I started out humbly enough with a thought that I wanted to become an industrial designer – attended the fine arts program (as it was then) at the U of A – and decided I was more interested in the materials than the design, so swapped studies and picked up Architectural Technology at NAIT. They had a heavy emphasis on detailing in those days (a long time ago in a far distant galaxy), so was introduced to the fine art of detailing very early in my development.
I have had a wondrous and splendid career in the specifications and construction administration environment for more than 35 years, starting off with some high production outfits and then moving on to a company that specialized in institutional buildings. It was with that company that I learned about building envelopes under the learned tutelage of Maxwell Baker (roofs) and Kirby Garden (walls) - names that have now disappear into a distant fog of condensate, but were two of the key contributors to the old Canadian Building Digests (for anyone that remembers - and for those that should).
In those days – you wrote about what was drawn – and found that to have effective communication and achieve what was in the details, that a person had to time spent on the specification to be more effective on the project site. So within the first 2 or 3 years of my career, the seeds of specifying were sown. I became a Registered Specification Writer in 1988 after studying and apprenticing for 8 years after graduation from conventional learning opportunities.
This vocational choice has taken me around the world to such exotic locations as Belize, Egypt and Japan, not to mention some pretty strange locations in Canada like Corner Brook NL and Gjoa Haven NU. Not bad for a discipline that most people take as a better choice for anyone but themselves, and I thank them for that opportunity.
So here I am at DIALOG, starting 20 years ago as one of two; now one of ten, living the challenge of being one of the participants in the success of our many projects. I mentor specifiers outside of our company, teach at the university and lecture to many different associations and at many conferences throughout the year. I am all about passing along the knowledge I have gained; hence my nickname OB1 (occasionally OB2 where I fail to provide a suitable answer), and my favorite response “beware the 20 second question unless you have 20 minutes for the answer”.