Programs, Programs, Programs!
Kevin Vaughn

There is a well known saying that to be successful in real estate, it is important to focus on the three most important things: location, location, location.

Having been in a leadership position with the Puget Sound Chapter of CSI fo  r nearly a year now, what has become abundantly clear to me is that to be a successful chapter, it's vital to focus on the three most important things CSI offers: programs, programs, programs.

Looking back on the meetings we've had, our chapter has been very fortunate to have held several very interesting programs this year. Our talk on the Amazon Spheres project, the new McMenamins Elks Temple restoration in Tacoma, and the redevelopment of the Seattle waterfront and seawall were all fascinating and informative, and definitely offered our members a perspective on subjects not available anywhere else.

After accepting the challenge of being President this year, I took several weeks to meet with many local spec writers to ask them what kind of programs they would like to see from our chapter in the coming year.  Although we have many active members who are top specification writers, sadly, many of the region's professional specifiers neither belong to CSI, nor regularly attend our local chapter meetings.

Although there are a host of reasons for this dynamic, ranging from traffic to the realities of raising a family, the most consistent answer I received to the question, "Why don't you attend CSI meetings?" was that our programs were simply not compelling enough to warrant taking the time after work to attend.

Given the quality of many of the programs we've hosted this year, I might take issue with the statement, but it certainly doesn't conflict with my earlier statement concerning "programs, programs, and programs." In fact, I am reminded of a comment from a spec writer whose opinion I greatly respect, "Why would I attend CSI if I can simply have great programs come to me weekly at my office, at no cost?"  It's a valid point and a reality our chapter leaders need to seriously consider moving forward.  

So what's the answer to the question of great programs? At first glance it might seem difficult to put these quality programs together. Fortunately, our chapter has a secret weapon that simply needs to be activated and will provide month after month of informative, interesting and popular programs.

That weapon? YOU!

Each of us is involved in the construction industry in various ways and have contacts and ideas about different aspects of the local construction market. If each member would submit one or two ideas for interesting programs, we could have meetings planned for months and months in advance. Not only would this help our chapter attract members and non-members alike to our meetings, but it would give us a solid calendar moving forward and will help us market our events to promote attendance and sponsors.

So, dear reader, what are the topics you'd like to learn more about at an upcoming chapter meeting?  

After all, it's all about "Programs, Programs, Programs"!