The Construction Industry Institute (CII) recently held it's annual conference at the Gaylord National Resort and Conference Center in National Harbor, Maryland, near Washington D.C. The theme of this year's conference was "Elect to make CII work for you." Over 500 people attended.
The conference began Monday night with a family welcome mixer at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution. Attendees and their families enjoyed a buffet dinner in the lobby and were encouraged to take part in the tours and private planetarium shows.
Tuesday kicked off with a welcome from the Conference Chair, Ann Marie Sweet-Abshire of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. New CII Director Stephen Mulva also welcomed the attendees and explained that the group was coming into "the next generation of CII".
In the past couple of years, CII has been developing a new governance model that will change the way the Institute functions. The group will now separate its member companies into five sectors: Power, Utilities and Infrastructure; Upstream, Midstream and Mining; Downstream and Chemicals; and Manufacturing, Metals and Life Sciences. These new sectors will help to streamline the research process and give the group more opportunities for research that effects member companies in a more direct way. Mulva explains that these sectors will create fully formed research to help with company implementation. "We want to rewrite project success as business improvement," said Mulva.
CII has recently also revamped their Knowledge Base that holds past published research. The research was kept in a complicated system that was hard to search. With the new website, members (non-member for a fee) can search by Knowledge Areas, 10-10 Metrics, Project Phases, Projects Functions or Roles, and Best Practices. By searching through these categories, it's easier for members to find the research that applies to their projects and companies.
Featured speakers at the conference included Brendan Bechtel, President and CEO of Bechtel and Joseph Brewer of The Dow Chemical Company and Mark Triesch of eProject Management, LLC. Bechtel, who is the 5th generation of his family to lead the company, talked about the company's focus on shrinking the skilled labor shortage and the importance of innovation. Bechtel said the company has invested $60 million throughout three years to support innovation efforts.
Brewer and Triesch discussed The Sadara Program and the power of alignment. The Sadara Program is a $20 billion petrochemical plant being built in Saudi Arabia. It's the largest petrochemical project to date with over 60,000 workers, 25 engineering offices worldwide and over 100 construction contractors. Brewer and Triesch explained how alignment, a CII best practice, has kept this massive project on track. By keeping all of the project teams focused on the same objectives, the project has run smoothly.
The annual conference is a chance for the various CII research teams to present their findings and show CII members how to implement their solutions into their projects and daily company issues. The research teams work on their projects over four years and then present the findings to the members at the conference. Over the course of two days, nine research groups presented their results though breakout sessions where members could listen to the research outcomes in more detail and get questions answered. Some of the topics discussed were orchestrating virtual teams successfully, preparing for the future by succession planning and improving project assessment.
Every year CII awards two prestigious awards to CII members and other people related to the construction industry. This year Jerry Eyink and Dr. Bernard Amadei were the recipients.
Eyink received the Richard L. Tucker Leadership and Service Award in recognition for his outstanding involvement and volunteer efforts with the research arm at the University of Texas, at Austin.
The Richard L. Tucker Leadership and Service award recognizes an individual who has contributed significantly to the advancement of the CII's mission and success as an organization.
Dr. Amadei, Professor of Civil Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder received the Carroll H. Dunn Award in recognition for his contributions, innovation and dedication to the construction and engineering industry. Dr. Amadei is the founder of Engineers Without Borders - USA, and co-founder of the Engineers Without Borders - International networks.
CII established the Carroll H. Dunn award of Excellence in 1985 to honor an individual for significant achievements in improving the engineering and construction industry. The award is the Institute's highest honor and is recognized as one of the most prestigious awards in the industry.
The 2017 CII Annual Conference will be held at the JW Marriott Orlando Grande Lakes in Orlando, Florida, from July 31 to August 2.
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