The Gaines Group

CSI is the organization that shapes communication within the industry

I joined CSI in 2003 and became very active in my local chapter – Central Virginia CSI. My second year as a member I was elected as a Chapter Director and also served as the Academic Liaison, Electronic Communications Chair, and on the education and hospitality committees. That year I also started a student CSI Chapter at the University of Virginia with Meghan McLoone, our first student chapter President. In other words, I became VERY active with CSI.

construction specifications institute

 

So why is this the organization that I decided to put in volunteer hours – lots of volunteer hours? First there was Ray setting the example and talking about the power of the organization that encouraged me to get involved. However, once I got involved it was the willingness of the local chapter to give me an equal footing with the other more seasoned professionals involved in the organization. I was the youngest active member at the time, probably by more than 15 years. Yet, they elected me to the board of directors and gave me full license to start a student chapter of the organization. This willingness to let me run with an idea and support me in my efforts showed me the true power of CSI. This is an organization that brings everyone in the construction industry together at the same table as equals and the local chapter proved it.

Construct

This willingness to allow all voices be heard was not just a local level anomaly within CSI. In 2004 I attended my first Leadership Orientation Seminar with CSI – a regional leadership training. There I met Mitch Miller who encouraged me to speak up at the meeting – a meeting filled with people who had way more experience than me. They wanted to hear my ideas. They allowed me to be an equal at their table. Mitch set the stage for me to get even more involved with CSI.

Construct Show

presentations

I am no longer one of the young members of CSI. I have been active for  12 years, attended 8 regional events, 9 national conferences, served on two national committees, and served as almost every position at the local chapter level. I have presented topics at 6 national conferences and 3 regional events. I am a frequent contributor to the CSI weekly newsletter (Thanks Kaitlin). I have many many friends in every part of the country and some in Canada through CSI. The President of the organization and many of the board members know me – a  member from one of the smaller chapters in the organization. I am still just one of the people at the table.

mentorship

This year at the Construct Show (CSI’s national conference) I was reminded of the importance of just being one of the people at the table for the betterment of the industry. We need to stay relevant, on the cutting edge, and a leading organization in the construction industry. There is no room in the industry for pushing down other members just to try to stop change for the sake of keeping things “the way we always do it.” This is the organization that shapes communication within the industry. Clear, complete, concise, and correct communication is the only way we are going to be able to keep up with the pace of change we are experiencing and going to experience in the coming years. The only way that we are going to be successful as an industry and as an organization is to continue to invite everyone to the same table as an equal no matter age, gender, or industry.

CSI Night Out

CSI Night Out

 

 

How to advance in the construction industry

One of the best investments I have made so far in my career is getting involved with CSI. This organization allows you to meet experts across the country that want you to be successful. This organization has education opportunities that will set you apart from your peers. This organization, once you get involved, is full of people who you will be fortunate enough to call friends. Outside of the network of friends I have gained by being involved with CSI, I have also learned more in my 13 years through this organization than I have through any other organization.

Now is your chance to get involved with the organization by attending this seminar. Have you ever wondered how a project unfolds from concept to handing the keys? CDT is the program that walks you through all the steps from idea to contract to design to digging. This seminar will explain how you will set yourself apart from your peers by achieving this certification and will become a resource in the industry. I know from experience, I get calls and questions from others in the industry because I have CDT after my name. I know it will add value for you and your career goals as well.

 

FREE CSI Webinar: CDT
January 25, 2pm ET

In this FREE webinar, speaker Lee Orosco, FCSI, CCS, will advise exam candidates on the benefits of CSI’s Construction Document Technologist (CDT) certificate program,and how to successfully prepare for it!
The CDT 101 webinar is an opportunity for individuals to learn about the benefits of the CDT, and is designed to help advise CDT Exam candidates about the requirements and resources for successful exam preparation and study. Orosco will answer your questions and help you make the right decision about the CDT.
This webinar will be accompanied by a tweetchat on Twitter. Use hashtag #CSICertified during the webinar to chat with CSI members who have passed the CDT exam!
Not sure if the CDT is for you? Orosco is not the only CSI member available to talk to you about the exam. Right now, CSI members across the country are discussing the advantages of certification and helping candidates prepare for the test. You can expand your network and get advice someone who has taken an exam.
You’ll find CSI members:
  • In a CSI Chapter near you: Look up a chapter that is offering a certification prep program and contact it directly. Don’t hesitate to ask for a mentor if there’s no prep program available – many chapters would be happy to introduce you to someone who has already successfully prepared for and passed the CDT exam.
  • On Facebook: CSI member Vivian Volz, CSI, CCS, manages this Facebook page to give exam candidates a place to connect. Ask a question –certified CSI members will respond.
  •  On LinkedIn: CSI’s LinkedIn Group is loaded with CSI members who have passed an exam. Look up past discussions that focused on certification, or start a new thread!
  • Blogging about certification: Several CSI members are blogging about certification in January and February – you’ll see them featured in CSI Weekly. Read their posts and leave comments for them. They’d love to talk to you:
David Stutzman, CSI, CCS: “What was my first project after graduating college with an architectural degree? A prominent design? No, measuring and documenting 65 existing buildings at Letterkenny Army Depot; calculating energy savings; estimating construction costs; and finally writing the project specifications using the Corps of Engineers master specs.” Read this blog.
 
Liz O’Sullivan, CSI, CCS, CCCA: “There’s SO MUCH to learn – all of us in the construction industry are constantly learning (or should be).Much of this knowledge can ONLY be gained through experience, but not all of it has to be.A really good way to learn about how your documents may be interpreted by the users is to prepare for a CSI certification exam, starting with the CDT (Construction Documents Technologist) exam.” Read this blog.
 
Eric Lussier, CSI, CDT: “It’s incredible to think that it has already been a year and a half since I attained my CDT and it is a decision I will never regret. I am much more comfortable reviewing contract documents and specifications and have a tremendous respect for each and every party that works on a project, no matter the role.”Read this blog.
 
John Guill, CSI, CCS, CCCA: “Self-confidence is one reason that jumps to the front.CSI certification exams are rigorous exercises of essential construction technology skills and terminology. Achieving certification means you have been successfully measured against industry standards of understanding and performance, a tremendous boost for confidence for you and proof to others that you know your work. Licensed professionals as well as those without other licenses will benefit from the knowledge and status that certification provides.”Read this blog.
 
Tara Imani, CSI: “I’m also a CSI CDT; meaning I took the time 111 years ago, to understand how a good legal set of contract documents are put together and administered. So, as you can tell, I have a lot of education but it’s all because I thought it was important to broaden my understanding of this complex industry at that time in my career; I didn’t do it to add initials after my name!” Read this blog.
 
CSI chapters and members want to help you succeed! Reach out to them for support! Find your local chapter.

Register now for a CSI Certification Exam or learn more about certification!