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2021 Class of Fellows Q&A with Dean Bortz

By Dean Bortz, MA, FCSI, CCPR, CDT posted 08-13-2021 02:35 PM


The CSI College of Fellows has selected three new members to the 2021 Class, including Dean Bortz, CSI, CDT®, CCPR®.

Dean 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.

Dean will be inducted during the CSI Celebrates taking place at the CSI National Conference in Nashville, Tenn., on September 23, beginning at 5:30 pm at the Grand Hyatt Nashville. Here, Edwin shares what the honor means to him, and how he has contributed to—and benefited from—his membership in CSI.

What does being a member of the 2021 Class of Fellows honorees mean to you?

Being considered for Fellowship in CSI in humbling, let alone becoming a Fellow of the Class of 2021. I view this honor as not so much for recognition of past contributions, but for what comes next and that I am an example for others to look to.

Fellowship acknowledges contributions to the advancement of construction technology. Of all your contributions to CSI, which of them are most significant to you?

I look at my efforts to raise the importance of the CDT credential, support for continuing education certification, embedding CSI into our college curriculum, and encouraging dozens of other institutions to do the same because this is the future of our organization, our industry, and the world. I would also add efforts to provide review course content for the CDT and now the CCCA (CCPR and CCS for 2022) to assist exam takers in understanding and applying content for greater success.

What was your first job in the Architecture, Engineering, Construction and Owner (AECO) industry?
My first AECO job was adjusting door control hardware at age seven—not old enough for a form 1099. I have always been a hands on, visual, learn by doing person. My first “career” position was age 16 learning locksmithing from Max Schwartz at Masco Locksmith and about specifications from Franklin Bures, Architect.

What has been your favorite aspect of making your career in this field?
My favorite aspect, regardless of the role, responsibility or “hat” I wear, is the dedication of the majority of people I have encountered in this industry is to be a problem solving, servant leader eager to have those who follow perform better than they have.

How has being a member of CSI informed your life and career?
The interdisciplinary aspect of CSI is unique, and having the opportunity to learn from and work with people pursuing excellence and efficiency has been unparalleled. Best of all, the willingness of others to share their failures to help me avoid their “potholes.”

Is there anyone you would like to recognize for supporting the work you do?
I know I will leave out someone, for it is a lengthy list. I appreciate my parents and siblings and best friend Kim for their love and support no matter what. My colleagues at Columbus State: Professors Margaret Owens and Dave Busch; Department Chairs Dick Bickerstaff for hiring me and Doug House for putting up with me. My current CSI Columbus family:  Jeff Calcamuggio for getting me back into CSI and helping to start our Student Affiliate program,all the past and present members and officers and particularly Thad Goodman FCSI for setting the example and helping me with the paperwork.  And to all the CSI-ers around the country who set many outstanding examples—you know who you are and I treasure our  interactions at meetings and events and our continual improvement quest for CSI and this industry. Most of all, I recognize the students and graduates I have had the honor to work with as instructor, consultant and psychiatrist. I have the best job in the world because I see the future of our industry every day, and it is shining brightly.

What advice would you give to new CSI members just entering this industry

  • First, remember job is spelled j-o-b for a reason – short for “just over broke”– you are in a career path of opportunities that will last a lifetime.

  • Second, do not be afraid of success because to whom much is given, much is expected.

  • Lastly, never stop learning, fear asking questions, or standing up for yourself. Understanding is a separate issue from agreement or disagreement

What do you think the most significant changes, or opportunities, will be in the construction industry in the next 5 to 10 years?
The delineation of roles for the A-E-C-O are becoming less rigid with changing business models, e-commerce and technology are a challenge for each of us. The opportunities will be available to anyone who will accept the challenges of building excellence and strive to be an effective servant leader.

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?
It is the nature of our industry to solve problems, communicate, and learn the skills necessary to survive and thrive.  We are drawn to change and we constantly adapt, improvise and overcome.

Learn more about The Class of Fellows, previous inductees, and how you can volunteer to help nominate a CSI Member who has notably contributed to the advancement of construction technology, the improvement of construction specifications or education, or by service to the Institute, for this prestigious honor.