Scott Conwell Spotlight


In his 23 years with International Masonry Institute (IMI) and equal duration as a CSI member, Scott Conwell has dedicated his career to educating designers and specifiers and to advancing good design with brick, stone, tile, and other masonry materials. Scott has contributed to CSI Chicago by holding various positions which included Vice President, Social Media Chair, and Director. Most recently, he was honored to become a CSI Fellow. Becoming a Fellow imparts a responsibility to build on the work he has begun and to continue to deliver practical education in masonry design and construction.  Scott also feels a calling to set an example for younger CSI members by leading and helping to cultivate new leaders in the Chicago chapter.

As an intern architect, Scott fell in love with the craft of masonry in 1995 when he attended IMI’s week long Masonry Camp with a delegation of apprentice craftworkers from all regions of the U.S. Later that same year, he relentlessly sought out a position with IMI, then located in the Monadnock Building, a few blocks from his South Loop loft. With some hard work and some great mentors within IMI and CSI Chicago, he grew and thrived.

With the wonderful support and resources of IMI, Scott has delivered over 1,000 continuing education programs in 30 states and four countries, including 29 seminars at CSI chapter, bi-regional, and national conferences. His recent session at CONSTRUCT in Long Beach chronicled the process and introduction of two new ANSI Standards for Gauged Porcelain Tile and its installation, drawing from his experience serving on the ANSI and Tile Council of North America (TCNA) Handbook committees.

A favorite aspect of his job is that he gets to work closely with skilled union bricklayers, tile setters, and other masonry craftworkers and contractors. “Learning from master journeymen is a huge perk of my job,” Scott said. “More than just respect, I have a deep reverence for the knowledge, skills, and pride held by BAC members and contractors. My career with IMI has charged me with representing the best materials and the best installers while promoting good design principles. If you can get those three things right – materials, design, and installation – you have a good building.”

His architecture degree from Illinois Institute of Technology gave Scott a solid technical foundation which he has applied to his role in masonry detailing and technical writing. He is the developer and drafter of IMI’s Masonry Detailing Series. He has contributed technical articles to The Change Order, Construction Specifier, 9300 Contractor, Licensed Architect, Chicago Architect, Structure, proceedings of the North American Masonry Conference, the Journal of the International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers, proceedings of Qualicer World Congress on Ceramic Tile Quality, and other industry journals and publications.

When asked what advice he would share with young professionals about creating a fulfilling career, he said, “choose a specialty that interests you, keep yourself informed in that sector by reading, networking, and seeking out mentors. CSI provides a great platform for all of this. Stay ahead of the changes in your field and adapt to them. As you gain knowledge and experience, you will eventually be the one effecting the changes in your chosen sector, not reacting to them. That is fulfilling.”

Scott is married to his loving wife Raquel who has supported him throughout his career. They live in Naperville, Illinois with their three teenage children. He is an amateur magician, a rider of motorcycles and low-tech scooters, a South Loop landlord, a Sunday School teacher, and a collector of gadgets.

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