Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thoughts on the DBIA National Convention

The DBIA National Convention has concluded, and once again, Lisa Washington and her incredible staff at DBIA put on a fabulous program.  I’m always a little concerned about the keynote speakers, particularly when they are sports players.  I don’t ever assume that just because one is proficient at a sport, that person can provide something worthwhile in a speech, but this year, the two keynote speakers were outstanding.  Cal Ripken, Jr., started the conference off with wit and grace.  His baseball career would have been remarkable even if he didn’t play 2,632 games in a row.  The man racked up 3,184 hits and 431 home runs.  (Yes, I had to get the stats off the internet.)  Mr. Ripken was clearly a talented player, but the lesson I received from his talk had to do with teamwork.  I had no idea that when he was on the field, he not only covered that sweet spot between second and third base, he also provided guidance and coaching to his fellow players, helping rookie pitchers and catchers call pitches and providing support for the rest of the team.  Even when he wasn’t playing his best and critics opined that he should step out of a game and sacrifice his streak for the good of the team, the hole that would have been left through his absence would have been much larger than a glove and few at bats.  He went above and beyond to become invaluable to his team in ways that just couldn’t be measured.  In addition, I got the opportunity to meet and talk with him, and he is not only much taller that I would have imagined (6’4”), he is a very nice person and surprisingly easy to talk to. 

Sugar Ray Leonard was also an amazing speaker and a genuinely nice person.  I have to say I’m not a boxing fan, but I vividly remember watching his Olympic win in 1976 and cheering him on.  I had no idea that  in his professional career, he won world championships in 5 different weight categories.  Mr. Leonard talked to us about the value of preparation, training and going the extra mile to become extraordinary.  He noted that anyone can be average, but to be extraordinary, you have to go above and beyond.  After his speech, I had the opportunity to talk to him about his mental state during a match.  I explained that law, like boxing, is an adversarial occupation.   Like him, part of my job was to “throw punches” at my opponent.  I asked about his ability to let go of the aggression that naturally accompanies such pursuits.  He explained that it’s essential to let go of that aggression because when boxers can’t let go, they don’t box with clear heads and often end up losing as a result.  I really wish some of my colleagues in the construction bar could grasp that message. 

Another highlight of the convention was the presentation to Michael Loulakis of the DBIA Brunelleschi Lifetime Achievement Award.  Mike is a good friend, and I was honored to have the opportunity to place the medal over his head at the ceremony.  I can’t think of another person who has given more of his time, energy and intelligence to the organization.  Like Mr. Ripken and Mr. Leonard, Mike has gone above and beyond to achieve a level of expertise that is unmatched in the industry and become invaluable to DBIA.   We all owe him a huge debt of gratitude.

The entertainers at the Awards Dinner were extremely gracious in posing with me and Mike after the show.
As a follow up to my last post, here is the link to the ENR Webinar next week:  The webinar is titled:  The Five Risks You Never Saw Coming That Could Badly Damage Your Business and occurs on November 14 from 2:00-3:00 Eastern/11:00-12:00 Pacific.

Don’t forget about the DBIA Webinar on November 12 and the DBIA Northwest Region Owner’s Forum on November 13.  Links to those events are on my last post.

One more cool pic from the convention.  Ehrlich Architects outdid themselves on the creativity of their booth.  Love the cardboard screen.