The CSI Studio is back, featuring on-the-floor interviews from the 2021 CSI National Conference, including Q&As with the conference keynote speakers Curtis Moody, Nancy Novak, and Damon Hernandez, updates on the value of membership and CSI’s new look and vision with Marvin Kemp and Mark Dorsey, and insight into the future of the architecture, engineering, construction, and owner (AECO) industry.
In this episode, CSI’s Matt Switzer talks with CSI board member and recent Class of Fellows Honoree, William Sundquist, FCSI, in the CSI Studio in Nashville, Tennessee.
I’d like to offer belated congratulations on your Fellowship.
I was speaking with one of your classmates earlier, and she said you’ve dubbed yourselves the Class of Pandemic Fellows?
Absolutely. The Pandemic Fellows.
Looking back a year ago, what did it feel like when you got the phone call notifying you?
With everything going on, it was obviously a surprise; then I thought about receiving the fellowship (in-person) and realizing it wasn’t going to happen. There were moments of sadness, but just like in construction when you build things you have to overcome challenges and problems. That’s why I coined the phrase Pandemic Fellow because it was a way to embrace it. Global pandemics only happen about once in every 100 years. So why not stand out in the crowd and be yourself?
Fellowship is a huge honor at CSI and the process of the nomination is a lot of work. What advice would you give to those who are considering putting themselves forward for fellowship?
I would say just let the fellowship come to you, right? Join CSI, embrace it, engage in every opportunity you can, at every level. Serve your community, serve your people, and then the fellowship will come to you. When I was filling out the application and reviewing the history, it was quite amazing. It wasn’t about me. It was about everybody who helped me get to that point. What I’d encourage people to do is let the fellowship come to you by how you engage your membership with CSI.
Looking back at what you submitted for your application, were there any milestones you point back to and think, “I’m really proud of that?”
Obviously, a big thanks to everyone who helped me out. But I’ve always said, the one thing I’m most proud of was when I was chapter president in Knoxville, Tennessee, we crossed the finish line and fully endowed our CSI scholarship at the University of Tennessee, School of Architecture and Design.
You always need to have an eye to the future, and you always have to educate the next generation. The fact the scholarship is always going to be there and is always going to support the next generation of AEC professionals, architects, and potential CSI members is one of my most crowning achievements in this organization.
What advice would you give to younger professionals looking to further their career through CSI?
Get engaged, get involved, learn, and realize this is a life process. Ask questions, find friends, and just learn. I still learn every day. I don’t know everything about this industry and this business. With the online communities we have, I read those and realize how diverse and knowledgeable our members are. So just take advantage of what we have to offer, which is the knowledge the members are so willing to share.
To watch all the interviews on the CSI YouTube channel, visit www.youtube.com/user/CSIConstruction