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

Post Number: 1413
Registered: 02-2003
Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 08:18 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

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

Uh!, Hey! What the ____! Just what is going on??

My colleagues and I just sat through a Lunch and Learn which was….let’s just say, a real bummer-- and quickly said, it was NOT the rep’s fault.

It was an AIA “approved” presentation, timed out this way; 2 minutes for introduction, 43 minutes for Product 101 [information of a general, generic, non-specific nature], 8 minutes of product line photos and details [very good ones, incidentally] and the reminder of hour for Q&A. But what we know or learned about the product line and its nuances you could put in a thimble and fill to the top with something else!

Personally I felt very sorry for the two reps, who traveled over some 5 states to get to our office, paid for a great lunch, and were allowed to talk AIA-speak almost to the total exclusion of their specific products. Is this “education” [education is really to provide new information, explanation and in our case, product data, isn’t it? I am sure every Product Representative relishes the opportunity to present “all-there-is-know--about-their- products. Anyone in the room today could have given the per square-one shtick today-- it was that basic and widely known!

You would think the AIA would interested in elevating the level of information and not reduce it to bare fundamentals [isn’t seeing a crib test 2, 471 times enough, for example] ‘Course this may be a misdirected attempt to fill in the education the AIA does not provide or support and encourage in the schools -- you know, “technical stuff”!! Basic, generic information is fine and helpful, but it should not be the whole of the education plan-- i.e., it is not the “be all and do all”. The intent of education is totally missed in any scenario as that listed above.

It’s a sorry and most unrealistic situation when Product Representatives cannot talk about their manufacturers’ products and design professional seeks the very information that is not presented. On staffs where AIA membership is low, the demands of the AIA seem most inappropriate, How can the information be so restricted through intimidation that little of substance is achieved? This should not be a competition between vendors and AIA, it should be properly vendors servicing professionals, as they desire, and selling their products for what they bring in unique features, prices , etc. Guess there's no money involved somehow.

Manufactures and their representatives are not usually AIA members, so there must be an air of intimidation to make them meet the demands involved. And if the AIA thinks L&Ls are going to be cancelled if the proposed session is “Non-AIA” sanctioned, they’re wrong [in my opinion!]

Which is more important, AIA credits for its members, or a system that credits bona-fide and informative presentations to the benefit of AIA members, future AIA members, and others in the firms? This is an era of information [producing and gathering] and not just level 101 instruction stripped of any substance, or news!

Wonder what it would be like if AIA trusted manufacturers to be informative and of full value to the profession and the entire membership and future membership? As it is now, it is a rather unnecessary waste of time [and money] for all concerned---- But the AIA!

Uhhh What if they were to drop the over-regulation and overly strict “rules” to a realistic stance of respecting and appreciating any educational that aids it members and colleagues provided voluntarily by others?
Sheldon Wolfe
Senior Member
Username: sheldon_wolfe

Post Number: 656
Registered: 01-2003

Posted on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 - 08:58 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Some reps offer a choice - AIA or informative. Good for them! Which we choose often is driven by the time of year: AIA only in the months before renewal, some informative for a couple of months after. AIA always is preferred, but not always chosen.

All reps will stay after, and we usually have a few architects who ask product-specific questions at the end.

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