What are your goals as a member of the CSI Board?
First and foremost, I want to be a voice for the CSI Great Lakes Region on the CSI National Board. Every region of CSI has a distinct perspective stemming from design industry, construction, and product representation in that geographical area. These differences make regions important to chapters as a way of discussing common issues.
As a Hispanic female, I also hope to present a minority perspective on board decisions. When I first started in the design industry 35 years ago, there were not that many minorities and even fewer females. Luckily, much of that has changed and continues to change. It is from different perspectives that CSI can grow and adapt with the ever-changing times.
What are the top opportunities you see for CSI?
CSI was formed as a way to standardize construction documents. So many founding members took their free time to develop and review these documents. This is CSI’s strength. CSI needs to be that constant resource for construction documents and change as the design/construction industry changes.
There was so much resistance when changes were made to MasterFormat®, but it was the best decision CSI could have made, and I applaud all those that stayed true to their vision. CSI needs to continue to change and grow but stay on the forefront of design and construction documents.
What impressed you about how the architecture, engineering, construction, and owner (AECO) community continued to help each other navigate through the COVID-19 Pandemic?
Resiliency is important in times of change. During the shutdown of March 2020, we had to learn and utilize virtual tools, set up home offices, and depend on email for the primary source of communication. I was impressed with how quickly people mobilized to continue with work as usual. While some projects went on hold, other projects continued to be built and construction workers continued to go to work. Drawings and specifications had to continue to be developed, and we found ways to achieve this.
Our IT department was amazing. Our company started company-wide VIP sessions – 30 minutes once a week where either a project or technical process or BIM standards were discussed. It allowed the company to come together while we all definitely utilized the “chat” feature. The VIP sessions have continued now that we are all back in the office. Our office also instituted a “Work From X” policy – working from somewhere else. This flexibility has been welcomed by many. However, mentorship is best in person. We need to readjust to have one-on-one in person conversations.
What do you feel are the top resources CSI provides?
CSI’s certifications, practice and delivery guides, and education programs are among the top three. However, MasterFormat® and several other CSI documents are readily available and valuable resources for the AEC community. However, none of these would be available if it were not for CSI’s most valuable resource: its members who dedicate time, experience, and knowledge to benefit the AECO community.
Do you have a favorite project or work experience you would like to share?
After working in the Indianapolis area for over 27 years, I have been on many design teams for many projects in the area. It is great to drive around the city and see buildings where I wrote the specifications. During my research on products unique to Indiana for the Indiana State Museum, I learned a lot about my adoptive state. That project helped solidify the pride I developed being a transplanted Hoosier.
Writing specifications for the Indianapolis International Airport was also an experience in cooperation with so many talented people on such a large and innovative project. I was one of two specifiers on a very large design team. This airport was the first airport designed and built after the 9/11 attack and the design implemented many security and procedural aspects that weren’t even considered prior to the attack. Every time this airport wins an award, I am proud to have been part of the team. These two projects along with countless more allow me to see the small impact I’ve had on the changing landscape of the City of Indianapolis.
What’s your favorite book, movie, or after-work hobby?
I enjoy romantic movies, historical fiction, and gardening. I listen to pop music when writing specifications—when working from home, I take the occasional dance break.
Is there anything else you would like your fellow CSI members to know?
My goal for the next 10 to 15 years is to “download” the knowledge and experience I’ve gained working in this industry to the next generation. Learning from the past helps promote the forward progress of the AECO community.