Archive for September, 2012

This morning’s sermon at UniversityBaptistChurch was based on the children’s story ‘Stone Soup”.  The tale is a great metaphor for the gifts of the spirit, and Michael Cheuk did a wonderful job of blending a kid friendly sermon with an object lesson about how congregations work and utilize the gifts and talents of their members.

 The same metaphor applies to the construction industry.  Structures don’t get built without the efforts of architects, engineers, contractors, material suppliers, product representatives, and the list goes on.  The industry is dependent on each and every individual that is part of the process.

 CSI is the only professional organization that includes all of the participants in the industry in a professionally diverse membership.  Each of us benefits from the experience of other members.  Questions which arise regarding constructability are often best addressed to contractors with experience in similar projects.  Inquiries regarding proper installation of specific products are usually best answered by manufacturer’s representatives.  Technical questions about functionality of systems should be addressed to an engineer, and the list goes on.

 This is the value proposition of CSI.  Like the stone soup which gained its flavor from the different vegetables which were added, CSI’s value proposition lies in the diversity of its membership base.  Those that take the time to attend chapter meetings improve their performance in their chosen fields.

 This can be extended to those participate in the CSI Certification Program.  Holders of CSI certifications have demonstrated the knowledge necessary to better perform their jobs.

 Membership is easy to come by.  Simply ask a current member, or contact the Institute.  You will be welcomed.


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“The Lord giveth and The Lord taketh away. Blessed be the name of The Lord!” –Job

 Yesterday was a stressful day on many fronts beginning with learning of the unexpected loss of a friend.  It ended with the news that the barbecue joint that my wife and I usually had dinner when we were dating will close by week’s end.  In between was sandwiched mostly good things – particularly interaction with many old friends from CSI.  It is these contrasts that keep life interesting.

 I realize that as I sit here writing this in the early morning hours that there are literally hundreds of people in my life that are family.  Among these are the members of UniversityBaptistChurch in Charlottesville, Virginia and The Construction Specifications Institute.  I see the UBC folks on a weekly or twice weekly basis, but my CSI friends are monthly or annually.  It is the latter group that I celebrate this week at Construct and the CSI Convention.  It’s wonderful to be able to catch up with folks and find out what’s going on in their lives.  It is further rewarding to know that I am appreciated by many.  I also look forward to five friends being elevated to Fellowship in the Institute on Friday evening.

 In the process, I might learn a few things while I’m here, and learning is FUN!

 So overall, life is to be celebrated, because in spite of yesterday’s stressful moments, there was a much higher percentage of good things.  We need to keep this in perspective.

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Last Wednesday evening, I was delighted to hear a one hour concert by “Mr. Jefferson’s ‘Bones”, a wonderful trombone ensemble.  Most of us know the sound of a solo trombone.  The sound can be rich or thin, loud or soft, strident or mellow.  Imagine taking the rich sound of a solo trombone and combine it with three others and imagine the four part harmony, particularly if the highest part is played up in a typically trumpet register!  The effect was wonderful, particularly the piccolo part of Stars and Stripes Forever played on trombone.

 Now imagine the sound of a professional symphony orchestra.  Each of the players can produce a rich solo sound, but combined, the acoustic output is so much more!  By utilizing each individual player’s talents, the somposer and conductor can do so much!

 So it is with the construction team.  Good buildings don’t just happen.  It starts with an owner’s vision.  Mix in the talents of an architect and several engineers and other designers.  Now add in a great contractor with his accompanying group of specialty subcontractors.  Mix in a plethora of good material suppliers and product reps.  Let’s not forget the local inspectors and planning departments.  The result is so much more than any one individual could produce on his/her own.

 CSI is the one place where the entire construction team can get together in a collegial setting and discuss items of importance to each of us andd the entire team.  This week is Construct 2012 in Phoenix.  I have been in town less than twenty-four hours and have already encountered friends and colleagues who are manufacturer’s representatives, specialty product reps, contractors, association professionals, specifiers, and yes, other architects.  Every one of us is committed to excellence in the built environment.  It’s what we do at CSI

 Now extend the concept to life in general.  If all individuals were alike, we would be a lot poorer (we might as well be a rock on a desolate planet).  Thankfully, we all have differing personalities, different talents, and differing opinions.  This makes our lives far richer.  So I salute my friends everywhere.  I rejoice in you for who you are individually.

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