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Jul 25, 2019

Co-founder of Let's Fix Construction, Eric D. Lussier returns to the mic to host the first episode since September of 2018.

Eric eases back into the podcast by reminding the listeners how steeped in the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) that Let's Fix Construction ends up being. Eric attended CONSTRUCT, CSI's National Conference, Annual Meeting and affiliated tradeshow in Philadelphia in 2010. Thanks to the Greater Lehigh Valley Chapter of CSI, Eric got to attend his first full conference of CONSTRUCT in 2011 in Chicago and then went on to return in Phoenix in 2012, Nashville in 2013, Baltimore in 2014, St. Louis in 2015, Austin in 2016, Providence in 2017 and Long Beach, CA in 2018.

2019 will find CONSTRUCT at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center at National Harbor, MD on Wednesday, October 9th through Friday the 11th. The Education Advisory Council, that Eric has been a member of for three years now, had a chance to meet in National Harbor in November of 2018 and preview the host resort and start planning the 2019 conference.

As a building product representative, Eric implored the need to have a dedicated track for product reps. Through original programming and submitted education through the RFP process, Eric helped curate six sessions on Wednesday, October 9th and it is called Product Rep University.

Whether new or heavily experienced, the Product Rep University has been developed to help you learn and do your job better as a construction product representative.

Session one is hosted by Mitch Miller, and is titled 'Discipline Roles & Project Goals: How Do I Fit In?' The goal is for attendees to define and recognize the primary roles of the project team, which includes the Owner, Architect, Contractor, Consultants and Product Representatives.

Session two is co-hosted by former President of CSI, Casey Robb, and is called 'Welcome to the “Vendor” Jungle! – Moving from Vendor to Trusted Resource'. Two of the goals of this session include recognizing the perceptions, limitations and real value clients expect in trusted relationships and how to develop a plan to move from “vendor” to “trusted resource” and gain credibility in the eyes of the client and the industry.

The third session has been touched on both in the podcast and on the Let's Fix Construction blog and is called 'Why You Need to Read Division 01 on Your Projects: The Rules of the Game', presented by Anne Whitacre, Senior Specification Writer at HOK. One of the primary learning objectives is to recognize how the various types of contract documents interlock with each other and how they describe the total scope of work.

The afternoon sessions kick off with Michael Chambers, who is a product rep and specification guru and will be delivering a session called 'Substitutions and Submittals: Not So Dirty Words'. This session will help the attendee define substitutions and identify the reasons why a substitution may or can be submitted on a project. Product reps need to know how to deal with substitutions and how you need to follow the rules in how they are submitted. The latest Let's Fix Construction blog talks more about substitutions and you can read it here.

'Learn from Real Life Lessons and Stories from the Road' is being delivered by T.J. Gottwalt, the Strategic Architectural Account Manager at Allegion. Draw from the experiences of a "seasoned" product representative to explore what works, and doesn't work, in getting specified. T.J. has been there and done that and learn how to best be a rep.

The Product Rep University wraps up with a special 90-minute session that is encompassed by four different 15-minute sessions with 5-minute Q&A's called 'Power 90 for Product Reps: Greetings, Meetings & More to Know'. The Power 90 kicks off with Lauren Anderson called 'Use Your Manners (Do’s and Don’ts of Getting in the Door)' Please. Thank you. Calling ahead. Asking for a meeting. Following up promptly. These are just a few of the best practices of getting in the door at a firm and Lauren will help you with this.

Eric will personally be delivering the next session in the Power 90 called 'Networking and Social Media for Product Reps'. Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn are all social channels to use, but CSI meetings are also great places to network and meet with people. Eric is going to do his best to deliver how best to use these channels and outlets to meet people.

An addition spec session is next in the Power 90 with 'Specifications: How You Can Help as a Product Representative' presented by Senior Associate and Specifications at RATIO in Indianapolis, Ivette Bruns. How do you get your product(s) specified? Ivette will inform you the numerous ways you can go about working your product into a project.

The last session in the Power 90 is 'Why Wasn’t My Product Used?' with Jake LaManna, the Quality Assurance Manager at Walsh Construction Co. Are you asking the wrong questions? Surprise, the answer is yes. Learn how to balance the strengths and weaknesses (quality) of the product with the manufacturer’s support of the product honestly, with an eye toward growing relationships, not just growing sales

Product Rep University is just one component of this year’s CONSTRUCT show. Cherise Lakeside will host the fifth annual Emerging Professionals Day (formerly known as Young Professionals) Program on Wednesday, October 9th as well, which is built for those 35 and under to provide the attendees with the training, networking, mentoring, and education that they need to boost their careers to the next level.

There is still time to save on your registration for CONSTRUCT, including Product Rep University and Emerging Professionals Day by signing up by August 6th at

Check out more on the Product Rep University at

Podcast Introduction and Outro by Mel Allen

Podcast Theme: "Let's" is performed by Milton Busker