1st Annual CONSTRUCT Young Professionals / Student Day

There has been a lot of recent discussion on the sparsity of young professionals in the AEC community. This is evident when looking at the attendance of the Door and Hardware Institute (DHI) and Construction Specification Institute (CSI) monthly meetings and annual trade shows. We need to encourage more young professionals to enter the many fields offered in the architectural, engineering & construction industries.

Cindy Barrand with Informa, who presents the CONSTRUCT show in conjunction with the CSI Annual Convention, decided to do something about it. She created a special package for young professionals (max 35 years of age) and students that offered education, a full day specifically designed for them, networking events and a few social occasions, spanning 4 days of the convention all for a reduced price.

Hager Companies, through social media, connected with several CSI members and met them in person at the 2013 and 2014 CONSTRUCT annual shows. We knew Cindy through Twitter and met her at the 2014 show. Once it was announced that the 2015 show was being held in St. Louis, the location of our headquarters, we reached out to Cindy asking how we could help and offering up our facility for tours.

Cindy took us up on our offer and we became a member of the CONSTRUCT Young Professionals/Students Day Committee. While the package covered 4 days, there was one specific day designed to educate the YP’s in many different aspects. Leading the special day would be the CSI Kraken herself, Cherise Lakeside. Cherise is the President of the Portland, Oregon CSI Chapter and is very involved in encouraging young professionals to join the organization. The agenda would include speed mentoring, a Pecha Kucha lunch session, a tour at our facility, a discussion on How to Set Yourself Apart – Getting to the Next Level, the Welcome Reception and a YP Mixer. It was a full day!

We spread the word far and wide on social media about the YP/Student Special Package hoping people would sign up. It was with much excitement when Cindy shared the YP/student package sold out almost two months before the show opened!

The tour we put together introduced our testing facility and explained BHMA testing requirements and procedures. We described what steps need to be considered in specifications when dealing with electric hardware while showing them our engineering lab. Several door openings were set up with different electronic hardware configurations in open walls to better able to see behind the scenes. We also set up a lock installation contest with a small prize.  Continuing education credits are always needed so it was helpful that Cindy was able to get the “Specifying the Electrifying” tour AIA accredited.

What a surprise when, at the end of the tour, CONSTRUCT presented the Eric Klein Memorial Scholarship as a thank you for participating in their first ever YP Day.  We lost Eric unexpectedly this past June so this honor brought tears to the Hager team. The scholarship will provide a free full education to next year’s CONSTRUCT show in Austin. Registration will be upgraded to VIP status and free admission to a technical tour of their choice. The winner was Katherine Good! Congrats, we know you will do Eric proud!

We couldn’t let anyone leave without some sharing a St. Louis tradition so everyone received a personalized size Gooey Butter cake along with Art Gensler’s new book Art’s Principles. Art Gensler started and built Gensler Architecture into one of the largest architectural firms in the world.

From all accounts the 1st Annual CONSTRUCT YP Day was a success! We are proud to have been a part of this event and appreciated the hard work, dedication and leadership Cindy, Cherise and all the volunteers provided. We have committed to being a part of next year’s YP Day in Austin, Texas, where we know this event will be bigger and better! Join us!


Cherise welcoming all the YP’s


Beginning the Hager tour – Cherise tweeting away!


Learning about BHMA testing from our Director of Engineering, Mark McRae


Wiring diagrams – which is important to include in specifications (Cherise tweeting again!)


Hager team member Sheryl Simon, an architectural representative, sharing how to coordinate between mechanical and electrical hardware


Lock contest time!


Our winner in 6 minutes!

Neither this tour nor the SCIP tour (see earlier post) could have happened without the help of a lot of people on the Hager team. Mark McRae and his engineering team did a great job, as did the architectural and specification team. Carla Vaughn, our Sales & Marketing Coordinator, was instrumental in keeping everything running smoothly and on time. Thanks to all for helping make CONSTRUCT week such a success!