I am an Associate member and I began attending SWR Institute events in 2004. Immediately, I was drawn to the openness and interaction between Contractors, Manufacturers and Associate Members...and the great locations of the meetings! I first began by attending one Fall meeting a year. By seeing SWR Institute members once a year, it took some time to get to know members personally and begin to develop relationships… and SWR Institute is all about Relationships. I knew that I must be more involved and attend both meetings a year to get the full value of the SWR Institute membership. I knew it would be a challenge to convince my seniors at WJE to allow for attendance at two meetings a year, but I'm always up for a challenge.
I first began by getting involved in the Technical Resource Committee. Within this committee, I met many great minds in the industry and I volunteered to help out. In my early days, David Boyer encouraged me to get involved and said “In the end your hard work will pay off.” I took his advice and after my first few years, I was able to demonstrate to WJE that my relationships at SWR Institute could bring leads to potential new projects. I was also able to build relationships with Manufacturers to quickly respond to clients’ needs, which also provided leads to future work.
With some hard evidence (i.e. new jobs) and arm twisting, I began attending both meetings a year. What a difference! Seeing this group twice a year increased my face time with members and I was able to more quickly build relationships, bring in new exciting projects, and do what I love most...socialize! Doesn't a little liquid courage help us all?
In all seriousness, the most expeditious way to get value in your SWR Institute membership is to GET INVOLVED! For me, it started with helping on a chapter of a SWR Institute technical manual, which lead to making presentations at SWR Institute events, writing Technical Clearinghouse in Print for Applicator magazine, and working on various publications for the Technical Resource Committee. I’m now finishing my 3 year term on the Board of Directors and truly enjoy putting my time into this organization. It is not always easy to explain, but I’ve seen the light and found what this group can do for you both on a professional level and a personal level.
For those of you who are not familiar with the Technical Resource Committee, our overall goal is to develop and publish technical documents to benefit our membership and continue to upgrade our status in the sealant, waterproofing and restoration industry. In the past 18 months while chairing this committee, I have worked on refocusing this committee. For the past decade, the committee has been working on the Historic Restoration Manual (HRM) with no end in sight. Many sections of the manual are complete; however, the overall assembly and completion of this manual is a daunting task and the use of our limited volunteers to complete this was preventing other technical resources and publications from being completed. We have now set the HRM aside and focused on creating and publishing resources for the SWR Institute. In the next few months, we will be rolling out the “Sealants: The Professional Guide” which has been updated for the first time since 1995. The Technical Resource Committee is actively working on the creation and publication of SWRInfo Cards. These will be reference cards that can be used in the field as quick resource of information for the workers/inspectors in the field. Karen Zimnicki has been working hard to assemble and coordinate the first few SWRInfo Cards.
The Technical Resource Committee had an excellent meeting in Seattle with lots of renewed energy. The group is currently made up of Associate and Manufacturers Members with a small number of Contractors participating. The number of participating Contractors has grown, but because this is a Contractor Member organization it is my opinion that we should have significant input from the organizations majority members. It has been my experience that the Contractor Members bring the real-world experiences to the table, which is great for any SWR Institute publication. Come on now, I know the Contractors members do not want the Associate members and Manufacturer members making up all the industry standards! This is where your VALUE starts…
To entice you to get involved in the Technical Resource Committee, the following are a few items that we need help writing, reviewing, and eventually publishing:
SWRInfo Cards - From masonry restoration to fluid-applied waterproofing
The Historic Restoration Manual and ideas for standalone publications
Technical Education Calendar
Overall, there are several tasks that need some assistance. Most relate to final editing and peer review from Contractor, Manufacturer, and Associate members. If we can increase the quantity of our industry volunteers, the amount of volunteer time is very manageable and you’ll meet some great minds of the sealant, waterproofing and restoration industry.
I have truly enjoyed my experience to date at SWR Institute and I have a long way to go to fulfill my goals. I appreciate the opportunity SWR Institute has given me to serve on the Board of Directors and better my professional career. Not only has this group helped me professionally, but I have also met many lifelong friends within this group.
So, if you are looking to find your place in the industry and make a name for yourself, GET INVOLVED! If you are interested, please let me know and we'll find a place for you that fits....and if you see me coming to talk with you it will likely be to recruit you to help out!
I hope that everyone has a great upcoming holiday season and I look forward to seeing you all in Scottsdale, Arizona.