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October 2010

One Huge Event

CWA’s Annual Conference on Oct. 25-26 in Chicago, this year titled “Embracing the New Normal,” will be bigger and better than ever

There’s only one CWA Annual Conference, so we’ve put all our resources into creating ONE BIG event you won’t want to miss. There’s something for everyone who wants to “Embrace the New Normal,” including great speakers addressing relevant issues in construction communication, tours and technical sessions examining interesting construction projects, more CWA Award winners than ever, and of course, networking.

Build Your Network
Now is the time to capitalize on networking opportunities. From cocktail receptions to project tours, networking breakfasts, and CWA roundtables, this is the only conference in the industry where you can meet with trade publication editors, freelance writers, PR professionals, photographers and construction industry marketers, all in one place.

Engaging Topics & Speakers
Hear some of the brightest minds in the industry address current challenges and opportunities in the construction market.

You Can’t Go Home Again: The Past & Future of the U.S. Construction Industry
Nate Clark, Director of Public Affairs, Construction & Forestry Division,
John Deere Power Systems

Clark uses Thomas Wolfe’s great American novel, You Can’t Go Home Again (1940), as a useful tool to analyze the past and future of the U.S. construction industry. From the depths of the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression to the promise of recovery founded on American hope and vitality, You Can’t Go Home Again embodies many of the challenges and opportunities now experienced by the U.S. construction industry.

Clark provides insight on how the future of the construction industry requires overcoming its cyclical past and will examine the role construction writers have in shaping the industry’s future. In his role with John Deere, Clark has spent much of the last two years on public policies important to the construction industry, including economic stimulus, infrastructure funding, climate change, renewable energy, and engine emissions.

Transportation & Highway Bill Outlook
Toby Mack, President and CEO, Associated Equipment Distributors

As president and CEO of AED, Mack has been at the forefront of advocacy for infrastructure development. In this presentation, he will address the status of these efforts and provide an outlook for enacting a new multi-year Federal Highway Program. Learn about the lobbying effort, challenges and roadblocks, the Administration's position, and how the prospects for a growing program will be impacted by the fall elections. Understand how infrastructure investment will impact the construction equipment industry.

Economic Outlook
Ed Sullivan, Chief Economist, Portland Cement Association

What will the economy bring in 2011? To help you answer the question, CWA is pleased to present one of the top forecasters in the country, Ed Sullivan, chief economist for the Portland Cement Association. In January 2009, the Wall Street Journal cited Ed Sullivan as “one of the first economists to predict the current downturn.” Sullivan is also consistently named by the Chicago Federal Reserve as the most accurate forecaster regarding economic growth among 30 top economists.

Implementing a Social Media Plan and Policy at Your Firm
Dana Galvin, CPSM, Marketing Manager, Barton Malow

In 2009, Barton Malow launched its social media policy and implemented staff training to use social media sites as business tools for recruiting, communications, sales and marketing. Marketing Manager Dana Galvin shares the lessons learned–the good, the bad and the ugly–of launching a social media program. Galvin will show how to establish goals, choose the right platforms, track metrics, and most importantly, sell it to your boss.

 For more about our speaker lineup click here.

Construction Projects and Tour
Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago
On Monday, October 25, all CWA members in good standing are invited to a tour of the new Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, led by Bob Gallo, Mortenson/Power. No conference registration is necessary. Learn how the designers and builders solved the owner’s digital challenge as you tour this $1 billion project encompassing 1.25 million square feet. Please register for this specific event.

On Tuesday, October 26, you can hear from more building team members on Lurie Children’s in the Building track project session or select the Infrastructure track to learn more about projects such as the San Francisco Bridge, or the Wacker Drive/Congress Parkway Reconstruction Project in Chicago. Click here for more details on the project sessions.

CWA Awards Will Bring Out the Best in the Industry
CWA's eight major award programs will be combined into one huge event and the winners will be presented their awards at the 2010 Grand Awards Dinner on October 26, 2010. Don’t miss this incredible opportunity to meet with the industry’s award-winning writers, marketers, photographers and PR professionals.

Click here to register now.

