By the Way, Bylaws Again (really?)

And thank you very much!

And thank you very much!

Preface: Watch your inbox during the week of May 2 for an important special vote request for CSI members. Visit for all the details.

BYLAWS – They rank right up there with reading your insurance policy, right? Or seeing all the fine print before clicking the “I Agree” box when you download some update to a program you already have. You know there are probably important things in there, but it’s hard to bring yourself to read the whole thing.

First of all, it’s just for the Institute Bylaws, not for any of our chapters and regions. You can rest now. But consider the 5 paragraphs below for why we hope these revised Bylaws will allow CSI to forge ahead more strongly into the future.

PROGRESS – The Board has taken a hard look at the management structure of our beloved CSI. Bylaws define our structure. The 21st century is bringing many new factors to bear on member organizations like ours. We are responding but very slowly. Membership is half of what it was in 2001. It’s like there is a new energy crisis, but this time it’s our organizational energy. The Bylaws changes are intended to allow the Board to serve the organization with much more flexibility, creativity, and nimbleness.

EFFICIENCY – The Bylaws have labored under excessively narrow provisions well beyond basic structure. The update greatly streamlines duties of key officers to what they are intended to accomplish on behalf of the organization, rather than to list in detail their tasks. A page of insurance policy provisions has been reduced to one paragraph. The 4 C’s of CSI have been refreshingly used in this update. It is organized efficiently and will be legally current.

CULTURE – Organizations like ours are moving towards a corporate management model and away from a bureaucracy of offices/titles. We now manage with great overlap of Executive Director, President, President-Elect and VP’s, other officers…and also the Board. The new structure IS the Board, and the Board Chair, Chair-elect, (no VP’s), Secretary, and Treasurer will keep the Board on track with big goals for CSI. Not micro-management of the details. The Executive Director title? – now CEO. Like corporations, the Board will set the direction and end results, and the CEO is enabled to act and accountable for it.

MORE EFFICIENCY – Currently every year the Board turns over half of its Directors and has completely new leadership from a newly anointed/elected President, VP’s, and other officers. Everyone proceeds with their agenda, and may also proceed to influence staff in a million directions. Directors get started feeling comfortable with their roles and fellow Board members, and suddenly it’s time for another election. VP’s have a title and no formal roles. We propose longer terms for the key officers (Chair and Chair-elect) and Board members (Directors). And no VP’s. Better focus and continuity.

ACCOUNTABILITY – How do we decide to have new programs (or even discontinue old ones) without meaningful measurement and reporting on performance? How do you, the members, assess the real value of CSI when your renewal comes every year? Younger generations want to know. The Board wants itself to be more accountable to members, and staff (via the CEO) to be more accountable to the Board. As part of the Board policy update, you should expect much more concrete review and evaluation on a frequent basis. And much more opportunity to give meaningful feedback.

Yes, there are Bylaws redlines if you care to wade through them. Far more deletions than new paragraphs. Or just read the new streamlined version. I hope you will contact me or give feedback on the Institute website I plan to answer questions and hear concerns from each of our chapter boards in their May meetings.

The CSI Board of Directors is excited (and unanimous) in recommending your approval of these changes. More than ever, your vote counts!

What IS going on at Institute?

March 2016

David A. Bishton, FCSI, NCARB, CCS, CCCA, SCIP

FY16 has been a busy year for Institute leadership. President Lane Beougher and Executive Director Mark Dorsey have directed the Board into a detailed evaluation of our structure and goals, with the intent of improving both the Board’s and staff’s efficiency and to focus the Board on the health of the CSI “forest.” This includes good evaluation techniques and understanding of accountability. It has long been easy for CSI leaders to be distracted in the “trees” (even branches and twigs) of operations in an organization like CSI. Staff are likewise frequently diverted from primary responsibilities in the complex web of communications and directives they receive.

We met face-to-face in January and will again in March to flesh out the structure and future directions for CSI. While at times the process seems agonizingly slow, the big picture for this evaluation is that  FY16 is just the beginning of an effective structure for CSI’s long term future. More info soon at the Region Conference, I promise!

I’m glad to be on the ground floor of a new CSI and have enjoyed the Board experience so far. There are many, many good leaders on it. I look forward to seeing you in Salt Lake City.

Excerpts from Southwest Region Director Report to the Board, February 2016

  • Southwest Region membership: After declines of 7-16% in FY2015, membership in 7 of our 8 chapters has generally stabilized or increased slightly during FY2016 to date, with Denver and Phoenix Chapters showing the largest increases at approx. 4%. Overall Southwest Region membership, including non-affiliated, is down approx. 5% this fiscal year, which indicates our non-affiliated membership has suffered the majority of the loss. All chapters have ramped up efforts and activities both to retain members and to attract new members.
  • Southwest Region Conference: Salt Lake City Chapter is host for our region conference on March 31-April 2. This chapter has a reputation for great attendance and attraction of chapter events to the larger A/E/C community. The event website is found at Leadership training for incoming chapter officers will be held on Thursday, March 31. SLC Chapter will hold their annual education symposium and product show on Friday, April 1, along with social events, ice skating, and banquet. Closing leadership activities and the Region’s Annual Meeting will be held on Saturday, April 2.
  • Southwest Region leadership: President Paul Ricciuti, CSI of the Las Vegas Chapter has encouraged greater partnership of the chapters with local higher education institutions. To that end the Southwest Region was represented at the Associated Schools of Construction Region 6-7 Conference in Sparks, NV on February 8-11, 2016 along with members of the CSI West and Northwest Regions. It is hoped that contacts developed with universities, professors, and students at this large event can translate to increased chapter outreach and potential student affiliations.
  • Collaboration Opportunity:  CSI has opportunity to take advantage of its position at the nexus of construction industry coordination and quality control. While many specialty trade associations have expert product and installation knowledge within their scope of influence, CSI provides a broader and more vital service by coordinating the intersection of individual material and product expertise with overall construction quality. We need to emphasize the results and not duplicate or compete with the detail knowledge of these organizations.

