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Archive for February, 2013

Recently, a local TV station ran a feature on the 11 o’clock news about a couple of lovebirds who are approaching their 70th wedding anniversary. During the teaser, I recognized the husband as someone I had worked with on a couple of projects in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. Several years following the end of our professional relationship (precipitated by Earl’s retirement), I ran into Earl at the local gas station and noticed a window sticker indicating that he and his wife were members of the Order of the Eastern Star. Knowing that my wife’s grandparents were very active in that organization at the state level, I asked Earl if he had known them. As it turns out, he and his wife had known my grandparents-in-law quite well, and so it is that Charlottesville connects with Culpeper Virginia in multiple ways at multiple levels.

Since the world is interconnected through the various relationships we have, I have to think of the many wonderful relationships I have developed over the last twenty-five years as a member of CSI. The relationships cultivated through the years have resulted in enhanced professional development beyond the plethora of CSI sponsored educational programs I have attended.

By being active in the organization, I have come to know hundreds of professionals from all over the country and Canada who are willing to share their experience and knowledge. As a result, there have been multiple occasions where I would pick up the phone with a question and one of my CSI friends would be able to get me the correct answer. On other occasions, I’ve been more than happy to reciprocate.

By having this large network of friends, I have been blessed both professionally and personally because of my membership. I have to say that CSI is probably the most economical professional organization I belong to, in spite of holding membership in multiple chapters. Even if the dues weren’t what they are, the value is far higher than the memberships I have in organizations with far more expensive dues.

With that said, I would strongly encourage construction related professionals, and especially students in construction related curricula to join. Getting involved is easy, simply go to http://www.csinet.org and follow the directions. I’m certain you won’t regret it, and perhaps, someone may remember you to a mutual acquaintance in forty-some years.

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I have frequently been asked about the value of the CSI Certification Program over the seven years since I first served on the CSI Certification Committee. Those that know me are aware that I’m all about recognizing people’s accomplishments, particularly in regards to their professionalism. What better way to do this than to credential someone.

The Construction Documents Technology exam is administered during a four week window each spring and fall. The CDT is an entry level certificate that is by no means basic. Holders of the CDT demonstrate a high level of competence and professionalism. They know their way around a construction contract and are familiar with the major model contract documents. Without this knowledge, they would not have passed the exam. There is no prerequisite for this exam, so students in design and construction related curricula are eligible to sit for it, and I would encourage all to sit for it. In this day and age when jobs are rare, students graduating can use any leg up that exists, so if this opportunity knocks, jump on it and demonstrate your competence by showing up for your first job interview with a professional credential in hand.

The Certified Construction Specifier (CCS), Certified Construction Contract Administrator (CCCA), and Certified Construction Product Representative (CCPR) exams are the means to an advanced certification and are more specialized than the CDT. There is an experience prerequisite for these certifications and candidates must sit for a rigorous exam. The result is that holders of the advanced CSI certifications are experienced, competent professionals. This is useful in that upcoming job interview or marketing for those owning their respective practice.

That said, Being a CCS has helped me in landing several consulting gigs for other architects, and has helped land other work. More importantly, the knowledge that is behind the certification (necessary to pass the examination) allows me to better practice my profession.

Information on the CSI Certification Program is available at www.csinet.org/certification

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