What am I Most Looking Forward to at CONSTRUCT 2015?

My assignment this month as the Official CONSTRUCT-Per-Specs Blogger was to share what I am most looking forward to at CSI’s annual convention CONSTRUCT in St. Louis beginning September 30th.

It took only seconds to come up with my number one reason but actually listing top choices was a bit more difficult. I am looking forward to all of it.

This will be my 4th year at CONSTRUCT. Each year I get more involved, I meet more people and I learn a ton. Each year, I leave CONSTRUCT thinking future years can’t possibly beat the experience of the event that I just finished. Then, I go again and it just gets better. My expectations for St. Louis are high and I am confident that I will not be disappointed.

So what am I looking forward to most? Hard as it was, here are my top picks for the upcoming CONSTRUCT.

#1 – It’s always the people!

OK folks, here comes the broken record. I have said it before and I will say it again. The best part about CSI and CONSTRUCT is the people. There is no other place that I can get every member of the project team at the table discussing any project delivery topic you choose. The value of those perspectives is priceless. There is no other organization that welcomes all disciplines as equal members. Anyone who thinks that CSI and CONSTRUCT is just for spec writers is sadly mistaken and missing out. The variety of education is all over the board. Most of all, these folks are some of the most collaborative people I have met who are willing to readily share their knowledge for the greater good, a successful project. They are also kind, sweet, funny, entertaining, sarcastic (runs rampant in this business), helpful, smart, experienced and tolerant (they put up with me)!

#2 – Young Professionals Day

While CONSTRUCT has hosted some events for students and/or young professionals in past years, 2015 will be the first time an entire day of events is dedicated specifically to Young Professionals. I am honored to have been asked to lead this day. This is my baby, a passion project for me and I was thrilled to see it sell out.

Truthfully, as our generational imbalance is getting bigger, we are not doing enough to help our YP’s step up to the plate sooner than they have ever had to before in AEC. We are also not doing enough to give them an equal voice at the table and we are not sharing our knowledge. We are certainly not recognizing that they have as much to teach us as we have to teach them. This general attitude that they are lazy and apathetic is so very off base. Our YP’s do things differently and often better but many of us are set in our ways and not willing to listen, collaborate and change. We can no longer afford to neglect this issue by not coming together as equals. It is time to open our minds and share our experience and we are starting now. I couldn’t be more excited about this event!


#3 The Education

There is something for everyone at CONSTRUCT. Since all members of the project team (Owners, Architects, Engineers, Consultants, Contractors, Product Reps and Manufacturers) are equal in CSI, the education offered at CONSTRUCT is diverse and structured to address many topics from multiple perspectives.

There are a wealth of classes, a learning pavilion on the show floor, technical tours, boxed lunch sessions and Pecha Kucha sessions, CSI education sessions, a bloggers panel, the Praxis event, a game changer session and an always entertaining and educational keynote. Almost all of these offer continuing education credits if you want to get those out of the way fast and easy.  The list of educational events goes on and each year it is difficult to choose. The one thing that is guaranteed is that I will walk out of there with more education and insight after one week than I could get in a year or more otherwise. That alone is worth attending.

#4 – Fun, Fun and More Fun!

Hi, my name is Cherise and I am an overgrown child. I have to come clean, when I attended my first CONSTRUCT in Phoenix four years ago, I expected to learn but I didn’t expect to have much fun. I thought it would be a technical event of endless classes and I would spend my evenings catching up on the latest good book in my hotel room just to escape the monotony. I can’t say that my particular personality was looking forward to a long, slow week with a bunch of dry specifiers. ~~Ding, ding – incorrect answer.~~

CONSTRUCT is a blast and the people attending bring no end to the entertainment. What really surprised me was that I had just as much fun in all the sessions as I did in the evening events. Now, four years later, I don’t want to miss any of them. I even add a couple days to my trip so I can explore the city and catch up with my peeps before the conference even begins. This event has become the highlight of my year both professionally and personally.

This year boasts the Host Chapter Event at City Museum (with a 10 story slide that I will be zipping down), libations, music and fun with our generous hosts from the St. Louis Chapter. CSI Night Out at the Budweiser Brew House overlooking Busch Stadium will feature even more music, dancing and locally crafted beers. The CSI Celebration of Fellows is a wonderful event where you get to meet and mix with the best of the best, celebrate this amazing honor and get all dressed up (my excuse to buy new sparkly shoes).

There is so much to do! The Young Professional Mixer at Flamingo Bowl will be the icing on the cake at the end of YP Day. The #CSI Tweet up brings all of our pals who meet and stay in touch via social media together to finally meet IRL (in real life). The St. Louis Chapter is hosting a golf tournament, there are awards ceremonies, breakfasts, appreciation events, meet and greets, luncheons and even a fun run (yeah, I am staying in bed. I don’t run unless I am being chased!).

#5 – The Show Floor

I don’t pretend to be an expert but this is the most product and building information that I have ever seen in one place. Each year I tell myself that I will visit every booth and each year I fail miserably. There is just too much going on and too much to see. What I really love is many of the manufacturers and reps have information and displays that are interactive and fun. Many of them have mini educational sessions and a wealth of information you can take back with you.

All of this information in one place makes short work of getting up to speed on the latest and greatest of all the building products that you use or specify every day. Why not get it all at once instead of a year of lunch and learns.

CSI Product Reps are my trusted advisors. Just the fact that they are part of this organization tells me they know more about what I need from them in order to do my job efficiently than any other reps out there. That makes them my ‘go-to’ professionals when I need to get up to date.

Now that you (hopefully) read all that, here is the bottom line – The things I look forward to the most at CONSTRUCT will result in:

  • Meeting and networking with some really amazing, educated, kind and collaborative people.  Top notch professionals of the highest order.
  • You will have an opportunity to meet and exchange experience with Young Professionals.  Make a difference.
  • You will get more education in one week and in one place than you could in years otherwise with CEU’s coming out your ears.  This education will have more depth because all members of the project team attend CONSTRUCT and contribute their knowledge.
  • If you put yourself out there, you will have more fun than probably should be legal with really awesome people.
  • You will get up to speed very quickly on the latest and greatest in products and materials.

Most important: You will return with real world solutions, knowledge, tools and information that you can use to put out a better and more collaborative project the second you return to your office.

I personally invite you to join us and see what you have been missing. Find me and I will introduce you around. Just ask someone where to find the #CSIKraken!

Meet me in St. Louis!   http://www.constructshow.com/


One comment

  1. Hi Cherise,

    My name is Endya and I am a senior public relations major at Kent State University in Ohio. I stubbled across you blog because I’m working on campaign research for one of my classes. I and a team of students have been tasked with promoting a local power management company through nontraditional media channels. Bloggers in the positions you mentioned above (owners, architects, contractors and so on) are the target audience for the campaign, and your blog post gave me a lot of great insight on this conference experience!

    I would love the chance to chat with you about blogging, conferences like these, and your interests in the industry. If you are available and interested, I can be reached at ewatson9@kent.edu. Thanks!


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