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Companies Registered for “Embracing the New Normal” are:

Barton Malow
Better Roads
Chusid Associates
Concrete Products
Construction Equipment Distribution
Ditch Witch
Engineering News-Record
Expressways Online
Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago
Hilti, Inc.
John Deere
McCarthy Building Companies
Mortenson Construction
National Asphalt Pavement Association
National Fenestration Rating Council
Potomac Communications Group
Portland Cement Association
Progress Photography
Randall-Reilly Publishing Company
Roads and Bridges
Scranton Gillette
The Fuessler Group
The Surety & Fidelity Association of America
Turner Construction Company
Two Rivers Marketing
Walter P Moore
Words From Woody


CWA is especially appreciative of our sponsors for their generous support for the conference, quality programming and awards:

Caterpillar, Inc., National Asphalt Pavement Association, McCarthy Building Companies, Randall-Reilly Publishing Companies, Awards Company of America, Mortenson Construction, John Deere, Golden Square, Potomac Communications Group, Portland Cement Association, Associated Equipment Distributors, and Construction Equipment Distribution.

Caterpillar McCarthy
Randall Reilly Logo ACA Identity Mortenson Construction
John Deer Potomac Communications Group, Inc.
Portland Cement Assn. AED

Ronald D. Worth to be Honored with Silver Hard Hat Award

RonRonald D. Worth, CAE, FSMPS, CPSM, CEO of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), will be honored by the Construction Writers Association (CWA) with its highest award, the Silver Hard Hat. First awarded in 1969, the Silver Hard Hat Award recognizes those individuals who are shaping the construction industry and CWA through outstanding and tireless effort, commitment and leadership. The award will be presented at the Grand Awards Dinner on October 26 during the 2010 CWA Annual Conference in Chicago.

Worth has been involved with the design and construction industry for 30 years. As SMPS’ CEO since 1999, he oversees the 6,000-member professional society that represents principals, business developers and marketers from the leading architectural, engineering and construction companies in the U.S.

Before joining SMPS, Worth served as executive vice president of the Washington Building Congress, an umbrella organization representing 24 building industry associations on such issues as regulatory reform, worker training, education, economic development, technological trends and community service activities. His prior construction experience included a highly successful tenure as vice president of marketing for CECO Corp., a wholly owned subsidiary of HEICO Industries, a Fortune 500 international construction services firm.

In addition to conducting more than 300 seminars and training classes for 14,000+ professionals on such topics as preconstruction services, marketing, building industry economics, technology in construction, construction writing and economical structural design, Worth has written numerous articles for professional trade groups and nonprofit associations and has actively participated on many industry committees, forums and symposiums for the advancement of the building community. He has also co-authored three books: Building Profits through Marketing in the Building Industry (McGraw-Hill), A/E/C Marketing Fundamentals (Building News Inc.) and Design-Build Services: A Marketing and Business Development Handbook (Building News Inc.).

Worth’s involvement with CWA goes back 20 years. He helped build the organization’s membership during the 1990s, holding various offices, including president in 1999-2000. He was also instrumental in developing CWA’s initial marketing plan. His continuous advocacy and championing of the association throughout the years has brought in many new members and raised CWA’s profile and respect within the industry. He has also served as a personal mentor to an entire generation of construction writers.

“Ron’s success is built on creating success for others: a guiding principle of his which has benefited hundreds of individuals and organizations in our industry,” said Michael J. Reilly, FSMPS, of Reilly Communications, a past national president of SMPS and former CWA board member.

Calling Worth an “industry ambassador,” he noted, “Ron serves the entire construction industry as a champion of great ideas, and a trusted connection point who brings people together. He comfortably bridges the gaps in our fragmented industry by maintaining connections and confidences with association professionals, design practitioners, builders, marketing professionals, media professionals and countless others. He’s done it for 30 years, throughout his career.”

Mary Fenelon of the Building Associations Collaborative echoed Reilly’s comments. “Through his writing and speaking, Ron inspired many in the construction industry to become better professionals and to be proud of what they do. Just as importantly, he encourages all of us to work to make it a more productive and respected industry.”

