• Janice Clines

The Construction Specifications Institute: An Industry Organization Orients Toward the Future

At AOE, we don’t just provide services-for-hire to industry organizations—we’re members, too, making grassroots contributions to the world of design and construction. For Kristin Dispenza, Senior Account Manager, that means membership in the Columbus, Ohio chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and committee volunteerism for the organization.


A “renewed CSI” was announced in 2021, emphasizing the institute’s focus on building for the future. The organization, which will celebrate its 75th anniversary in 2023, will continue its work as a leading resource for architecture/engineering/construction (AEC) professionals through continuous development of standards and formats (such as MasterFormat®, Uniformat®, and OmniClass®) as well as education and certification programs for professionals. It will also strive to create a deeper sense of community, especially by working with groups of people who have not traditionally been part of this field or CSI and addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI).


One recent endeavor is the expansion of a Pennsylvania-based camp introducing young women to construction careers. The Let's Build Construction Camp for Girls began its plans to go nationwide, with CSI Foundation funding, in 2021. In 2022 the Foundation was awarded the $25,000 National Partner Grant from the Terracon Foundation to support science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for girls, ensuring the CSI Foundation can develop new resources to inspire the next generation of construction professionals.


“In June, the very first Let's Build Construction Camp for Girls launched in Northeast Ohio under the CSI Foundation grant. Three teams of young girls are learning from CSI members about working in construction,” said Thad Goodman, Secretary, CSI Columbus Chapter.


New Branding Captures the New Focus


Part of CSI’s renewal is new branding. A new logo features the abstract image of a book, representing the knowledge that is at the core of CSI while capturing the dynamic nature of the construction industry. A red component at the base of the logo denotes the warmth of community, while a blue component “reaching for the sky and looking toward the future” indicates the potential for elevating the profession.


Organizations such as CSI, whose membership includes architects, designers, specifiers, engineers, constructors, material producers and many others, are critical players in the AEC industry. They facilitate communication between individuals and foster the development of knowledgeable, efficient teams—teams who are responsible for the buildings and infrastructure we all depend on. AOE is proud to support such organizations not only through our daily work, but through our team members’ commitment to membership and volunteer efforts.


“Kristin Dispenza has been an invaluable resource to the Columbus Chapter of CSI,” said Adam P. Olson, President-Elect, CSI Columbus Chapter. “Specifically, in her work with the DesignColumbus planning committee, she has been a major contributor to the content on our website and eblasts. The increased growth in DesignColumbus has come, in part, due to her efforts.”


“Not only have I found it rewarding to work with the CSI Columbus Chapter, which is making such a difference in the built environment for the Central Ohio region, but I’ve enjoyed working with all the members of this great team,” said Dispenza.


Find out more about the AOE team’s activities by reading our blog posts.