My assignment this month is to share what I think sets CONSTRUCT apart from other industry shows.
This assignment has been a bit of a struggle since I have written, on multiple occasions, about what makes both CSI and CONSTRUCT special. What could I say that is new and fresh that will accurately portray the benefits of this event? How can I adequately express why this is my #1 choice among all the shows and educational events that are offered in our industry?
Any Industry show has its value. You will return from any event of this kind with something you can use. Just last week I had my first adventure to World of Concrete (WOC) for their 2016 show. The show is absolutely huge, I learned a lot, had a great time and hope to attend again.
While I met some incredible people at some of the larger industry shows and made a whole batch of new friends, there was something that I get at CONSTRUCT that I don’t at other shows.
When you attend a show of this caliber and size, if you put yourself out there, you get to know people very quickly. The people that attend this event are a diverse crowd and very committed to improving project coordination, collaboration and communication. They are problem solvers and they come from every discipline which is invaluable in the learning environment. They are welcoming, warm and ready to share information to improve the world in which they work.
I have made so many friends in my four years of attendance that it sometimes becomes difficult walking through this event without stopping to talk to someone every ten seconds. I have so many professionals from so many areas of the industry that I can consult to solve any professional issue that I am trying to improve and they help me all year long. They are consummate professionals, valued mentors and my friends.
There is no way that I could learn, connect and interact at this level at the huge shows.
The educational events at CONSTRUCT are varied, pertinent to my work and interactive. The nature of this event requires a diverse offering of education because so many professionals from so many different disciplines attend. The education is often geared to have something for anyone in the room. Since I am not sitting in a classroom with hundreds of attendees, these sessions often offer more opportunities to see and hear different viewpoints. Because we work in a team environment, we can’t afford to learn in a bubble so this benefit is important.
While my job is to write specifications, I can attend an education session on a particular topic and hear feedback from a Contractor, and Engineer, an Architect, a Product Rep, an Attorney and even an Owner on that same topic. This is CRUCIAL to me being able to do my job well.
The show floor is cram packed with information and additional show floor education, again across disciplines. Because of the intimacy of this show, I have also become friends with many of the Reps. These are my trusted advisors. I know, because of their involvement with CSI, that they have learned what I need from them to do my job well. I can often skip the whole sales pitch on things I don’t use and get right down to business with the things that I do. The manufacturers also offer many hands on opportunities and show floor sessions to add more bang for your buck in education on the specific products that you need to learn more about.
These trusted advisors are my ‘go to’ professionals every time. They are the ones who ‘get it’!
OK, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the fun. The networking and social events at CONSTRUCT are unparalleled. Whether it is CSI Night Out, the Host Chapter event, the Young Professionals Mixer or any of the multitude of ‘fun on the fly’ events that come up, you are going to be busy with some great people who welcome you with open arms and know how to have a good time.
CONSTRUCT, while a good sized show, is not the biggest show you will have the opportunity to attend. BUT, bigger is not always better. Those huge shows can be overwhelming, exhausting and you can’t possibly see everything that you need to see.
CONSTRUCT, while offering more than enough, is easier to navigate and leaves more opportunity to make those important connections and delve deeper into specific areas of interest. I get as much education and information from the people I have met at CONSTRUCT as I do from the education and events.
This September in Austin will mark my 5th attendance at CONSTRUCT. I no longer feel like a newbie and have learned how to get the most out of this valuable event. I would truly be heartbroken if anything prevented me from attending.
CONSTRUCT has become a crucial part of my professional development and the benefits of attending are astronomical. For me, professionally, CONSTRUCT is ‘coming home’.
Hope to see you in Austin in September!