Judy Schriener, journalist and chair of the CWA Silver Hard Hat Committee, summed up why Worth is being honored with the Silver Hard Hat Award. “Ron is an exceptional person who is all about contributing to the entire architecture/engineering/construction industry, and has done amazing things with his own organization. He will be an outstanding addition to our list of previous Silver Hard Hat Award winners.”

Share this on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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The Case for Face-to-Face Networking

Whether you are self-employed or an employee, networking can enhance your success. With the opportunity for online networking, one may wonder if face-to-face networking still holds value. We think so. We asked several CWA members for their thoughts on the value of face-to-face networking at CWA events.

Tim Gregorski, editor-in-chief, Concrete Construction (www.concreteconstruction.net), and other Hanley Wood Publications, tells us he’s found CWA events to be a proven source for freelance writers.

“Their acute knowledge of the concrete and construction industry led to detailed feature articles in Concrete Construction, articles that not only benefit my circulation but the entire concrete industry from an educational standpoint,” said Gregorski. “As a result, I have used these writers on multiple occasions because I know I will receive a quality article that meets the editorial standards established for Concrete Construction.“

David Wood leveraged winning the T. Randolph Russell Award for newsletters into publicity that raised the profile of his business (www.constructionbreak.com) and led to a highly successful 20-year career.

“I believe that most of the industry publications that ran my press release, did so as a result of the personal contacts I made at the CWA meeting,” said Wood.

Good things can happen to you too.

The CWA Annual Conference provides a great opportunity to strengthen the industry connections you have and make new ones. Attendees are there for the sole purpose of education and networking, so you are likely to find them to be more relaxed than when you see them at an industry trade show. CWA members share a lot of common challenges, and that makes a great starting point for discussions. Portions of the program such as the “CWA Roundtables” also make it easy to meet people and get conversation started. You will meet in small groups to discuss topics such as social media engagement, tips for multimedia platforms, the PR/Editor disconnect, and more.

To succeed in networking, remember the motto of Ivan Misner, who has been called the father of modern networking: Givers Gain. It’s the idea that the good you do will eventually come back to you in one form or another.

Misner explains the motto in his book, The 29% Solution, 52 Weekly Networking Success Strategies,

“By giving to others first, you take the initial step in building two-way, win-win networking relationships. You’re being proactive and positive. You’re leading by example, modeling the behavior you hope others will adopt.”

“Giving” doesn’t necessarily mean hiring someone or helping them find a job. It can be sharing a resource, an idea or a making an introduction to someone. The idea is to get to know someone, so that you’ll know what would be valuable to them.

If you are new to networking or just not comfortable with it, check out Misner’s books and articles at www.ivanmisner.com. Lou Dubois also offers some great advice in his article, “How to Network Effectively,” on Inc.com. Having a networking plan can remove many of the fears you have about walking into a room of people you don’t know. These resources can help you get started.

See you in October.

Do you prefer face-to-face or online networking?

Voice your opinion on Linked-In or Facebook.

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Will the Real Jim Parsons Please Stand Up?

Jim ParsonsLifelong Learner Finds the Freelance Life is a Perfect Fit

Google “Jim Parsons” and you’ll have to search well beyond the first page of results to find anyone other than the Emmy award-winning actor and star of “Big Bang Theory.” But finding Jim Parsons, the freelance writer and longtime CWA member, is well worth the effort.

Once you find the Jim Parsons of Bristow, Va., you’ll discover an insightful writer, master storyteller and lifelong learner. You may have seen his work in ENR, Professional Demolition International or AGC’s Constructor magazines, or perhaps checked out his blog Rebar Madness.

“Jim Parsons’ writing style is everything we could ask for at ENR,” said Aileen Cho, senior editor at ENR, “factual, well-rounded and true to the construction industry world, yet overlaid with an entertaining, lively voice. It’s on another level beyond the standard trade journalism workmanship prose. If we rated construction journalism like LEED certification, he’s always at least Silver.”

