Conference: Composite Materials & Digital Manufacturing

Take a look at new materials and technologies that may be important to building product manufacturers. Chusid Associates is attending, and looks forward to seeing you there.

Material beyond Materials:  
A Composite Tectonics Conference on Advanced Materials and Digital Manufacturing in Architecture and Construction

Friday, March 25 through Saturday, March 26, 2011

Hosted by Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc),
Los Angeles, CA

Fostering direct exchange between architects and companies invested in the field of advanced materials and fabrication technologies, SCI-Arc hosts Material beyond Materials—a composite tectonics conference on advanced materials and digital manufacturing.

Taking place on the SCI-Arc campus in downtown Los Angeles, the two-day forum is open to the public and will explore technological advances in composite materials, innovations in construction, and current design discourse—with some of the most important names in today’s building, fabrication and design industries.

Material beyond Materials combines progressive presentations in the fields of architecture, the arts, engineering and materials research. Conference participants will present and discuss their most innovative ideas, projects and positions concerning materials, technology and the impact on the architecture and construction disciplines and professions.

Introduction to SCI-Arc: Material Beyond Materials
By Eric Owen Moss

Keynote Lecture: Evan Douglis
Introduction: Composite Tectonics
By Marcelo Spina

Panel 1: Integrating Complexity
Systems integration and the inherent complexity derived from them are assessed from the viewpoint of composites. Topics include structural performance, complex analysis, lightweight properties, and integrated assembly. Aspects such as construction code and city requirements are also discussed. Panel focuses on the potential for streamlining construction and the integration of composites within a larger available material palette.

Panel 2: Synthesizing Behavior
Synthetic behavior and qualities are at the core of composites. Topics include material variability as opposed to traditional materials, anisotropic materiality, gradients, coloration, light transmission, real vs. synthetic as well as emerging effects derived from all of these aspects. Panel focuses on new possibilities for innovation enabled by designing and altering material at the level of matter.

Lunch Break

Panel 3: Performing Environments
Performance and environments are understood in a broader sense, to relate material to our physical environment or to suggest that materials themselves can constitute immersive environments. Topics include new and smart materials, green technologies, the impact on sustainability, but also issues such as fire rating, life cycles, material performance and economies. Panel focuses on the environmental potential of designing with composites.

Panel 4: Manufacturing Construction
Manufacturing construction as opposed to manufacturing buildings is at the center of the discussion. Topics include prefabrication processes, on site vs. off-site construction, digital fabrication and the role of craftsmanship, refined versus rustic, tooling and tools; automation, and the role of robotics in new design paradigms.

Concluding Remarks/Q&A Session

Closing Reception
The Material beyond Materials morning and afternoon sessions on Sat, March 26, have been registered by the American Institute of Architects (AIA)/Continuing Education System (CES) to offer Learning Units. Click HERE to read the full announcement.

Admission to the event is free and open to the public. RSVP to reserve your space—email your name, company, address, and daytime phone to

Speaking Opportunity - EcoBuild 2011

Speaking at trade shows and industry conferences is a great way to establish yourself as an authority on a topic, build your brand, and reach industry leaders with your message.

EcoBuild America, to be held in December 2011 in Washington DC has issued a call for speakers:
The 2011 Call for Speakers submission page is now active. We are interested in receiving topics that feature real-world, solutions-based case studies and/or management discussions. Speakers will submit proposals for presentations with topics that fit the five conference tracks:

1. Building Information Modeling (BIM); Information Technology
2. Building Performance & Energy Efficiency
3. Green Building; Sustainable Design
4. Management/Marketing
5. Sustainable Sites; Infrastructure
Contact Chusid Associates for assistance writing a winning proposal.

Lunch Training Session Verbiage

Apparently you can no longer use the phrase "Lunch N Learn," as a training company has trademarked the term. Their trademark also extends to the phrase "lunch and learn."

Instead of using this term for lunchtime presentations, here are a few of the other terms people came up with for lunch learning sessions:

"Dine and Discover"

"Sales and Sustenance"

"Luncheon Learn" (although this might be too similar sounding to the trademarked term -- but I really like it!)

Read the rest of the article here.

CONSTRUCT 2011 - Call for Presentations

Call for Presentations
Due 9/6/10

Theme: Progressive Thinking. Practical Solutions.

CONSTRUCT is committed to promoting a comprehensive education program for construction and design professionals, the people they serve, the environment, emerging technology and the economic impact to businesses.  CONSTRUCT is now accepting submissions for the 2011 educational program.  

CONSTRUCT provides an excellent opportunity and venue to showcase the latest industry updates and case studies for the commercial building and construction market.  The presentation theme focuses on taking design ideas using progressive thinking and the interpretation by offering practical solutions. 
Education - September 13-16, 2011
Exhibits - September 14-16, 2011

Location:   McCormick Place, Chicago, IL

Audience:The primary audience of the educational program includes: contractors, designers, architects, specifiers, owners, facility managers, suppliers, engineers and students.

Courses:Session format will be two-three hours (pre-show) on 9/13 and 90-minute and/or 60-minute courses from 9/14 thru 9/16.  Presenters must be available to present on any day of the conference program.  Program submissions must not be presented at any other industry event 9-months prior to scheduled date of program at CONSTRUCT and must include the latest industry updates.

Session Deadline:  September 6, 2010 

AIA 2011 Announcement & Call for Presentations

Announcement & Call for Presentations Due July 1

AIA 2011 National Convention and Design Exposition
Regional design REVOLUTION: ecology matters
New Orleans, May 12-14, 2011

·   Regional Ecosystems
·   Regional Community Development Patterns
·   Regionally-based Sustainable Reinvestment in Cities and Towns
• 60minute seminar
• 90minute seminar
• Halfday preconvention workshop
• Fullday preconvention workshop

·   Read the Call for Presentations
·   Submit a Proposal

NeoCon Call for Presentations

You are invited to submit presentation ideas for consideration at future NeoCon shows produced by Merchandise Mart Properties, Inc. (MMPI). A leader in trade show development, management and production, MMPI produces more than 300 trade shows, market events and conferences each year.


Due October 1, 2010
We’re Looking For A Few Good Speakers

If you have an interesting presentation or an idea that could be developed into an educational session, you are invited to submit a written proposal. By submitting a proposal, you will help shape the educational conferences at various MMPI events and the future of your industry. If selected as a conference speaker, you will gain visibility in the industry and contribute to the advancement of your profession. Complete the application and return it by the deadline listed for each show.

If you need ideas or help formatting a proposal, Chusid Associates can help.  This group also needs speakers for other events in other cities.  See their other events here.

Apple's Tech Failure

Apple had a technical failure during a keynote demo, and it provides an important reminder for us all: always, always, always practice extensively with any technology you will be using in your presentation before you arrive at the presentation! Know how to set it up, how to operate it, how to take it apart, and have a backup plan in place for when you forget the one cable that makes the whole thing work, batteries die, or they give you a projector but no screen.

Sometimes there is no opportunity to practice, such as at a trade show where you use the projector they provide when you get there. In such cases I always bring an "emergency kit" that has all the wires I could possibly need and a flash drive with my presentation materials on it. I also keep a copy accessible online, but again, I've learned the hard way not to rely on having a good internet connection.

Lastly, remember that you don't need Powerpoint to do your presentation. Know your material well enough to speak without the slideshow if needed. It should compliment you, not the other way around.

Value of Webinars

Last month we mentioned our client’s plans for a CSI webinar. Now that the presentation has happened and the evaluations are in, I want to share our experience to serve as a guide for companies considering their first webinar.

Why a Webinar?

To start with, why do a webinar? There are several reasons:
  • Increased Reach: Most marketing efforts are geographically limited in reach, and increasing the geography considerably increases the time and cost of spreading the message. Traditional presentations, as face-to-face events, are of necessity the most limited. Putting the presentation online takes advantage of one of the greatest strengths of the internet. Remember, however, the impact of time zones; a presentation that starts in New York at 2pm needs to end by 3:30 or the participants in LA miss lunch.
  • Convenience: Related to the previous issue, attending an educational seminar while sitting at my desk in the middle of the work day is far easier than taking time off work, sacrificing my weekend, or spending hours traveling to get there. Making it easier to attend translates to improved attendance.
  • Reusable: Anything put on the web remains, in one form or another, forever. CSI saves popular courses for future on-demand viewing by advertising them in their course library. Presentations can be recorded for future use, posting on webpages, internal training, etc.
  • Prestige: The implied endorsement by the organization hosting the webinar can be a huge bump in your company’s image. Plus, the increased online visibility helps with search engine optimization. Even if participants do not make a direct association between the presentation and your company, as may be the case with groups that have “non-proprietary” requirements, they learn to see you, the presenter, as an expert.

Lessons Learned

Working with an organization like CSI is great; they provided the technical expertise so we could focus on designing and promoting the course. The webinar got free advertisement on the CSI webpage and newsletters, but I recommend doing additional publicity to spread the word. Draw in prospective clients by inviting all your prospects to attend; post it to your Twitter page and in forums dedicated to your target audience; be sure your local trade association chapters know you are the presenter so they can turn out in support. Our webinar was just a few weeks after CONSTRUCT 2009 so we had a great opportunity to promote it at the show.

