The recently elected CSI Board of Directors began their term July 1. Here, in their own words, they discuss their history with the association, how it has benefited their professional experience, and the immediate and long-term opportunities they see for CSI in the years to come.
Meet Director from the Southeast Region T.J. Gottwalt
T.J. Gottwalt, FCSI, CCPR
Strategic Architectural Account Manager
How did you first become involved with CSI, and how has that helped your professional experience grow?
I first got involved in CSI in Minneapolis in 1991. I joined CSI to network with the architects and specifiers, and to build trusting relationships that could benefit both the architects and my employer. It has been, by far, the number one reason for my career development. The relationships I developed through involvement in CSI have been the cornerstone of my success, and have aided me greatly in understanding the writing and interpretation of written construction documents.
What are the top opportunities you see for CSI?
I see the opportunities in engaging our young members and addressing their needs, which are very different from the needs I had when starting my career. The construction process continues to evolve, and as it does, CSI has the opportunity to evolve with it to embrace new technologies and ways of doing business. There is also a huge opportunity for CSI to grow its influence with the greater AEC community, helping others understand what CSI is, how it can help them, and the purpose of why we exist.
Do you have a favorite project, or work experience you would like to share?
I have many “favorite” projects, but the experience I would like to share is the constant contact I have with architects and specifiers all over North America. I enjoy and respect those relationships greatly. I can get a call from a specifier in Philadelphia, or an architect in California, or a designer in Texas, with either a question, or a project they need help with. I’m impressed that they trust me enough to call me when they could call any number of qualified people. That speaks to the level of trust that I’ve been able to build through years of being involved in CSI. It’s a community.
Is there anything else you would like your fellow members to know?
Relationships are the basis of all business. Anything you can do to help foster better relationships will help you in your business and your career. Active involvement in CSI helps you garner and develop better relationships, which in turn helps you grow both personally and professionally.