One might say that writing found Jim Parsons, rather than the other way around. He never actually planned to be a writer, journalist or PR professional. He first earned a B.A. in political science, M.A. in education, and an MBA in marketing, all from his beloved Virginia Tech. But somehow Parsons found himself working in the PR department of a large A/E firm.

From there, it didn’t take long for Parsons’ writing talent to flourish. He advanced from writing the employee newsletter at Dewberry & Davis to ghost-writing articles, crafting marketing brochures and eventually, writing project features for the company’s magazine.

After seven years working for the in-house PR agency, life presented Parsons with another option.

“I thought I would try freelance and if it worked out, well then great,” said Parsons. “If not, I would find another job.” That was 15 years ago and for Parsons, the career fits perfectly.

“I get to learn and write about things I never knew existed or paid attention to,” said Parsons. Whatever the topic, you can count on Parsons to make it interesting.

“Jim is the sort of fellow whose interests and intellect are so diverse and dynamic that he can get along with just about anybody,” said Cho. Parsons lists Ham radio, homebrewing, cycling, reading and running among his hobbies.

“Sources warm up to him very quickly and speak highly of him afterwards,” added Cho. “He’s warm, engaging, down-to-earth, and honest — with a very wry sense of humor.”

Because most of his work comes from referrals, Parsons understands the importance of being on time with assignments. Cho calls him one of her “trusted, most reliable writers.” He joined CWA soon after he went out on his own and quickly recognized the value in networking. Over the years, through his CWA involvement, colleagues have become both clients and friends.

“It’s often who you know, and who they know,” said Parsons.

“Jim is one of those people who is never so busy that he can’t give you his time,” said Joanne Costin, chair of the CWA publicity committee. Parsons takes an active role on the publicity committee and is a former board member.

For writers who want to live the freelance life, Parsons provides inspiration. “If you establish yourself, if you build a good reputation and do good work, you are probably going to make it,” said Parsons. “But remember this old African proverb: Luck always comes to those who don’t factor it into their plans.”

Visit http://www.parsonage.net/jimsworld/ to learn more about Jim Parsons.

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Build A Future 2010 Scholarship Recipient Named

The Construction Writers Association (CWA) has selected the winner of its 2010 “Build A Future” scholarship. Leilani Romo, a junior at DePaul University in Chicago, has been selected for the CWA scholarship for her outstanding skills, aptitude and motivation in the fields of journalism, communications and public relations. The award will be presented at the CWA 2010 Grand Awards Dinner in Chicago on October 26, 2010.

The CWA “Build A Future” scholarship provides a $2,000 monetary award, full conference registration to the CWA Annual Conference and travel stipend up to $500 for a total scholarship value of $3,500 to help support and encourage the next generation of communicators and continue a tradition of excellence in our industry.

“The CWA Board of Directors and Scholarship Committee selected Romo based on the completeness and overall quality of her entry, including her essay, letters of reference, excellent grade point average and her enthusiasm for the fields of journalism and public relations,” stated Ivy Chang, editor of Construction Bulletin and chairman of the CWA Scholarship Committee.

Students are eligible for the "Build A Future” scholarship if they are enrolled in an accredited college or university in the United States and Canada, are in their sophomore, junior or senior years and are pursuing a degree in Journalism, Communications or Public Relations with a minimum grade point average of 2.5 on a scale of 4.0.

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Attend CWA's Construction Tour and Welcome Reception for Free

Here's your opportunity to meet with your friends and colleagues!

This year, CWA members can attend the Welcome Reception and Construction Tour for FREE. Yes, that’s correct. If you are current member in good standing, you are invited to attend the first day of the conference activities for free. The welcome reception in the evening following the construction tour is free to all CWA members regardless if you are attending the conference; however, registration for the tour and welcome is recommended.

This is our thank you to you for supporting CWA! The construction tour is the new Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago project. More details about the welcome reception location will be announced soon. Pre-registration is recommended. More details »

To REGISTER for the welcome reception, construction tour or the conference, click here.

All non-members are welcome. If you are not a CWA member, there are three ways to attend the construction tour:

  1. Register for the construction tour and the welcome networking reception only.
  2. Register for the conference, then the construction tour is included as part of the full conference package.
  3. Join CWA and the tour is free.

