The Construction Institute: Year in Review

by the CI Editorial Committee

With another challenging year nearly behind us, it can be difficult to look back but there is a lot to be proud of as well. At the Construction Institute (CI), we celebrated two industry leaders, Anthony Gaglio, Sr. and Rachel Palisin, as our 2021 Champions of Change. We were also grateful to be able to safely gather again for our summer social, Back Together Again, this past June – the strength of our community and the joy of reconnecting in person was a cornerstone of the event’s opening remarks, which helped to make the CI’s transformation over the past year possible:

“The Institute has experienced a year of re-creation, adaptation, and expansion. We re-created ourselves as an independent 501(c)(3). We moved our offices to East Hartford…We created our own online platform to deliver the AEC Leadership Conference and redesigned the Women Who Build Summit…Our programs and webinars have engaged attendees from across the country and around the world…,” says Nancy Greenwald.

As our institute reinvented itself, we all know that two remarkable social institutions continue to rethink and elevate their ability to act in service to our communities across the globe. Those institutions are healthcare facilities and schools. Inspired and continually in awe of our front-line healthcare workers, we reflected on their collective impact, specifically in the realm of social responsibility, and noted how non-clinical environments continue to advance the patient experience both physically and virtually to provide the highest level of care with the greatest reach. As students and teachers returned to their classrooms this year, we examined the importance of grade pods and their proximity to resources and specials.

At the beginning of 2021, we set out to carry three ideas forward: collaboration, innovation, and communication. By collaborating, we hoped to tackle bigger problems, together. Through our collaborative interdisciplinary partnerships, we imagined bringing together people with diverse expertise, experience and perspectives to create meaningful, impactful solutions that actually work. This year, we saw evidence of that in our local towns and cities but also in our offices and on our projects, jobsites, and virtual platforms. At the Institute, we collaborated to deliver some of our most exceptional in-person conferences virtually, and it worked!

By innovating, we hoped to create new opportunities to support our industry instead of merely continuing how things had been done in the past. We saw this as our AEC industry nimbly shifted to virtual coordination meetings, remote work environments, and creative responses to material selections due to cost and lead times. Here at the Institute, we created a series of free online webinars, taught virtual leadership classes, and advanced our certificate programs accessed by students across the U.S.

By having more frequent informal conversations, we hoped to communicate more effectively, and stay connected on a personal level, as human beings. We all experienced feelings of isolation, and we eagerly awaited the opportunity to reconnect. We prioritized our health, and the health of our families, neighbors, and co-workers, and we are now able to see each other in person. At the Institute, we safely hosted our annual golf event in October. But there is still value in picking up the phone and checking in. Touch base more, not less. Even now.

As 2021 comes to a close, there is hardship to acknowledge, and certainly there is still a ways to go, but we have also made progress. Perhaps each of you set an intention to carry forward some new changes, ideas or goals that were successful and impactful, or you overcame adversity and struggle. Thankfully, many are able to gather this holiday season with friends and family. And as we set our sights on 2022, we will set new goals, continue to expand our dreams, and carry all that we have been though together into our next chapter.

From all of us at The Construction Institute, we wish you and yours a safe and joyous season.