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Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT
Senior Member
Username: rliebing

Post Number: 1195
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, May 26, 2010 - 06:41 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

by Ralph Liebing, RA, CSI, CDT, Cincinnati, OH

Good buddies, but as different as night and day. Same interests, needs, desires and wants-- but from different perspectives. Personable, but in quite different ways-- one open, robust, overactive, gushy, frazzled, frantic, and energetic. The other, laid back, quiet, loving, somewhat clownish, soulful but lovable, determined, purposeful and quite himself-- just plain, “this is me”!

One has flowing hair, shades of grays from pure black to pure white; brushed, well groomed, and attractively lush-- high maintenance, and time consuming. The other has a close nap, “almost high and tight”, no nonsense brush, shiny, lustrous in a varied tone of tan down to approaching white. Low maintenance; a “shake and go” coat!

They’re both dogs! Fundamentally. Their fronts and backs function similarly-- bark and scratch, roll in dirt, and well ,…….we needn’t go there! Duffy is active and lively, now ranked #9 in country; Emerson resides by the Rainbow Bridge.

So what is this all about? Simply! It is about contract; different ways of approaching things; reaching goals by dissimilar routes; appearing different, but still being effective. And many other things that draw on success through differences.

The AIA and Hanley-Wood have now agreed that H-W will handle their show just as they do for CSI. Rumors float that a single combined show is in the offing, yet timing, intent and interest differ. So will the inherent direction of the 2 shows-- they will be forever different for different audiences. OK! Fine! The two organizations are also different, while sharing some members. But the differences here are distinct, often puzzling and often, too, somewhat at odds though the professional goals are quite close. Here the mutuality is important, and is something that cannot and should not be glossed over or hidden away.

CSI has to move toward the more obvious! We need to open ourselves to the world, and expand what we do; the bravado we can develop; and the assistance we can offer. We cannot match AIA member by member, but so what. Our direction, overall, is more confined, defined, and unilateral-- we seek excellence in specifications-- oops! - and in contract drawings! For our expertise and influence extends to both documents. For many members of the AIA to be successful, CSI type activities must be successful, well-executed and highly professional; developed with care, decisive and legally sound!

Can we be the same but different? Sure, but we need not be equals. Differences in perspective, tasks, and work products are valid and true. But there is need to overcome the semblance of subservience! Each, CSI and AIA, are prestigious and professional organizations. CSI, though needs a larger and more distinct profile and image; and needs to project this to others within the construction industry. CSI needs to develop new directions to project its inherent expertise and the good and value it brings to the industry. It is a vital entity that needs exposure; needs to develop a new and stronger image; and needs to reach out—up, down and all around—to others. The idea that status quo is OK really is not something to continue.

Sure our work supports the “architects” overall, but many of us are architects too; do belong to AIA; and certainly perform as professionals in a vital area of practice. THAT needs airing, too! While we may be small [relatively] in number, if we want to really play ball with the “big boys and girls”, we need to be expansive, visible and innovative. We need to avoid becoming an afterthought, “that other bunch”, or a single 10 x10 booth at the show! Maybe not full equals but not subservient either!

Like Duffy and Emerson [in his day] we need to do some “barking”-- just not up the wrong tree-- but certainly in our own unique, highly professional, expert and requisite way!

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