November President's Message

Greetings CSI Memphis! 

I would like to thank everyone who attended our October Chapter Meeting!  For those of you who missed it, Scott Guidry and Tim Michael of designshop gave an excellent presentation on the Memphis Grizzlies Facilities with a focus on Millwork and Lighting.  November’s chapter meeting will be Thursday, November 8, 2018.  This meeting will not be at the Holiday Inn.  We will tour the Memphis Millwork plant located at 1049 Galloway Avenue.  I think this tour will work nicely with October’s chapter meeting.  To RSVP to the chapter meeting, checkout the events page on the award-winning


The CONSTRUCT Show wrapped up on October 5th.  Long Beach was an amazing host city and I believe our chapter’s representatives enjoyed their time on the west coast.  CSI Memphis sent four representatives to the Institute Convention; our Vice President Susan Evans, Past-President Mike Zielinski and Treasurer Gary White all joined me in Long Beach to represent CSI Memphis. Jason Ontiveros and Isaac Barrantes also attended representing the University of Memphis Student Affiliate.  I’m proud to report that I was very impressed with their professionalism at the conference.    They spent a great deal of time on the expo floor talking to vendors and other professionals learning how to become better architects.

This was my fourth year attending CONSTRUCT.  I have previously visited the shows in Chicago, Austin and Providence.  As always, I love attending the conference for two reasons: education and fellowship.  This year’s education sessions were amazing.  I am proud to say that I was impressed with the institute’s commitment to engaging Young Professionals in the industry to join the institute and to have the seasoned veterans of the field to share their knowledge with tomorrow’s leaders.  This message was plainly illustrated in my two favorite sessions.  First, was the Knowledge Transfer session presented by Brok Howard.  This was the first time I’ve heard anyone presenting how to work alongside millennials in the industry in a positive manner.  As a millennial myself, I found it extremely refreshing.  He also challenged the next generation of leaders to learn from the predecessors and to maintain relationships with the industries veterans along the way.  The second session with this focus was the Millennials as Successors Panel.  Friend of the chapter, Michael Riscica was on the panel along with several other emerging professionals from around the country.  Cherise Lakeside from #LetsFixConstruction led the panel. 

The takeaway from both sessions is that a mutual respect is required for these two generations to work together in a productive way.    For instance, a Baby Boomer uses a saying, “I have ties older than you,” to a Millennial colleague is not productive.  It immediately demeans the young professional and will force them to search elsewhere for guidance and possibly employment.  On the other hand, the Millennials need to be more open in their communication with Baby Boomers.  In-turn, Millennials must recognize that they will be mentoring the next batch of young professionals from Gen Z in the same way.  In 10 years, Millennials will make up nearly 50% of the workforce across our industries and others.  It makes no sense for Boomers and Millennials to be combative.  It is far more product to work together to elevate the profession together.

The annual Institute Leadership and Business Meetings had similar themes to the two sessions I enjoyed the most.  Our CEO, Mark Dorsey, has done an excellent job of righting the ship over the past few years.  He has implemented changes to the website that were long overdue and has hired an outside consultant to help chapters bring in new members and retain existing members.  This initiative is called the Dynamic Chapter Program, or DCP for short.  You can volunteer to be one of our chapter’s representatives in this program by checking out .  Our very own Carlie Massery has volunteered to represent the Little Rock Chapter and will double as our chapter representatives for now as well.  I think that the institute is on the right path and I think our chapter is as well.  CONSTRUCT always energizes me to improve the Memphis Chapter of CSI.  As your chapter’s President, I will continue to work my hardest to improve the content we deliver to our members. 

CSI is the best kept secret in the industry, and we need to change that.  One theme that continued across the entire conference was that everyone singing praises about CSI was speaking to the choir.  Now it is time to come home and spread the word about the Institute.  I would like to challenge every member to bring a friend or colleague to the next chapter meeting.  Volunteer your time.  We have no shortage of committees to join and a slew of great events planned over the remainder of the fiscal year.  Want to get involved?  Email us at  If you don’t have the time to volunteer but still want to help, donate to the Morrison Scholarship Fund and help provide opportunities to the next wave of AEC professionals.

Jeffrey Parnell, CSI, CDT, AIA

Architect, HBG Design

CSI Memphis Chapter President