Why Be a Member? (Part 2)

Benjamin Franklin once stated that “an investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”  Indeed, this is entirely why you and your organization need to actively participate in groups that move the capital projects industry forward. In Part 1 of this article, I discussed the primary benefits that an individual can receive by involving themselves in an industry group. Here, in Part 2 (of 2), I’m going to extend those reasons by listing the key benefits that your organization can realize from being a member of an industry association. And, if you’re reading this article and your organization doesn’t belong to CII and CURT, please consider using this list as part of your justification to your colleagues for joining our august Institute / Roundtable! Here goes:

  1. Influence / Advocacy
One of the key benefits of joining an industry association is the ability to support the mission of the organization, thereby influencing the direction and future of the capital projects industry. Critical mass counts – the combined resources and members of an industry group can sway public opinion and corporate leadership toward projects having a greater and higher impact. In addition, with the increased level of regulation and competition over time, receiving a positive / collective benefit through CII and CURT is becoming an absolute necessity for the survival of many businesses in the capital projects field.
  1. Information
Being a member of an industry association often provides immediate access to news that affects your business and the wider industry. Outside of the usual communication of members with each other at events, committees or communities – most industry groups usually provide newsletters, email updates, a magazine like the Voice, or informative resources that help its members stay on top of recent developments.
  1. Exchange of Ideas
Beyond having access to information about changes in the industry, members can also play a large role in determining these changes. Most industry groups provide forums for members to share ideas and develop new ways to improve the industry. In CII, this happens in Communities of Business Advancement (CBA), Research Teams (RT), Sector-specific Committees and Standing Committees. These avenues allow for more experienced member companies to help newer ones grow.  In turn, newer member companies bring their energy and help challenge the status quo that can lead to discovery. Company-to-company exchange provides the opportunity for all members to share innovative ideas that can help industry groups like CII and CURT.
  1. Research
Several engineering and construction industry groups conduct member surveys and market research. While white papers and op-eds can offer great insights, CII stands alone as the only industry group that conducts member-driven, university-based quantitative research to improve capital projects. Our latest round of research featured sector-specific findings for topics selected to improve the business results from capital projects in CII’s five industry sector groups.  You can read more about this research and two other overarching CII research topics in the accompanying article in the Voice  magazine. By pairing leading academics with the deep expertise of member company employees, an industry group like CII can provide findings and materials that greatly benefit everyone in the group.
  1. Best Practices
Any industry has a specific set of best practices that is vital to promote efficiency, safety, and quality. Especially for companies wishing to become “best in class,” membership in an industry association is vital to learning these practices and deploying them in the work processes of the firm. Moreover, the fast pace of technology and market competition means that these practices are constantly updating and changing, and it is important for all members to stay abreast of the latest innovations. CII and CURT are committed to advancing members’ financial results through the effective deployment of best practices.
  1. Certification
In addition to the usual training and education provided by professional societies, some industry groups provide certifications and licensing programs for individuals and companies. Not only do these certifications help ensure the efficient delivery of capital projects, some are an absolute necessity for a business to compete. Although CII has collaborated with the Construction Management Association of America (CMAA) for many years on the Certified Construction Manager (CCM) designation for individuals, the Institute is beginning to explore company-level certifications as well for specific best practices.

The above six aspects are some of the more common benefits that an organization receives from membership in an industry group such as CII and CURT. As I mentioned in Part 1 , over 85 percent of businesses that fail are not members of their industry’s association. Certainly, pressures abound for company resources, but an industry association provides one of the best ways for an organization to remain relevant in a fast-paced, competitive world. For those organizations that continue to be involved in CII and CURT – continue to stay the course because I guarantee the benefits vastly exceed the costs.
Dr. Stephen Mulva, CII Director

Date posted: February 3, 2020