CSI was founded in March 1948 by the specification writers of government agencies who came together to improve the quality of construction specifications. The Institute’s efforts were essential in improving construction specification quality so that it could meet the demands of the post-war construction boom. Development of specifications best practices, promulgating standards/formats, professional education, and certification were cornerstones of the Institute.

The Institute grew quickly to include specification writers in the private sector, design professionals concerned about communicating their vision in construction documents, constructors interested in delivering high-quality facilities, and material suppliers with unique solutions to construction challenges. These construction professionals continue to work together today as CSI members to effectively communicate the designers’ vision, the material producers’ solutions, and the constructors’ techniques to create outstanding facilities that meet facility owners’ objectives.

Further information about the early years of the Institute is contained in Chapter 1 of The First Fifty Years 1953-2003: A History of the DC Metropolitan Chapter CSI by Robert B. Molseed, FCSI, FAIA, Lifetime Member.

 

A BRIEF HISTORY OF

THE CENTRAL VIRGINIA CHAPTER OF

THE CONSTRUCTION SPECIFICATIONS INSTITUTE

The Central Virginia Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute was chartered in October 1990 with thirty-six members.

The chartering of the chapter was the culmination of the efforts of several people.  The effort started with a series of informal meetings held in the spring of 1990 chaired by then Institute Director (Middle Atlantic Region) Byron Dickson.  Several Charlottesville residents who were members of the Richmond Chapter attended as well as a number of other interested people.  It was out of this group of people that the charter slate of officers emerged.  It should be noted that Ron Keeney was unable to attend, and therefore was named President.  George Gercke stepped forward as Vice President and Ray Gaines as Treasurer.  Ron, George, and Ray were all members of the Richmond Chapter at the time.  During one of the subsequent embryonic board meetings, Harvey Sorum stepped forward as the Chapter Secretary.

Throughout the remainder of that spring, several pre-charter meetings were held at Sackett's restaurant on Route 29 North in Charlottesville.  These gatherings were well attended by local construction professionals and several active CSI members from the D.C. Metro, Baltimore, Richmond, and Blue Ridge Chapters.  The May and June meetings featured an animated group discussion of Shop Drawings.  The September meeting was the chapter's first Building Official's Night.  The atmosphere that permeated those early meetings continues to this day.

On July 1, 1990, Byron Dickson was succeeded as Institute Director by Bob Molseed, Now an Institute Vice President.  The chapter was enthusiastically supported and nurtured by these two and their industry counterpart, Bill Brightbill.

Finally the stage was set for the Charter Banquet which was held at the Omni Charlottesville Hotel on October 6th.  Byron Dickson served as master of ceremonies.  Following a sumptuous dinner, the chapter charter was presented to Ron Keeney by Bill Brightbill.  Bob Molseed then installed the Board of Directors and Chapter Officers.  The initial Board of Directors included Marilyn Wenger, Mike Robinson, Byron Shankle, and Charlie Pietsch.  CSI pins were presented to all of the charter members present.  Following the official proceedings, Joe Howe presented the keynote speech "FROM HARD HATS TO MORTAR BOARDS".  Joe kept the crowd on the edge of their seats with his anecdotes and tales, in spite of the then late hour.  It was well after eleven o'clock when the evening wrapped up.

They say that enthusiasm is contagious, and the formative proceedings of the Central Virginia proved no exception to that.  The chapter was blessed with a major infusion of enthusiasm from the three region directors involved, the various out-of-town charter members, and officers from other chapters throughout the region.

It should be noted that Ron Keeney's fearless leadership through those "uncharted waters" of the first year was formally and publicly recognized at the 1991 Region Conference held the following October in Crystal City.  These accomplishments should not be forgotten.

First published in

October 1995 issue of The Parameter

By Raymond E. Gaines, FCSI, CCS