CSI is pleased to recognize the 2019 Class of Fellows and CSI Award Winners. Recipients will be honored during the CSI Honors and Awards Ceremony at CONSTRUCT 2019 in National Harbor, MD, Thursday, Oct. 10th.
Cherise Lakeside, CSI, CDT, will be honored as a member of the Class of Fellows at the ceremony. Here, she discusses what the award means to her, and how CSI has impacted her life and career.
What does being a member of the 2019 Class of Fellows honorees mean to you?
Becoming a Fellow means a lot to me. My path through this industry and architecture has been very non-traditional. Basically, I am a trained-in-the-trenches specifier that started as a receptionist quite a few years ago. Also, both as a woman and as a relatively new CSI Member with only 7-1/2 years in our organization, I am humbled to receive such a high honor.
Fellowship acknowledges contributions to the advancement of construction technology. Of all your contributions to CSI, which of them are most significant to you?
Among other things, I have done a lot of teaching and speaking to many different groups and disciplines, both in and outside of CSI. That said, I don’t think that anybody who knows me will be surprised that the work that is closest to my heart is the work that I have done with the young professionals in our industry. From teaching to encouraging, empowering and embracing them from the Chapter level to creating Emerging Professionals Day at CONSTRUCT, I feel this has been some of my most important work.
What was your first job in the construction industry?
My first job in this industry was as a receptionist in a construction company when I was 17 and a senior in high school.
What has been your favorite aspect of making your career in this field?
My favorite part has been helping others succeed by teaching and mentoring. Especially those who have been historically underserved, like women, minorities and young professionals.
How has being a member of CSI informed your life and career?
That is such a loaded question of which I could write pages in response. I joined CSI in October of 2011. In the last 7-1/2 years, my involvement in CSI has affected every single area of my life. I have pole vaulted forward in my career, I did my first speaking engagement (which will now total 220 by the end of the year), I have learned from some of the best professionals in the business, I have connected to young professionals and professionals outside of CSI from all over the country via social media (which is a direct result of joining CSI) and I have gained friends that I will have for a lifetime.
Is there anyone you would like to recognize for supporting the work you do?
Honestly, there have been far too many to count or name. As much as I would like to recognize some extra special people, I also do not want to leave anybody out. Every bit of support, no matter how big or small, has been equally important to me.
What advice would you give to newer CSI members just entering this industry, or that you wish a colleague had given you?
Get your CDT, connect with and learn from EVERY discipline (not just your own), get involved in the organization and never let fear stand in your way. Total World Domination!
What do you think the most significant changes, or opportunities, will be in the construction industry in the next 5 to 10 years?
I think our buildings will only get more complicated and I believe that we are edging closer to an integrated platform from which we will design, build and run our buildings. In addition, it is estimated that around 70-80 percent of the workforce will be Millennials and younger by 2025. Because our younger generation has been raised to be less hesitant to change, I believe that we will see innovations in our industry that we never even imagined. I am excited to work next to these smart and passionate young professionals.