January 2019 Print

The Spectator

President's Report

(this is Revision 1. please note this revision on your bid forms. -Mb)

As I sit watching the snow fall this weekend I find myself contemplating some of the quirks that make the AEC professions so unique.

We recently hired a new architect at our firm. She's fresh out of school and as such is ready to learn all we can teach her about project delivery.

Lesson 1? Communicating ideas.

As designers, this is where it starts for us. We can, more or less, visualize design concepts and think through how they might be realized. Some of us are extremely good at it and can imagine things in tremendous detail. But you can't build from someone's imagination, right? So we need to get that information out of our heads and into other people's heads.

Despite the crazy array of digital tools available we, as architects, still can't do better than a pen and tracing paper when it comes to expressing ideas concisely. But it goes beyond just the tools. First efforts by new professionals are often fraught with unnecessary details, lack a visual hierarchy, and fail to express the designer's intended message.

Sound familiar?

Clear, Concise, Complete, and Correct. That's our motto at CSI and when you get right down to it the 4 Cs apply to every phase of everything each of us do to deliver a project. With sketching the challenge is the same. We are working on teaching that the sketch need not be perfect, nor artful. But it does need to communicate the key idea to its audience and in an efficient manner. Why are you drawing all of those bricks on the elevation? Why aren't you drawing all of the shingles on the roof? Why are you using three colors when two will do?

A good sketch gets the designer's concept across by clearly placing the key ideas front and center, not cluttering it with fussy details, and making sure the underlying data (dimensions and arrangements of components) are correct. The best working sketches are fast and simple. They use a few strokes of a pen to point the viewer to what's most important and place that in context.

Everything we do as designers, specifiers, product representatives, administrators, and builders benefits from this approach. And because we all share that common goal of Clear, Concise, Complete, and Correct we can all learn something from each other.

As always, I look forward to seeing you and learning from you at our upcoming programs. Please share what we do with those you work with and let's have a great 2019.



Featured Event

The Construction Document Technologist or "CDT" is a professional certification program for developing excellence in the process of Project Delivery...Attend all Sessions and earn 19.5 hours of AIA/CSI accredited learning units.  As a proven alternative to self-study, the CDT Study Sessions provide you focused, organized instruction to pass the exam, and add valuable insights for improving your performance on every project.  

This is an intensive course of study, but accessible to all experience levels.  Those with 3 to 20+ years of experience have attended, and each discovered new understanding for their work.   Most wish they had earned a CDT much sooner.   Study Sessions require a commitment of time and energy, but will pay you big dividends not only for the exam, but over an entire career.   The "better time" to get your CDT is now. 

Study Session Registration is open now and closes February 8th, 2019.**  The Sessions are offered only once per year and enrollment is limited to the first 15 registrants, so act now.  Sessions begin on February 16, 2019.

To get you started, see the links below for a program guide with syllabus and schedule.   It is not necessary to be a CSI member to attend the Study Sessions, but significant discounts are available to new (and existing) members who choose to become members before registering for the CDT exam.**

Give yourself a gift of knowledge and make this year's resolution to get your CDT!

Register Now  Read More


This Month

Uncertain about 2019? 

Come see if Len Toenjes can put your mind at ease!

His data in January 2018 was informative, intriguing, and set the course for an exceptional year in the St. Louis AEC market.  With a number of significant projects underway and yet to begin, Len will take us through what he's hearing from his position as President of AGC of Missouri

5:30 - 6:30  Registration and Networking

6:30 - 8:00  Dinner and Program

Register Now


Next Month

January's speaker will be Dan Dotson of Allegion talking about the latest best practices in addressing school security. Dan is the regional sales director for Allegion and this presentation will go beyond book learning and focus on addressing the tough questions about how to handle real-world security and safety scenarios.

Dan Dotson



Happy Holidays to everyone from the North Central Region Conference (NCRC from now on) planning committee.  George Everding and I are pleased to inform you that plans are going well for hosting the 2019 NCRC.  The longer-range items have been going as smoothly as can be expected, but as we are now a short 4 months until the conference, we need your help.  There are several areas we need people to volunteer for, which I’ll describe in a moment.  First, a recap on what has taken place so far.

The draft schedule looks like this:

            Wednesday, May 1, 2019: There is nothing official scheduled for this night, but we are hopeful to have be attendees start showing up so they can take full advantage of Thursday’s programs. We will offer early arrivals an opportunity to join us for a group dinner at one of  a variety of local restaurants, each hosted by a Greater St. Louis Chapter member. Conference attendees pay for their own dinners; all our chapter hosts do is facilitate the groups to the restaurants, and join them as hosts.  After that, we will open the hospitality room up for a little while to allow everyone to catch up.

            Thursday, May 2, 2019:  We will have a full day of events open to everyone who registers for the conference.   The morning starts with President Elect Training, hosted by the North Central Region and a full day seminar on Healthcare Design and Building Science, hosted by the Alberti Group.  Our welcome lunch is the official kick-off for the conference and will have a guest speaker.  After lunch, our Product Representative Academy starts, and continues on Friday. Throughout the day, we will have spouse/companion tours for those who are interested.  Finally, we’ll have our welcome reception at the Boathouse in Forest Park, followed by a hospitality room in the Chase.

