absolute best to reiterate the fact that we are unable to better the construction industry if we go to the grave by holding in our lessons learned aka our knowledge aka our CONTENT. We implore attendees of our workshops to share their insight and their experiences. Even after practicing architecture for 45 years, I don’t expect to hear a firm principal to say they’re an expert at design. Technologies and building materials are changing along with our world and in order to be an expert, in my opinion, you need to know all. No one knows all.
But you do know something. You may make an incredible souffle, have an incredible eye for the next great New York Yankees prospect, or have a personal insight into your niche of the construction industry; and this last component is where I implore you to share your content. It may be on LinkedIn, on your personal website or blog, at an AIA accredited box lunch, here on the Let’s Fix Construction blog or at CONSTRUCT, but please, SHARE YOUR CONTENT.
Don't have a blog or website? Start one. It's easy. Look it up on YouTube. Share your messages on a video platform, like Instagram, Facebook or YouTube. Perfect your pitch and get out of your office and speak to more companies and firms. Use your LinkedIn for good and not evil. Or better yet, speak at a conference attended by your industry peers.
And a great opportunity for you to speak at a peer-attended conference and for you to share your knowledge and content is at CONSTRUCT 2019. The deadline to speak is here and I implore you to step out of your comfort zone and submit. You have a personal perspective on something within construction – and face it, if you didn’t, you wouldn’t be this far in this article – and what good is hoarding that perspective?
Much like this website, CONSTRUCT provides a platform for exploring and refining innovative solutions to solve complex problems facing the AEC industry today. It is truly a conference where industry leaders converge with a common goal of educating and inspiring for the betterment of the industry. This year CONSTRUCT will be held October 9-11 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland (right across the bridge from Washington DC) and the deadline to submit your proposal concept is THIS FRIDAY, January 25, 2019.
I know firsthand as a presenter at the last few CONSTRUCT shows that you don’t need all your ducks in a row when you submit your pitch. Get a catchy title, come up with a good synopsis and your learning objectives and that is all you need. And don’t get caught up on if your niche in construction is truly a niche – as a member of the Education Advisory Council, we are looking for topics that are unique and aren’t canned, nor offered at every conference in the industry.
I implore you to look within and challenge yourself in 2019 to share your content. CONSTRUCT is an amazing opportunity to do so and you’ll leave National Harbor on October 11th glad that you took my advice.
To learn more about speaking at CONSTRUCT, please visit the CONSTRUCT show website here.
For additional assistance, contact Jennifer Hughes, Sr. Education Manager at 972-536-6388 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Contributed by Marvin Kemp
In a musing about leading meetings, I wrote that "I'm an architect by education and licensure. I'm a project manager by definition of my firm." Since a recent strategic planning exercise our firm went through, I've been thinking about what it means to be an architect and a project manager. The architect part is easy, legally speaking: you've earned a first professional degree in architecture from an accredited university, completed the Intern Development Program (now known as Architectural Experience Program AXP), passed the Architects Registration Exam (ARE) and have applied for and been granted a license to practice architecture in the State where you reside. Okay, so maybe its not that easy, but it is a straightforward and linear process.
The philosophical notion of what it means to be an architect is much more complicated and probably meant for a different blog post or maybe even several blog posts! But, from the beginning of my career, I had the goal of becoming an architect. I accomplished that in 2001, just shy of seven years after I graduated from college. I also had the goal of being a project manager and eventually a partner or principal in a firm. Project manager may seem a strange goal for someone educated as an architect. I was never the strongest design student in school. At first, I wasn't mature enough to understand or focus on the studio curriculum. That set me back in terms of my design maturation. I probably could have caught up but let my ego and confrontations with several professors get in the way. I graduated with a respectable GPA north of 3.0, but had many C's in design studios, though I did manage a B on my thesis project.
When I took my first job out of school, it was with a small firm that did good work, but not great design work. Generally, the two partners were the designers and with our clientele there was little opportunity for more than basic design solutions. I got my shot at some basic planning and elevations studies, but rarely had the budget to do much more from a design standpoint. At the same time, one of my bosses and first mentors, began taking me to client meetings. I found I really liked being out of the office, meeting with our clients and getting to know more about that end of the practice of architecture. It seemed more real to me.
I also had four solid examples, other than the two partners, of what good project managers do in that office. My first desk was in a studio with three of them! What a treat to work with them, interact with them and listen to their phone conversations on a daily basis. It was in those early experiences that I decided I wanted to be the hot shot project manager, not the hot shot designer.
Nearly 21 years later, what does it mean to be the "hot shot project manager?" Here are some notions.
Contributed by Cherise Lakeside
This past October, Let's Fix Construction once again attended CONSTRUCT in Long Beach, California and as members of the Education Advisory Council, we found it to be one of the best yet. We are honored to partner and work with CONSTRUCT as the show holds much the same philosophy as we do here at Let’s Fix Construction: bringing all parties of the project team together to learn, discuss issues and grow as a TEAM.
CONSTRUCT offers an environment where attendees can discuss issues in a way that we often cannot under the rules of communication in a construction Contract. There are few other conferences that have representative voices from the entire built environment in a room discussing our industry and needs - all with an equal seat. The best thing about CONSTRUCT is that it is not focused on any one discipline within the AEC Industry. Architects, Specifiers, Contractors, Engineers, Consultants, Subcontractors, Product Reps and Owners all have educational opportunities to learn and further your career. The social and collaborative environment of the show makes the education provided that much more valuable.
CONSTRUCT is an annual event that offers the opportunity to share best practices, learn the latest in construction industry design and processes, project delivery, specifications, contract administration, building product manufacturer (BPM) education and much more. The education, events and show floor are all formatted in a way to serve any member of the building team. The education is enhanced by the ability to discuss and share experiences on topics that we deal with every day in this industry.
CONSTRUCT is a great conference because of the diverse industry professionals that join us to share knowledge, solutions and real-world practices that can be used as soon as you return to your office or the job site. Speakers and instructors from all across the industry join us so we can all come to the table and learn from each other.
CONSTRUCT WANTS YOU!
The Call for Sessions for 2019 is out for submissions. CONSTRUCT is looking for industry leaders - in ALL disciplines - to consider submitting a proposal to speak or teach at CONSTRUCT. Now is your chance to share your knowledge and turn what you’ve learned into a unique presentation that will help improve the construction community. Consider submitting a proposal for CONSTRUCT 2019, which will be held October 9-11 at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in National Harbor, Maryland (right across the bridge from Washington DC).
Let's Fix Construction is an avenue to offer creative solutions, separate myths from facts and erase misconceptions about the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry.
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