Continuing education can be hit or miss at times, whatever your profession may be. Whether the courses themselves may be required or voluntary, paid for or freely delivered, viewed on-demand or in person, you tend to get out of it either what you want to or what a good instructor wants you to.
As a construction product representative, I have been on both sides of the spectrum. As an active member of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), I have sat through dozens of educational programs and webinars, ranging from right up my alley to the far opposite end. I have also delivered dozens of educational programs based on my specialty: indoor sports flooring. I’v’e sat through the dry, boring presentations from instructors that are just going through the motions and I’ve sat through captivating, thought provoking programs from thought leaders. Unfortunately, you don’t always get to choose your topic and you don’t always get to choose your presenter.
In the construction industry, there is only one true source for continuing education that meets the needs of all of the players on a project team. Construction specifiers, architects, engineers, contractors, facility managers, product representatives, manufacturers, owners and more attend CONSTRUCT, the Construction Specification’s Institute National Meeting and trade show to learn from industry leaders and authorities in their respective field. Only in CSI do all of these trades have an equal seat at the table.
“Attendees to CONSTRUCT are professionals in the institutional, industrial and commercial building fields that design, build, specify, engineer, renovate and operate in the built environment.” The “attendees source and spec building products. They design and specify for the education, healthcare, government, office and commercial building industry segments.”
Education is first and foremost at CONSTRUCT and “is carefully thought, crafted and put together by industry leaders for industry professionals just like you.” Culled from submissions throughout the AEC industry, you can rest assured that the education you receive will encompass the four C’s of CSI: concise, clear, complete and correct while coupled with the unofficial fifth C of CSI: well communicated. While all classes at CONSTRUCT offer AIA/CES learning units in the conference program, the credits are not the only reason why classes are so well attended and received. Past attendees of CONSTRUCT know well that the programs are delivered by well-versed peers that you would want to work with and learn from, if given the choice.
Topics at CONSTRUCT 2014 run the gamut, from professional etiquette and marketing, to working with collaborative teams and mentoring. From those few subjects alone, it should be clear that the presentations are not all about building design. Personal, professional development is a major component of CSI and the Institute does an incredible job at making sure their members are not just well educated about building design and components, but also well-rounded in other important, relative traits that we all need in our life.
I’ve been extremely fortunate to attend the last three CONSTRUCT conferences in Chicago (2011), Phoenix (2012) and Nashville (2013). I can attest first hand that not only have I been pleased with every class I’ve attended and sat through, but what has been more important and vital to me is the people I have had the opportunity to meet and learn from. Whether I had spoken (or tweeted) with them before or if I ended up sitting and speaking with a complete stranger, there is a mutual feeling of respect and camaraderie felt among the attendees.
In professional education and development you can’t always handpick your courses or your instructor, but you do you have the chance to pick from the cream of the crop when you attend CONSTRUCT. Registration is opening soon and the conference is almost 100 days away. I hope you learn from some of the best instructors in the AEC industry and attend CONSTRUCT in Baltimore from September 9th – 12th. Be sure to visit www.CONSTRUCTshow.com for plenty of information, including education sessions, exhibitors and more.
1. Log onto www.csinet.org/join
2. Select “Join Now”, and then click “Sign Up as a New Member”
3. Enter Promotion Code CSIsocial14 when prompted
4. Click the “Add Discount” button