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A bold move by BICSI

Shortly before John Bakowski began his two-year term as president of BICSI in January 2006 I sat down with him to discuss his various plans and aspirations.

March 1, 2008  

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Shortly before John Bakowski began his two-year term as president of BICSI in January 2006 I sat down with him to discuss his various plans and aspirations.

At one point he was asked about the cost benefit side of the equation and whether he was satisfied with what the organization provided.

“No, not entirely,” he replied. Bakowski went on to say that internally, “we are doing a good job of developing training modules, but I’m not sure that the people outside this particular business recognize the type of expertise we bring to the table. We need to reach out to other professions. We have not reached out enough. We have to do more and we need to do more quickly. The success of BICSI will depend on the quality of programs we provide to the industry.”

The internal soul searching began in earnest about a year ago when Bakowski, president-elect Ed Donelan and the rest of the board members launched what would end up being an intensive review of an association that has been in operation since 1977 following the formation and incorporation of the Building Industry Consulting Service International, Inc.

As Jerry Bowman, U. S. North-Central Region Director, aptly stated at the recent 2008 BICSI Winter Conference in Orlando, “we began asking questions that we had never asked before.”

As he notes on p. 6 of this issue, both the industry and stakeholders have changed. For example, he and other board members found that some employers were no longer willing to spend the two or three years on the investment it takes to put a person through the Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) program.

Sentiments such as those and others lead to the formation of the Inverted Funnel Project or IFP, following the review, which was conducted by a group of BICSI staff and volunteers. It has since morphed into an initiative called NxtGEN.

“There is no denying that many changes have occurred in the ITS industry since the inception of the RCDD program,” said Bakowski in a release issued in mid-November to announce its launch. “Shifts in the needs of BICSI members, customers and other stakeholders have left gaps in the publications, training and credentialing that we offer.”

According to Bowman in some cases, the RCDD has become a barrier to those people who wanted the knowledge and credentials that BICSI offers in a specialty program. In the November/December issue of BICSI News, Bakowski wrote that now is the time to get focused on the “future of the industry and the future of BICSI. The IFP is an important first step in doing something.

“Some have observed that we should do more to reach out to other industry organizations and other credentialing organizations to begin opening doors of the new generation of BICSI credential holders, including those in the IT, AV, security and other lines of business.”

As for Donelan, his goal is to see the technicians become RCDDs and the installers step in the technician’s role.

“We are now in the implementation phase,” he told delegates at the annual general meeting of BICSI in January. “This is where we take the rocks that we looked under and put the new foundation together to help this organization grow on a worldwide basis.”

One area the organization should certainly look into is getting more women involved in the ITS sector. That this is still very much a male-dominated industry was evident when the all-male BICSI board of directors was introduced at the AGM in which Bakowski passed the baton over to his successor.