Chusid Associates


It is always good to ask customers for feedback. I asked Ed Davis, President of Ceilume, and here is what he posted on my LinkedIn page.
"Working with Michael Chusid as an architectural product marketing consultant has been a revelation for our company, and will certainly be the same for yours if you choose to engage his services.

His depth of knowledge and innate inquisitiveness will, in short order, have him telling you things about your product that you probably haven’t thought of, and finding potential marketing strategies and market niches that you have not considered. You hire a consultant to tell you things you don’t know, to augment your strengths, and to expand your thinking. Mr. Chusid will do all that and more.

Expect some assumptions you hold dear to be challenged. Expect established patterns of thought and procedure to be disrupted, in a good way. Expect Michael to function as a dedicated member of your staff, not as an outsider. Never one to shoot from the hip, his advice, when given, will always be thoughtful and insightful. Whether or not you choose to follow it, understand that it is carefully considered, and worth your careful consideration.

If you are looking for a “yes person” to confirm what you are already doing, Michael is most likely not your man. If you are looking for someone to help take your product or your business to the next level, Michael is the guy to get you there."

Article on Lightning Protection Published

Jennifer Morgan and I have co-authored "Lightning Protection and the Building Envelope" in the August 2015 issue of Construction Specifier. The article provides architects with authoritative guidance to integrating lightning protection into their designs, a topic not discussed in the existing literature on lightning protection. The article can be read at

Consultant to East Coast Lightning Protection

Morgan is Secretary/Treasure of East Coast Lightning Protection, Inc. (, the leading manufacturer of lightning protection products in the U.S. Her firm has retained me as its architectural and marketing consultant. In a recent press release,  Morgan, explains, “Chusid is helping us educate architects and builders about the importance of lightning protection. He is widely recognized as an authority in building materials and for his effectiveness in explaining technical issues to the design and construction communities.”

Since most lightning protection installers are small businesses, Morgan believes, “Chusid's effort to educate designers will be good for the entire lightning protection industry and will provide our customers with promotional resources to use in their own regions.”

I am pleased to be working with ECLE. The risks of damage due to lightning have increased as a result of climate change and the widespread use of digital electronics in buildings. It is important for architects to realize that lightning protection should be an intrinsic part of designing a high performance building envelope. ECLE is taking leadership to collaborate with designers and develop lightning protection schemes that are compatible with contemporary architectural styles.

Article of the Year Award goes to Chusid

An article co-authored by Michael Chusid, RA FCSI CCS has been selected to receive The Construction Specifier Magazine's Article of the Year Award for “Cold-formed Steel Framing Gets Complicated,” the cover story of the magazine's February 2015 issue.

The award is judged on its relevance to the construction industry as a whole, readability, impact, and alignment with the Construction Specifications Institute's (CSI) mission and technical standards and formats. The judges are members of The Construction Specifier Editorial Advisory Board. The articles for consideration are selected from more than a hundred published from July 2014 through June 2015.

Also receiving the award are co-authors Chuck Mears, Ryan Rademacher, and Sheri Carter; they work at Radius Track and Chusid is a consultant to the firm. Radius Track is the leading designer and fabricated of curved and complex cold-formed steel framing and the article is based, in large part, on recent projects by the company.

The award was presented on Friday, October 2 during CONSTRUCT 2015 and the CSI Annual Convention in St. Louis, MO. The following day, Chusid and several co-authors discussed one the projects showcased in the article at a panel discussion titled, "Coordination, Collaboration, and Complexity: Cladding the Port Canaveral Exploration Tower."

Chusid is an innovation and marketing consultant to building product manufacturers and the author of numerous articles on architecture, building products, and construction science. Information on his services is available at,, and LinkedIn.
L to R, Erik Missio - editor of Construction Specifier, Chuck Mears, Michael Chusid, Ryan Rademacher, Eric Tolles - sales director of Construction Specifier.

Housing Research Center

A friend of Chusid Associates, Professor Ali Memari, Ph.D., PE has been named the Bernard and Henrietta Hankin Chair of Residential Construction  and director of the Pennsylvania Housing Research Center at Penn State University.

He is professor of architectural engineering at Penn State abd specializes in experimental and analytical evaluation of building structural and nonstructural systems for performance under environmental loads and natural hazards. He has recently done extensive work in building wall and envelope systems, including architectural glass curtain wall and glazing systems, cladding panels, brick veneer wall systems, various types of masonry wall systems, wood-frame, steel stud frames and structural insulated panels.

Ali and Michael Chusid have co-authored articles and collaborated on other projects. He has also conducted research to support our clients.

We wish him good luck in his new position.

Truth in (my own) Advertising

I recently received the following email:
Can you produce evidence that you are "North America’s leading product marketing and architectural consultant"? This is such a broad and outrageous statement that it gives me suspicion that any consultation advice or information coming from Chusid Associates is likewise suspicious. But if it is true, I am quite impressed.
I started describing Chusid Associates as "North America’s leading building product marketing and architectural technology consultant" about twenty years ago. The slogan was suggested by my father, a man with substantial marketing insight. "But," I protested, how can I say that? I have just a small business and there are lots of consultants with much bigger practices."
Dad replied, "There are lots of way to be a leader. You can lead by providing valuable insight and outstanding service to your clients, by being at the leading edge of innovations in your industry, and by being the most creative."

I learned a valuable lesson from my father, that day. And ever since, I have proudly described Chusid Associates as a leading consultant. It reminds me of the high aspirations I have for the work I do. To justify the claim of being "leading," my associates and I have to lead. It is a goal that inspires us to do our best.

Here is my email reply to my correspondent:
"Leading" has a range of meanings. Chusid Associates is leading in the sense of providing leadership or guidance, and advancing ideas that are often in the forefront of the industry. Each person can decide for themselves whether the description fits.

There is also the sense of leading that means being first; when I began practice about 30 years ago, I did not know anyone else providing the type of focus on building product marketing and technical consulting.

If you want evidence to prove the claim, speak to my clients. Most of them will tell you that Chusid Associates helps them create better business outcomes. Chusid Associates' work has also been recognized with awards of excellence from Construction Specifications Institute, Construction Writers Association, and other industry associations.

Perhaps it is hyperbole is to call Chusid Associates "the" leading, rather than "a" leading consultant. This type of puffery* is acceptable in general marketing claims. For example, Coke does not claim to be "a real thing;" it is "the real thing," and most consumers understand it in context. When, however, I provide the specifications about Chusid Associates' credentials and capabilities I try to be objective and avoid exaggerated promotional claims.

The claim that the company is a leader inspires me, every day, to do the best I can for my clients and to improve best industry practices in construction.
Thanks, Dad, for providing such leading advice.

* The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) defined puffery as a "term frequently used to denote the exaggerations reasonably to be expected of a seller as to the degree of quality of his product, the truth or falsity of which cannot be precisely determined."

Score 10 for 10 with MasterFormat

Do you know which sections apply to your products?
MasterFormat -- the filing system for organizing construction specifications and other construction information -- is updated annually to refine the system and meet newly identified needs in the construction industry. MasterFormat was developed and is maintained by the Construction Specifications Institute.

During the past year, members of the Chusid Associates team proposed ten revisions. We have just learned that all ten proposals received positive responses from the MasterFormat maintenance task team. 

Most of the proposals were made on behalf of building product manufacturers introducing new systems or trying to expand acceptance of existing products.

The revisions to MasterFormat are:
00 31 19.23 - Existing Structural Information
New section number and title.

03 30 00 - Cast-in-Place Concrete
Explanatory language added indicating that section includes “pigmented mix.”

03 35 19 - Colored Concrete Finishing
Explanatory language added indicating that section includes “dry shake colorants and hardeners applied during concrete finishing operations.”

09 61 19 - Concrete Staining
New section number and title.

09 78 00 - Interior Wall Paneling
09 78 13 - Metal Interior Wall Paneling
New section numbers and titles.

12 93 23 - Trash and Litter Receptacles
New section number and title.

28 41 00 - Electronic Structural Monitoring Systems
New section number and title.

33 49 22 - Storm Drainage Water Detention Structures
33 49 24 - Storm Drainage Water Storage Structures
New section numbers and titles.
The revisions were proposed by Michael Chusid, RA FCSI CCS and Vivian Volz, AIA CSI CCS. The 100 percent acceptance of their recommendations testies to their understanding of MasterFormat and construction specifications.

For more information on marketing with MasterFormat, see previous posts on this blog.

Another Score for Advertising

Chusid Associates has been recognized for excellence in advertising. 

An ad we designed for Ceilings Plus has been honored as a TOP 50 award winner by Architectural Products.  Every year, the magazine tracks the number of reader requests for product literature resulting from each ad and editorial mention that ran in the previous 12 months (10 issues Sept 2010 - Aug 2011).  There were over 3000 tracked items, so the top 50 represents the top 1 percent in reader response. 

Giving credit where due:

Client: Ceilings Plus, Nancy Mercolino - President 
Creative: Michael Chusid
Copy: Steven Miller
Photography: Doug Hill
Art Direction: Stephen Klippenstein

Thanks also to Jim Fuhrer, sales rep for the magazine, for procuring the inside front cover position for us.

Green Advantage: Coming to a Job Site Near You

Green Advantage (GA) is filling one of the missing links in sustainable construction. No matter how carefully a project is designed, environmental goals may be compromised if construction crews do not understand principles of sustainability nor how to best manage a jobsite to protect the environment.

To meet this challenge, Green Advantage offers a personnel certification program by which a builder can demonstrate competency in these areas. Chusid Associates is providing marketing and technical support to the organization.

While the Green Advantage program has been gaining adherents since its launch in 1998, I believe it will soon gain critical mass and become part of the construction mainstream. One reason for this optimism is that USGBC has determined that a LEED Innovation Credit can be earned if 30 percent of a project's field supervisory personnel are Green Advantage Certified Practitioners. The Green Advantage Field Personnel Standard can also be embraced by building owners, designers, and contractors that are not pursuing LEED certification.

There are several ways by which building product manufacturers can take advantage of the Green Advantage program:
  • Employees that go onto jobsites can become GA Certified Practitioners. This credential will enhance their professional stature and help establish their credibility.
  • Having GA certified employees reinforces your brand's commitment to sustainable construction.
  • GA certification can also be a criterion in the award of subcontracts since the 30 percent standard also applies to subcontractor personnel that provide services on the jobsite.
Consider getting GA certification for all members of your field crew. Liz Boastfield, Director of Communications at Green Advantage, can help you arrange for training and testing for your organization. Call her at +1 540 822 9449 x105 or email

Finally, Green Advantage is a non-profit organization and needs corporate financial support to supplement its income from certifications. Support of the organization can provide PR and other benefits to your company. I encourage you to contact Liz to discuss this opportunity.

Top Ten in Continuing Education

A continuing education course written by Chusid Associates is "one of the top ten most popular Continuing Education courses of 2010", it was announced today by Laura Viscusi, publisher of Architectural Record. The course, “Form Follows Fun: Design Options in Modern Ceiling and Wall Systems,” published in the June 2010 issue of Architectural Record and available online, is sponsored by Ceilings Plus.

By reading the text of the article and taking an quiz on the topic, architects are able to receive one hour of continuing education credit required for AIA membership and, in most states, to maintain an architectural license.

According to Viscusi, 122,000 continuing education exams were received by her magazine. She continues. "This large quantity of test takers represents the number of architects and design professionals who took the time to learn from your course and thereby engaged with your brand." Additional architects also read the article without taking the exam.

Chusid Associates has written or contributed to several continuing education programs for Ceilings Plus, including:

June 2010 
Tessellated ceilings and walls take advantage of new technologies; metal and wood panels can be almost any shape, size, or finish, while contributing to LEED and offering a variety of sustainability opportunities.
January 2010 
Understanding acoustic design, surface materials and services will provide optimal educational environments.
July 2009 
Raising the standards for acoustical performance and design flexibility
July 2005 

For more information on how to use continuing education in building product marketing, see the Chusid Associates website.

Looking Big

“He who has a thing to sell 
and goes and whispers in a well 
is not as apt to get the dollars 
as he who climbs a tree and hollers.”

I learned this doggerel from Brian Smith, CEO and Founder of Ecolite Concrete. Chusid Associates began collaborating with him while his business was being run out of the garage behind his house. He envisioned building wall panels that were over twenty feet long, yet his only prototype was just 12 inches square. And he needed either an investor or a large order that would enable him to get a loan to build a factory and begin production.

Brian had founded Ugg Boots, a breakthrough in the fashion industry, and was now working his magic in construction. His philosophy is "we have to look like we are big and successful" before anyone would be willing to take a chance on his disruptive technology. While still working on code approvals and R&D, he also insisted on investing in branding, sales collateral with high production value, and aggressive PR.

Another Chusid Associates' client has a nationwide presence selling coatings and chemicals for floor finishes. The company is run by its entrepreneur without staff. All manufacturing is by private label, warehousing is by distribution, and accounting and other backroom functions, including marketing, are outsourced. Even though there is only one person in the office, the phone answering system still says, "Press 1 for Sales, 2 for Customer Service, 3 for Technical Assistance, 4 for Directions to our Plant...," reinforcing the image that the company is a big brand.

Outsourcing marketing can also be used by larger firms. Engelhard Corporation is a Fortune 500 business. Yet its MetaMax brand of a high-reactivity metakaolin, for use in concrete, was such a small part of its operations that it only merited a 1/4 time product manager. Yet by working with Chusid Associates, MetaMax was made to look like a large part of Engelhard's business by getting extensive publicity in the industry press, speaking at industry conferences, participating in standard's writing committees, taking the brand to trade shows, and creating a strong presence on the internet.

Of course, some of our clients want to stay below the radar. By looking like they are small businesses, they limit competition by keeping their competitors from knowing how profitable their market niche can be. But that is the subject for another blog post.

CWA Standout: Chusid Associates

Ceilings Plus Image 
Re-published from the Construction Writers Awards Newsletter, CWA eXchange March 2011

Michael Chusid couldn’t make up his mind between a career in architecture or marketing, so he found a way to combine both. After earning degrees in design and architecture, he worked in product development for a building product firm, and then spent a decade in architectural practice. These experiences taught him how much architects depend on manufacturers for design inspiration and technical support. Recognizing an opportunity, Chusid Associates was born.

Since then, the firm has been a marketing and technical consultant to more than 200 building product manufacturers, and has produced some standout entries in the Construction Writers Association’s (CWA) journalism, photography and corporate communications awards. In 2010, the firm captured three CWA awards, winning in both the corporate communications and e-newsletter categories, and receiving an honorable mention for the Godfrey Award.

Chusid, a Fellow of the Construction Specifications Institute, loves writing about building products, and utilizes his experience as a registered architect, product designer, and certified construction specifier to help building products manufacturers connect with design professionals and contractors. “Our work helps clients sell their products, but our most important service is helping our client’s customers avoid selecting the wrong material for a given construction need,” said Chusid.

His award-winning entry in CWA’s corporate communications competition, the Idea Box™ campaign for Ceilings Plus, shows how the firm delivers positive results for their clients. “Our challenge was to create a piece of collateral that was so useful and attractive that architects would keep it at their desk,” explained Chusid.

The solution became the Idea Box, a perforated anodized aluminum box that Ceilings Plus fabricated with its own CAD/CAM-driven equipment. It contains product samples showcasing their materials, fabrication capabilities, and installation processes. “We needed a visual showpiece,” said Chusid, “something that would appeal to the creative community.” The campaign also included a corporate capabilities brochure as well an Idea Pad™. The magnetized Idea Pad sought to immediately engage architects by offering them an opportunity to “play” with various trapezoid and rhombus shaped metal swatches. The strategy quickly communicated that the design possibilities of Ceilings Plus offered “freedom from the square grid” required by conventional ceiling systems. “We wanted something that the salesman could tuck under his arm and deliver, that the architect would immediately open up and engage with,” added Chusid.

The creative effort did not go unnoticed. According to Chusid, the results have exceeded the client’s expectations, and the company’s sales continue to grow despite the recession.

Chusid’s inspiration comes from clients who are raising the bar for best industry practices. “What excites me about Ceilings Plus, is not only that their products are beautiful, but they represent a higher level of performance at a lower cost than the technologies they replace.”

Chusid credits a talented team of five staff members and five associates for the firm’s continued success over the past 25 years. He also recognizes the value of his membership in CWA. “We have been able to work with CWA members all over the country, both freelance writers and editors, and I am grateful for the way they have been willing to share their expertise,” said Chusid. “Being part of CWA raises my own sense of professionalism, because I can look at the work that others are doing and ask myself how my work compares to the outstanding work that they do.”

By all accounts, very well.

For more information about Chusid Associates visit and its blog at

Published and distributed by the Construction Writers Association. Copyright 2011.

Help Wanted - Professional Sales Rep.

Chusid Associates is seeking a sales representative to sell services to the multi-billion dollar building products industry. Our 25-year old firm has kept growing despite the recession, and is now poised for breakthrough growth. This nationwide opportunity offers six-figure commission-only income potential.

You will be selling professional consulting services to executive-level managers of building product manufacturers. Services include strategic business planning, technical product evaluation, and marketing communications. The ideal candidate has worked with the building product industry and knows how to sell intangibles. Must have exceptional communication skills. Experience selling advertising, public relations, branding, design, engineering, or similar services is a plus.

Visit for additional information and instructions on how to apply.

Another Award for Chusid Associates

Chusid Associates created an advertisement for a client that was the #1 lead producer of ALL ads run in the past twelve months (9/2009 - 9/2010) in the Architectural Products Top 50 Products.

"Your ad that ran on the inside front cover of our Nov. 2009 was the #1 lead producer of ALL ads run in the past 12 months! As such you will receive mention in our Nov. issue Top 50 Products editorial this year. Nice work… winning this is a combination of having a great ad supporting a great product!" -Architectural Products

Wanted: Salesman/Saleswoman for Chusid Associates

Chusid Associates is seeking a salesman/saleswoman to sell services to the multi-billion dollar building products industry. Our 25-year old firm has kept growing despite the recession, and is now poised for breakthrough growth. This nationwide and international opportunity offers six-figure commission-only income potential.

You will be selling professional consulting services to executive-level managers of architectural and building product manufacturers; services include strategic business planning, technical product evaluation, and marketing communications. The ideal candidate has worked with the building product industry and knows how to sell intangibles. Must have exceptional communication skills. Experience selling advertising, public relations, branding, design, engineering, or other services is a plus.

Visit and to learn about our business and meet our existing clientele. Send cover letter explaining how you meet requirements, plus resume, and previous earning history to

Chusid Associates Wins 3 More Awards

Chusid Associates Won Three Awards this fall!

The Construction Writers Association has awarded us:

1)     Our second Godfrey Journalism Award - Read the judges' comments here.
2)     Website and Electronic Communications Award - Helmets to Hardhats Newsletter
3)     Marketing Communications Award - Ceilings Plus Idea Box

Our team at Chusid Associates has been very busy combining our creative and technological wires in our laboratory to provide the most innovative services possible. The judges liked the outcomes!

Architectural Photography Links

John Siskin is one of the architectural photographers we work with.  The following are links to some of John's articles and image galleries:

Interior Lighting: How The Pros Do It

Chusid Associates De-Filed

When, recently, our storage room was defiled by water from a ruptured pipe, I decided it was time to de-file Chusid Associates of as many paper-based documents as I could. This process has helped me measure how far and fast our industry has come in the shift to digital media.  Here are some of my observations:

With each passing year, our hardcopy project files have gotten slimmer. Most of the communications and notes for recent projects are online, without a tangible paper trail.

Just four years ago, we conducted a major investigation that produced two file cabinet drawers full of correspondence. The project manager had built an impeccable written record of every phone call, every transmittal, and every document revision, all neatly organized and cross referenced. I have retained the final reports, but recycled the rest of the files. It occurs to me that I may never see such a large, paper-based project again.

I recycled almost all paper-based product literature, technical documents, industry standards, and other material. It is just easier to get the material online now, and I assume that paper-based documents more than a few years old are out of date in our rapidly moving industry. This is quite a change from the training I got as a specifier. Before fax and overnight delivery, specifiers needed a well stocked library at their fingertips. I used to spend countless hours as office librarian keeping our precious technical resources organized and accessible.

