The CSI College of Fellows has selected five new members to the 2020 class, including Robin E. Snyder, Esq, CSI, CDT®, CCS, SCIP.
Robin was nominated through a rigorous application process, then elected by the Jury of Fellows for membership. Fellowship is one of the top two honors given by the Institute.
Robin will be inducted during the virtual Honors and Awards Ceremony taking place later this fall. Here, she shares what the honor means to her, and how she has contributed to—and benefited from—her membership in CSI.
What does being a member of the 2020 Class of Fellows honorees mean to you?
I started attending the CSI National Conventions (now CONSTRUCT) over 20 years ago and thought the Fellowship Induction ceremony was a recognition of lifelong achievements “for other people.” I became involved with CSI over the years, but never considered Fellowship as a goal or even a possibility. Being nominated and receiving this honor tells me that my colleagues appreciate my efforts over the years. It is a wonderful feeling to realize I have made a positive impact in the lives and careers of others in my industry.
Fellowship acknowledges contributions to the advancement of construction technology. Of all your contributions to CSI, which of them are most significant to you?
In 2017 I started chairing the Southwest Region Conferences under a new format. I wanted to make the conference an enjoyable and educational event for our members that would help our chapters communicate the value of CSI to their local communities. Over the next three years the Region Conferences grew in popularity and educational content. I am extremely proud of these conferences and the value they provide to our members and attendees.
What was your first job in the construction industry?
When I was an Architecture undergraduate student at Arizona State University we were required to do a summer internship related to Architecture. I spent my summer working for Steve Andros Specification Consultants and that was my first introduction to CSI and specifications.
What has been your favorite aspect of making your career in this field?
As an independent specification consultant, I have the opportunity to work with numerous firms on a variety of project types. I enjoy the exposure to different firm cultures and especially love the unique projects that I have worked on over the years. I enjoy the technical aspect of specifications and focusing on the details of how buildings come together. On a more personal note, I have developed life-long friendships through my career and my involvement with CSI that are priceless!
How has being a member of CSI informed your life and career?
I became a member of CSI over 20 years ago because it was something specifiers did. I didn’t envision the role the organization would play in my personal and professional development. From a professional standpoint, CSI has enabled me to develop my independent consulting business by providing me the resources and networking necessary to serve my clients. On a personal level, all of my closest friendships were formed through CSI, so I can’t imagine my life without this organization. I have been able to focus my volunteer efforts in areas that interest and challenge me and I have discovered new skills and passions through these efforts.
Is there anyone you would like to recognize for supporting the work you do?
Is this a trick question? There are so many people that have supported me over my career, I can’t begin to list them. I have had so many mentors and friends that have encouraged me at each stage of my career, and I am grateful for each person. However, I will say, when I was at a crossroads of my career in 2001, my parents offered me the emotional and financial support to start my own business, so I definitely need to thank them.
What advice would you give to newer CSI members just entering this industry, or that you wish a colleague had given you?
There are so many possibilities and niches within the construction industry for career options. I would suggest that people keep their minds open and not be afraid to reach out to other members and explore different options. Don’t be afraid to try new things and don’t be intimidated by more experienced people – most of them are more than happy to share their knowledge and advice!
What do you think the most significant changes, or opportunities, will be in the construction industry in the next 5 to 10 years?
One thing I have learned in the past six months – the future is uncertain!!! Our entire society has changed dramatically since March, so I can honestly say, “I have no clue what changes or opportunities our industry will have in 5 or 10 years.”
Any additional thoughts on how being a member of the CSI Community has helped weather the current pandemic and how you and your colleagues continue to support each other?
During this pandemic, it’s extremely important for people to stay connected, both professionally and personally. Being a member of CSI means that I am part of a community that shares the same concerns and struggles. Each member is facing professional challenges and it’s invaluable to know there are colleagues who can offer support and advice. Phone calls, message boards and even Zoom social events are helping members avoid feelings of isolation.