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A message from

The Institute Director


Were you born B.C. or A.D.? There is a difference.


During the Institute Board Meeting, in Nashville I leaned over to my colleague in the midst of a discussion about messaging and understanding the young professionals in our organization and said, “I was born B.C. –(before computers).” My colleague responded, I was born A.D. – (after digital). In that moment we had realized something that we were compelled to be share with the entire Board


For clarity I was not born before computers. Computers have been around since the 1940’s and I am not that old. But I was born before computers occupied our daily lives. I was not able to use a computer in class until I was in college. Likewise my colleague, a Generation X was born after the digital age. It is weird calling “digital” an age. But I digress.


The discussion before the Board was about how we as a Board were going to manage the future. What became clear to me was that while the Baby Boomers in the room were expressing themselves, my colleague, the Gen X, was listening with a certain perplexity.


The “Boomers” in the room were talking communication concepts that were clearly B.C., but we are clearly in the digital age where hand held smart phones also known as the “external brain” is a tool used by young professionals to engage each other.

So in that moment when I leaned over to my colleague, who had become hopelessly disinterested in the discussion I was acknowledging that we Boomers were messaging to ourselves and not to Generation X or Y.


I believe the greatest obstacle facing CSI today is that it is run by Baby Boomers. Boomers have developed a culture that does not translate today to the young professionals. Unfortunately, Boomers have been used to being the group in the room, but as we age it is more important that we Boomers get out of the way and allow Gen X and Gen Y to take some control. More importantly, we have to begin to assimilate the Gen X and Gen Y cultural approach to the value of professional organizations.


What to do. Gather your young members and ask them what you need to do to make CSI more interesting to them.  What must be done to entice young members? My chapter has begun to grapple with this issue and the answers are not always forthcoming, however if we do not start we will never get to a solution.

Brian Cournoyer,

Institute Director, West Region

Brian R. Cournoyer,


Architect, NCARB


The Inland Empire Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute