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Without the Doers, Nothing Gets Done

Think for a moment about all the different groups and associations regionally that have something to do with the AEC industry. Right off the top of my head, I can think of (in no particular order):

  • SMPS
  • ASPE
  • WIC
  • CSI
  • AGC
  • IAIDNE (Italian-American Interior Designers of New England) (just kidding on that one)
  • ABC
  • IIDA
  • ASCE

There are more, but the point is that there are a plethora of trade groups that all are doing good work to promote construction but also business development and networking in general. All of the groups mentioned are national organizations with local/regional chapters. Each chapter has to essentially operate on its own merit- with its own officers, directors, and the like.

Just from the nine groups named above, there would be roughly 36 officers (President, etc) needed, plus likely another 20-50 directors.  That equates to approximately 75 volunteers required in the Greater Boston area to help and direct on a regular basis, or else these chapters will cease to exist.

Generally speaking, these are unpaid “positions”; the individuals that are stepping up are doing it for reasons other than a paycheck. They believe in the mission, and naturally many do it as a resume-builder or to network with other key industry players.

Whatever the reason might be for contributing, a myriad of people declare all kinds of reasons for NOT volunteering.  This goes for all kinds of groups out there: School Board, local church, Little League, Youth Soccer, etc. What often seems to happen is that the same exact people are always the ones who are on the Board, or who are the officers.  It’s almost always the same people who are running the show- year after year.

This is a negative for many reasons. First, it’s always good to have some fresh ideas and get some new people and personalities in the mix.  Secondly, those few people who are essentially forced into (volunteer) leadership positions will eventually get tired of it or, for whatever reason, will need to move on.

Don’t assume that someone else will always step up and fill the role. If everyone had that attitude, nobody would be in charge and nobody would be getting anything accomplished. The groups would soon fade out.

On that note, be sure to thank the folks that are highly involved. And when the next opportunity arises or you are asked to more fully participate- please strongly consider it. More than likely you are being asked because you are deemed a valid member of the industry. And yes, you just might get your next big project (or even your next job) from your direct involvement.

Ken Lambert


Ken is a Director of Industry Development and Technical Services at the International Masonry Institute. Some of his writings have been featured in ARCHITECT magazine,, and for U.S. Building News. He can be reached at

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