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BICSI opts to walk away from STEP

Tampa, Fla. — The biggest news coming out of the 2013 BICSI Winter Conference occurred after the event had ended.

March 1, 2013  

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Tampa, Fla. — The biggest news coming out of the 2013 BICSI Winter Conference occurred after the event had ended.

On Feb. 12, BICSI president Jerry Bowman announced that BICSI was withdrawing as a founding member of the Sustainable Technologies Environment Program (STEP) Foundation, citing concerns about the direction the organization was heading.

The timing was ironic for three weeks earlier, four key members of STEP — Allan Weidman, Herb Congdon, Julie Roy and Charles Fox —spoke at length about their goals and plans for the organization during a conference roundtable for BICSI delegates held in the Tampa Bay Convention Centre.

BICSI’s board of directors voted to become a “sustaining member” in November 2011 joining InfoComm, CompTIA and the Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). Last year, the Communications Cable & Connectivity Association (CCCA) joined as a supporting member.

“The original STEP Foundation concept was a fairly simple one,” Bowman said in a statement. “Its Mission was to bring sustainability to the process of planning, designing, integrating and operating technology systems, as well as to reduce the long-term environmental impact from technology deployment. The fulcrum of STEP would be a STEP sustainability rating system, and STEP membership would require a manageable start-up investment by BICSI.

“Over the past months the STEP Board of Directors has been involved in a series of long term strategic planning activities. During this process it has become evident to us that STEP’s direction was changing and the new direction was significantly different from the original STEP concept and not consistent with our BICSI sustainability vision and not in the best interest of our members.

According to the STEP Web site, while “LEED focuses primarily on building construction, STEP focuses on the technology systems that operate within the sustainable buildings, employing a five phase approach to planning and implementing, and measuring the impact of a project.”

Roy, chair of the TR 42.10 subcommittee on STEP, wrote in a blog posted prior to the conference that while TIA has been working on writing a standard to help support the rating system, the foundation has been part of implementing pilot projects to validate the rating system. One such project is the new TIA office in Arlington, Va., which has been deemed a “STEP certifiable site.”

In it, she also referenced the pending roundtable at the BICSI Winter conference saying she was excited to join a group that includes Allen Weidman, The STEP Foundation executive director; Herb Congdon, associate vice-president of technology and standards for TIA; and Charles Fox, general manager of vector resources in charge of the implementation project at the new TIA offices.

When CNS contacted Weidman for comment he replied that the “STEP Foundation remains strong, despite the departure of one of its supporting members. CCCA, COMPTIA, InfoComm and TIA are strongly committed to continuing the mission of the STEP Foundation and advancing the mission of promoting sustainability in the built-environment.

“The Foundation is grateful for the valuable contributions made by BICSI in the early years of the organization and we will continue to work with BICSI members and staff to find common points of interest and mutual support to help advance a smart and sustainable Information Communications Technology (ICT) industry.”