To that end it is worthwhile to consider an associate membership category in CSI for members of allied construction product and contractor associations in order for CSI to enhance its role as the quality control organization and coordination resource of industry expertise. Reciprocating membership for CSI members in other associations should also occur. I believe this can be a groundbreaking benefit that can reduce competition for time, membership, and trade show participation for our industry members, and amplify the effect that each association has on the overall construction industry.

The effect could be significant on the presentation and offerings of CONSTRUCT, as well as the activities of our chapters in their local construction communities. It will enhance our relationship with engineering, project management, and contractor groups which are needed in CSI. It should also assist in eliminating the perceived competition with AIA, which has always been confusing both to our current and potential membership base.




December 2015

Institute’s FY2017 election is almost upon us, and ballots will soon be distributed in February 2016. Candidate profiles have already been posted at

The election does not specifically include a Director for the Southwest Region, since this is a 2-year position. As such, it may be tempting to think of it as merely a ratification of a foregone conclusion and not important for participation. But the election gives unique opportunity to influence the direction of CSI, and greater than you may think:

  • Don’t think of it as a popularity or parochial contest. Significant candidates are not limited to those found at the forefront of CSI publications or social media.
  • Read the biographies and positions. You will quickly tell the difference between a platitude and a real plan.
  • Someone unexpected may really hit a chord with you. Your vote may strengthen that person’s resolve to better the organization in a future effort, even if he/she is not successful in this election.
  • Only one candidate? Well, now you know who to contact with suggestions and concerns. No need to wait until FY17 begins.

With our new director Mark Dorsey and a leading organizational consultant, the board will be engaging in a series of strategic workshops over the winter-spring of 2016. The objective is to clarify responsibilities and increase effectiveness of the CEO, staff, and Board in their roles. This work will influence the direction and goals for CSI in many years to follow.  I look forward to reporting on this further in the coming months.

I am honored to serve the Institute in FY16-17 from my location in the Southwest Region. I enjoy each of our unique chapters and their success is very important to me. Please let me know how the CSI experience can help make your careers the best they can be. 


David A. Bishton, FCSI, NCARB, CCS, CCCA, SCIP

Awards: Get ready for changes to the Institute Awards program for FY2016. The board approved a multitude of changes to the language, criteria and even names of some awards put forth by a task force. The basics will be largely unchanged, but it is hoped the changes, especially to awards named after individuals from CSI’s past, will encourage more submissions and honors. The FY2016 Awards Guide will include all the revisions.

The Board: Our new Executive Director, Mark Dorsey, is working hard to get to know all the board members, staff, and committees together with the finances and other challenges facing CSI. I had a one-to-one conversation with Mark just last Friday and sense his passion and desire for creative new directions for CSI. Many board members seem ready for ideas and changes that are more than just tweaks to our SOP. President Lane Beougher and Mark are preparing a series of studies on the Board's overall goal setting and decision making processes, so it appears we are in for a stimulating ride during my term.

UniFormat: I am currently serving as board liaison on this Task Team, which is preparing an updated document to be issued in 2016 that will include many new topics that were also introduced in the expanded MasterFormat. These include Manufacturing, Processing & Bulk Handling, Transportation, Utilities, Electric Power Generation, and Water/Wastewater. It is stimulating to work with a group of experts in topics not often covered in traditional CSI circles. When will these disciplines be included in our annual CONSTRUCT and chapter/region trade shows? I think it must be part of the transition for CSI to embrace a larger view of the construction industry.

Update to last month’s report about the NSF Grant:

The application was submitted on October 5 and we hope to hear that we are successful by early spring 2016. This is a joint venture grant that includes Columbus State Community College (Ohio). Montgomery College (Maryland), and CSI. The NSF Building Efficiency for a Sustainable Tomorrow Center and the Coalition of Community College Architecture Programs will serve as national dissemination partners. The Institute for Women in Trades, Technology & Science will provide training on Women in STEM recruitment, persistence, and success strategies.

I greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Institute Board from the Southwest Region. I welcome your questions and concerns on any topic at


October 2015

Congrats to CSI for a great CONSTRUCT event in St. Louis. We continue to evolve and make it a better event. I hope those who attended got a chance to meet and hear from our new Executive Director, Mark Dorsey, who came to us from the American Snowsports Education Association in Denver. We look forward to his new ideas and enthusiasm for our core activities in CSI as well as adventures in new areas – stay tuned!

The Board has embarked on a new venture with great long-term potential to CSI, starting with a grant application to the National Science Foundation. It seeks to bring the CDT program into a full certification status and incorporate it into curriculum offerings for the Coalition of Community College Architectural Programs. This is a multi-year project that will promote CSI leadership in education for the construction industry.

I greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve on the Institute Board from the Southwest Region, and welcome your questions and concerns on any topic. 

David A. Bishton, FCSI, NCARB, CCS, CCCA, SCIP