There are concerns about de-filing. I was able to find, read, and understand 30-year old memos that were still in my file cabinets.  But I can not find many digital assets from just a few years ago, and no longer have the programs necessary to open and read them.  Heck - I don't even have a computer that with a floppy disk drive anymore, so the box of old project records I have in that format is useless (even if they haven't been demagnetized).

Some things are worth saving. While Sweet's catalogs are about to become an extinct species, I still keep several old sets in my office that go back three decades. They remain valuable resources to help understand the evolution of product technologies and markets. (I was even able to help a client win a patent infringement case. The old catalogs proved the patent claims were not enforceable as the product had been in use prior to the patent's filing.)  In the future, where will we be able to find information about how they "used to build back in 2010?"

There are other things I haven't thrown away either. For example, I have kept a file drawer of articles that I have been accumulating since college -- full of clippings that remind me of who I am, and who I want to be. Articles or reports that have inspired me, or made me rethink assumptions. Items like this, I want to be able to take out from time to time, fold back the yellowing paper, and read again. Some make me remember. Some make me think. Each time I read them, I learn more from them. The papers have become my friends.

Chusid Associate Reaches Out

In addition to dedicating her valuable time and knowledge to Chusid Associates, our associate, Norah Lally, reaches out to the community by educating young children in Los Angeles.

Norah was named Tutor of the Month by the School on Wheels Program and her student was named Student of the Month.  We are so proud for Norah and April and are lucky to have someone so special on our staff.

"The San Fernando Valley student of the month is April, who just graduated from elementary school as the recipient of a citizenship award and an achievement award for improved academic performance. She also received a Math Wizard certificate for mastering multiplication and division. This year, April has worked very hard to raise her grades from 2’s and 3’s to 4’s, 5’s and 6’s! She has excelled in her English Language Development (ELD) classes, showing great effort and improvement in her reading comprehension and vocabulary. Norah and April enjoy reading books together, like Princess Academy and The Great Berry Battle. April uses her new dictionary to look up vocabulary words as they read. When April has time during the week, she takes the initiative to read independently and keeps word lists to share with Norah at their tutoring sessions. Norah has even learned some new words herself! April’s optimistic attitude and love of learning make her a joy to spend time with. She also likes art and dancing. Looking forward to middle school next year, April says she wants to do her best, study hard, and be a good student. Her goals for the future are to have a good job, to be a mother, and to be proud of herself. She is thinking about becoming either a veterinarian or a teacher someday." - Written by April's Tutor, Norah

"This month’s tutor of the month is Norah. Norah is a relatively new tutor; she started tutoring with School on Wheels this past January. Her first student was a foster teenage girl who very quickly developed a close relationship with Norah. When I told Norah that her student had run away a few weeks into their tutoring, she was saddened but ready to start working with a new student. She started tutoring April about three months ago and already they have created a special bond. Norah has been tutoring and working with April diligently and as result of their work April received awards at her school for her scholastic achievements. As a way to thank Norah for her work, April invited her to her Elementary school graduation which she was able to attend. Norah has the ability to quickly connect with her students and to inspire them to love learning and school. We are happy to have her as a tutor and thank her for her wonderful work thus far!

Yanira Rivas
Regional Coordinator"

Associate part of Construction Specifier Editorial Advisory Board

We are proud to announce that our associate, Vivian Volz, has been appointed a member of the Construction Specifier Editorial Advisory Board by the Construction Specifications Institute.

As a member of the EAB, Vivian will provide peer review for articles in Construction Specifier magazine, recommend editorial direction by identifying trends and concerns in the design and construction industry, and serve as the magazine's ambassador to the industry at large. 

This is a very exciting addition to our team, as we already have a very close relationship with Construction Specifier and will now have even more of an edge that will help us better serve our clients and the building product industry.

Open During Construction; Please Pardon Our Dust

Readership has grown enough that we've had to remodel our blog for clarity and to handle the traffic. As long as we're at it, we plan to finish the basement, install a solar-powered water heater, and make some exterior improvements. We hope you enjoy the new look and functionality; if you do find any bugs, please bring them to my attention.

Thanks for reading!