Individual membership is $100. There is no initiation fee. To register for the welcome reception, construction tour or the conference, click here.

To join CWA, click here.

Consider CWA Sponsorship and Increase your Networking Power

There are sponsorship opportunities still available for the CWA 2010 Annual Conference-Embracing the New Normal. A sponsorship will ensure your company has top visibility among more than 300 writers and experts from leading companies and publications and recognition as a premier supporter of CWA.

Current conference sponsors include market leaders such as Caterpillar, National Asphalt Pavement Association, McCarthy Building Companies, Golden Square, Mortenson Construction, Randall-Reilly Publishing Company, Awards Company of America, Portland Cement Association, Potomac Communications Group Inc, Construction Equipment Distribution, and Associated Equipment Distributors. Please contact Deborah Hodges, CWA executive director, at info@constructionwriters.org for more information regarding becoming a CWA sponsor. We are glad to work with you regarding your special needs.

CWA Member News

Here are a few books written by our members and special supporters.

Available at the annual conference next month!

California Infrastructure Projects, Ernest C. Brown, Esq. PE, Ernest Brown & Company (2009).

Writing Content, Roger W. Nielsen, R.W. Nielsen Company (2009).

Building for Boomers, Judy Schriener and Mike Kephart, Mc-Graw-Hill Construction Series (2010).

Crossing the Hudson, Donald E. Wolf, Rutgers University Press (2010).
  Also author of Big Dams and Other Dreams, University of Oklahoma Press (1996), and
  Turner’s First Century, Greenwich Publishing Company (2002).

Welcome New Members

Eric Anest
Assistant Editorial Director
Salt Lake City, UT
United States

Kendal Butler
Senior Editor
Asphalt Institute
Lexington, KY
United States

Jera Flash
Salt Lake City, UT
United States

Calendar of Events and Important Dates

September 29, 2010 McGraw-Hill Construction’s Green BIM: How Environmental Performance Modeling is Improving Sustainability at the Mid-America Club in Chicago, IL. For information, visit http://construction.com/events/midwestgreenbim.

October 3-5, 2010 Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) 2010 National Conference & Trade Show at the Manchester Grand Hyatt in San Diego, CA. For information, visit http://cmaanet.org/conference.php.

October 17-20, 2010 American Council of Engineering Companies 2010 Fall Conference at El Conquistador Resort & Spa in Las Corabas, Puerto Rico. For information, visit www.acec.org/calendar/conferences.cfm.

October 25-26, 2010 CWA’s 2010 Annual Conference-Embracing the New Normal
is at the Hilton Suites Chicago on the Magnificent Mile.

November 4-5, 2010 10th International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality 2010 in Sendai, Miyagi, Japan. For information, visit http://www.convr2010.com.

November 7-9, 2010 AEM Annual Conference in San Antonio, TX. For information, visit www.aem.org.

November 7-11, 2010 IRMI’s 30th Construction Risk Conference, location TBD. For information, visit www.irmi.com/conferences/crc/.

November 13-16, 2010 Healthcare Design at the MGM Grand Las Vegas, NV. For information, visit http://www.hcd10.com/ME2/Sites/Default.asp?SiteID=A3CBD44D64F14DF4B593CBF7CCAB4643.

January 16-21, 2011 World of Concrete, World of Masonry, and Technology for Construction at Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV. For information, call 888-962-7469 or visit www.worldofconcrete.com. CWA Networking Reception on Wednesday, January 19, 2011 evening.

February 8-11, 2011 Messe Muenchen International and Association of Equipment Manufacturers’ bC India, Bandra Kurla Complex, Mumbai, India. For information, visit www.bcindia.com/.

March 22-26, 2011 International Exposition for Power Transmission (IFPE), Las Vegas, NV. For information, visit www.ifpe.com/.

March 22-26, 2011 CONEXPO-CON/AGG in Las Vegas, NV. For more information visit www.conexpoconagg.com. CWA Networking Reception-more details soon.

More events »

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Send comments or queries to Construction Writers Association at bill.tolley@constructionwriters.org.

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