#CONSTRUCT 2014 – Are you going to miss out?

CSI’s annual convention “CONSTRUCT” is happening September 9-12 in Baltimore. I booked my hotel weeks before registration and registered for the conference immediately after it opened. If I could, I would go today.

This Friday, July 11th, marks the end of the early bird registration discounts. http://www.constructshow.com

If you are on the fence about going or have never been and want to know more, I am taking this opportunity to give the human version of why you should go. Schedules and fliers can only tell you so much but an attendees experience is what really tells the tale.

A few quick facts for context:

  • I worked in Architecture for 23 years and now have 4 years in at an MEP Engineering Firm.
  • I did not have time to join CSI until 2.5 years ago due to a full time job and raising 4 kids
  • I am passionate about this organization
  • I have not found another organization in AEC that offers me what this one does
  • I am not on CSI’s payroll (just in case you read this and think I was paid to say all these great things)

One common misconception that I encounter is that CSI is all about specifications. I think this is largely due to the fact that CSI stands for “Construction Specifications Institute.” It may have been that way back in the day (waaaaay back in the day) but CSI has come a long way baby!

You can read all about the different things CSI has to offer on their website http://www.csinet.org and I could write pages on that topic alone. For this effort, I would rather tell you why it is worth your time and money to attend CONSTRUCT.

First and foremost, the best thing about CSI is that anyone on the project team is welcome as an equal member at the table. You don’t get that anywhere else. At CONSTRUCT, you will meet Architects, Engineers, Contractors, Subcontractors, Product Reps, Manufacturers, Owners and anyone else you can think of who plays a role in the project delivery process. One of the biggest issues in project delivery, since dirt was invented, is collaboration. If you are sitting at a conference with a room full of your peers in your own discipline, your perspective is going to be pretty narrow. You absolutely cannot work effectively in this business, in any discipline, unless you have a good working knowledge of what everyone on the team is doing and where their roles and responsibilities lie. This access to all members of the team, whether it is at a Chapter meeting, a Region Conference or at CONSTRUCT is, for me, the most valuable thing CSI has to offer. CSI members are the most collaborative, helpful, informed bunch of professionals that I have ever had the pleasure to meet.

CSI is all about education and CONSTRUCT is the premier event to showcase that commitment. Not only do they offer a huge range of educational opportunities, much of it is presented in a way that addresses various members of the team at once.  I love sitting in a class, presentation or seminar and receiving education in a way that I can not only use but also gain knowledge of how other disciplines are dealing with that same information. It makes me do my job better. A lot better.

Some other great things about CSI:

  • Membership, educational opportunities and certifications are really affordable compared to most industry organizations.
  • The variety of education, both in content and format as well as the networking opportunities is unparalleled.
  • The members are diverse, educated and willing to share.

I could go on for days!

I attended my first CONSTRUCT in Phoenix in 2012. I knew hardly a soul except for a couple of folks from my own Chapter which I was also new to joining. I started day one a little timid and thinking that, while I would likely learn some things, this would not be much in the way of fun. I could not have been more wrong. I was welcomed from the second I walked in the door (aka John Danes yelling across the lobby – Is that Cherise from Twitter?). Not only welcomed but introduced around, included, invited along to events in the evenings and accepted into the fold without hesitation. By the end of the week, I had new friends that felt like family.

Fast forward to 2013, after a year of social media activity and continued correspondence with all of my new friends, I attended CONSTRUCT in Nashville. I guess the simplest way to describe Nashville would be to take Phoenix times 100 and that equals my experience in Nashville. Since I basically left the timid behind by this time, my CSI family grew tenfold. I never imagined you could make these kinds of connections through an industry organization. I interact with some of these people on a daily basis. Unfailingly, when I need something or have a problem to solve, one of them is stepping up to help me get it done.

This particular blog has become way to long and I feel like I haven’t even started to tell you why you should not miss this event.

Trust me when I say:

  • You will get a wide variety of education you will not find anywhere else. Everything from building technology, product information, certification, specifications, contract administration, AEC business practices and more.
  • You will meet and collaborate with experts from every discipline and you will learn from each and every one. They will become your “go to” professionals.
  • You will make lifelong friends.
  • You will have A LOT of fun.
  • You will grow as a professional and your perspective on what it takes to deliver a project effectively will widen greatly.

If anything I have said here helps convince you to join us in Baltimore, find me when you get there. Just ask someone where to find the CSI Kraken (it shouldn’t take too long to find someone who knows what that means.)

I would like to pay it forward and personally welcome you to our great organization with the same inclusive, warm attitude with which I was welcomed. Sign up by Friday, July 11th and save some extra money in the process.

This is a game changer, don’t miss your chance!



  1. Cherise – Keep up the great job with the blog. I have been enjoying your “voices” and look forward to reading more. I shared this one about CONSTRUCT with the CSI Allentown board members to help encourage them to attend (and I copied you on that email).

    Look forward to seeing you in Baltimore. When will you be arriving there?


  2. Another couple of weeks and it’s going to be time to start the countdown!! There is only one problem with that…before we know it, it will be Friday September 12 and we’ll all be saying our good-byes for another year!

    Looking forward to seeing everyone in Baltimore!!!!!!!!


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