            Friday, May 3, 2019:  We’ll begin this day with breakfast featuring our Keynote Address Forest Park: past, present and future.  This will also be a full day, as we will offer 3 different tracks of education.  Over the lunch period, we’ll have the NCRC Product Expo, which is replacing our chapter’s annual Product Expo this year.  Please come and support our Partners.  The day will conclude with the Annual Awards Dinner in the Chase Zodiac Ballroom overlooking Forest Park.

            Saturday, May 4, 2019:  The morning will begin with the Leader Lounge, an opportunity to eat breakfast, mingle, and listen in on leadership presentations from the chairs of the North Central Region Committees.  This is an excellent opportunity to ask questions and gain insight into how other Chapters are running their committees.  This will be followed up by the annual meeting and the annual business meeting, which will officially close the NCRC.  HOWEVER, we are encouraging people to “stay late” by offering a trip downtown for a tour.

Below is a summary of work that has been taking place behind the scenes since summer.

Gina Ravens is chairing the Product Expo Committee and doing a wonderful job.  As of this writing, we have 24 of 65 tables reserved.  This is a great opportunity for product representatives to reach to the design community of 9 different states. If you know of product representatives   or manufacturers who might be interested, we ask that you speak to them and let them know of this opportunity.

Ron Berra is doing a good job chairing the Partnership Committee.  You may be asking, “What is a Partnership?” Our committee suggested that companies providing us with funding are more Partners than sponsors. We thank Hilti, who has already stepped us as our highest-level Art Museum Partner. The next level Muny Opera Partnership is still open. We have 3 available and each includes naming rights to one of the educational classrooms throughout the conference. In addition, we already have 1 Science Center Partner and 3 St. Louis Zoo Partners, and have many more of each available.  Finally, AWI (Architectural Woodwork Institute) called me out of the blue and offered to sponsor our keynote speaker.  This was a level we hadn’t even thought of, so thanks to AWI for being the Keynote Speaker Partner.  We are pleased to report that due to the hard work of this committee, we are 1/3 of the way to meeting our partnership revenue goal to host the event.

Mark Walkenbach is chairing the Programs Committee and has just about everything sewn up.  Ujjval Vyas is tidying up the details for Thursday’s all-day program on building science and healthcare including some bonus instruction on Friday.  Thad Goodman from the Great Lakes Region has offered his services to help us pull together a Product Representative Academy for Thursday and Friday.  We are also working on some guest speakers and special programs which highlight St. Louis as a Brick City and a Beer City.

So, what can you do to help?  The short answer is anything you want.  Do you want to lead a committee, large or small? Or is volunteering for just a few hours more suited to your availability?  We have some opportunities for you.  Below is a brief description of what is available, if you don’t see something you think should be in there, please let us know, we may not have thought about it.

  • “Arrive Early” Dinner Host – No, you don’t need to pay for dinner – everyone is paying for their own. All we’re asking is that you simply escort a group to a restaurant nearby the Chase so they can enjoy a dinner. We encourage you to join the group for dinner and meet some new friends from other chapters in the region.
  • Welcome Event – We’ll need help with on site activities, pointing people in the right direction, arranging for boat rentals, and working with the transportation committee to set up the loop to pick up and drop off at the Chase. These are just a few of the tasks for this group.
  • Tours / Companion Tours – Work with the Committee to set up the tours and work with the transportation committee to make certain all bases are covered.
  • Transportation – You will be arranging for transportation to all of our events. As of now, this includes Thursday’s welcome reception and Saturday’s “Stay Late” event.
  • Welcome Bag / Gifts / Giveaway – Arrange for gift backpacks or courier bags that we will contain information about the conference and gifts for the attendees. May also entail getting discount coupons from neighborhood eateries and shops.
  • Booklet – Graphically prepare and get conference event guide put together. This guide will contain all information an attendee would need to know to navigate the conference.  Also, aid the NCR Awards Committee in putting together a program for the Awards Dinner.
  • Graphics – Prepare signage consistent with the conference graphics standards, get it printed, and position it at the conference as guides for attendees.
  • Registration/Welcome Table – We need a chairperson to organize and get volunteers to work the registration table, which will be in use from Wednesday afternoon through Saturday morning. We’ll need several volunteers to work shifts at the table.
  • Hospitality Room – Care to host a party? Make certain there are snacks and beverages in the hospitality room which will be open Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday nights.

Please don’t be shy, we are asking for YOUR help.  If you have any questions or anything above sounds interesting to you please feel free to reach out to George or me. 


Steve Gantner, Co-Chair 2019 NCRC, 314-478-2154 (mobile), [email protected]

George Everding, Co-Chair 2019 NCRC, 314-517-7800 (mobile), [email protected]


From the Webmaster

Your friendly Webmaster here with some reminders about email.

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