The most important lesson we learned is practice, practice, practice. Most speakers experience a huge shock when they realize they are speaking to an audience they cannot see or hear. Good speakers learn to draw from their audience, adjusting pace, tone, and detail level to keep people engaged and excited. The most common webinar interfaces, however, only allow participants to give feedback and ask questions in a text-based chat box. Anyone that doesn’t understand why this is a problem has obviously never started a fight with their girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse by attempting to use sarcasm in an email; all emotion gets flattened out, and you can’t tell if a challenging question is asked in anger, curiosity, or excitement. Worse, you only get feedback when people feel strongly enough to start typing, meaning there is no way to tell who is falling asleep at their monitor.

As a result, speakers tend to speed up, get too loud or soft, mumble, and get ahead of the on-screen slide (especially when dealing with slow internet connections) without realizing they have lost the audience. Radio personalities undergo extensive training and practice to overcome this feeling of talking into a vacuum; most people do not have this experience to draw from, so it is important to practice using the actual technology, if it is available. We did not have prior access to CSI’s program, so we practiced with our client over the phone. For extra realism, try putting the phone on mute and only respond in text. Skype works well for this.

I also recommend getting a good microphone. In the past I have used a telephone, and it sounded like it. It was understandable, but there was that slightly canned sound and occasional static. Again, practice with your mike so you know how close you need to be and can speak naturally instead of shouting into it.

Lastly, remember that the webinar is not, by itself, a sales tool. No one closes a deal because of a great webinar. What it does is pave the way for future sales efforts – because you are now the expert in the field, and have an educated consumer base – and it generates a list of prospects for future calls. Be sure participants know how to find your website, and you, for additional information. Sending out a copy of the slide show or other handout is another great opportunity for follow-up. As part of a larger marketing plan, a webinar is a great way to reach and educate your prospects.

CONSTRUCT 2010 Call For Presentations

The CONSTRUCT 2010 call for presentations went out last week. The deadline is July 27, so there is still time to submit a proposal.

CONSTRUCT is CSI’s annual show, and it draws high-quality attendees. It is colocated with the TFM show for facility managers, providing an additional audience for your message. Participants in the educational sessions are decision makers, trend setters, and early adopters who are always looking for better ways to build. Presenting creates an excellent opportunity for face time with these decision makers and raises your company’s profile.

If you have questions or would like help preparing a submission, please email me.

Do a Webinar for CSI

Webinars are an increasingly effective means of providing continuing education to architects. They are also economical: You don't have to travel, and you don't have to buy lunch for a roomful of disinterested people.

Here's the link if you want to propose a webinar to CSI National:

Look for "propose a webinar" on the right. The person at Institute to talk to is Josh Spiler.

One of our clients will be presenting a webinar through CSI later this month. Not only does he get exposure during the webinar, but his message has been distributed to thousands through CSI's website and newsletters. We will record the presentation and post it on our client's website for future training purposes.

AIA 2010 Call For Presentation

The American Institute of Architects annual convention will be June 10-12, 2010 in Miami, FL. They have just issued the call for presentations, deadline July 1, 2009.

An AIA convention presentation can be a great platform for product manufacturers; it gives you an hour or more of face-to-face time with architects that have identified themselves as interested in your product. It gives you a chance to define the terms of discussion in that category, to set yourself up as expert, and to gather high quality leads.

The impact of being a speaker goes beyond the number of attendees. Thousand of people will see your name and program title in the trade show publicity. You can publicize your participation among your customers to raise your profile and stimulate requests for similar programs for local AIA chapters. And a video of the presentation can be a great addition to your website or used as a webinar.

For more information or assistance in preparing a submission, please contact me at We can also help you identify other conference looking for speakers from your industry.

Social Media in Building Product Marketing

New communication and collaboration tools can increase the reach and effectiveness of your sales and marketing, reduce the environmental impact of sales calls and help control cost of sales.

Consultants from Chusid Associates recently presented a seminar on the topic for the Los Angeles Chapter of the Construction Specifications Institute. Presenters included: Michael Chusid, FCSI, RA and Aaron Chusid, CSI. Aaron is a specialist in communications and Michael has authored numerous articles on building products and construction.

Among the topics discussed were:
  1. Social networking sites (LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, etc.)
  2. Twitter
  3. Email blasts
  4. Blogs
  5. Building information modeling (BIM)
  6. Desktop-to-desktop video conferencing
  7. Cell phone internet
The program is available for presentation to Building Product Manufacturers, Trade Association, and Professional Societies.

Copies of the handouts are available by contacting