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See You Online

This marks the end of another year of communicating my thoughts to you and hopefully a heads up on things coming down the pike. In the works for 2012 are some new forms of communication that AWCI will be undertaking to provide our members with the latest news of events and items you need to know about. As you may be aware AWCI, has a Facebook fan page and the staff of AWCI has been busy making contacts on LinkedIn. This venture into social media was suggested by some of our more wired members in the hopes of providing yet another benefit of membership in AWCI.

The technical services department is moving forward to create two subgroups on the AWCI LinkedIn page. One subgroup will focus on safety and the other will focus on technical matters. Both subgroups are for AWCI members only. Our goal in forming these groups is to be able to communicate in a more rapid fashion the news items we come across that require your immediate attention. In addition, this form of communication will also enable those individuals with urgent questions to obtain answers in a timely manner. In many cases I reach out to others members of AWCI to obtain and verify answers before I post a formal reply to an inquiry.

The methodology in current use is not always the fastest way to make the membership aware of issues affecting the way they conduct business. My column in this magazine and AWCI’s Tech Update are the primary methods now in use. These are hard copy and published on a regular basis. I am constantly receiving information that is time-sensitive, and in some cases this information does not always fall within the deadlines for the publication of the magazine and newsletters. Mass emails are not always effective either; we have to get your attention or they don’t get read.

Now let’s get into some of the procedures necessary to make the LinkedIn groups work. It is not a difficult or time-consuming process. First of all, if you are not already a member of LinkedIn, sign up. When signing up make sure you indicate the company you work for. This is how we will determine that you are a member of AWCI. From your home page, do a search for “AWCI-Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry.” Once you are connected to AWCI, there is an approval process not only for the main group but for the subgroups as well. Once approved for the group you can then sign up for the subgroups you would like to participate in. Within the subgroups you can receive notifications daily or via a weekly digest—your call.

As director of technical services I am responsible for two of the subgroups, Safety and Construction Technology Council. The goal of these two groups is to keep you up-to-date on the latest developments on a year-round basis. It also allows the group members to engage in discussions without waiting for the next meeting. The members of the subgroups will also be able to introduce new ideas and follow up on items discussed in our face-to-face meetings. In the CTC subgroup I will be able to provide information on the latest ASTM ballots along with my take on the ballot for guidance when casting your vote.

In the Safety subgroup I can provide the latest news from OSHA, but you will also be able to discuss some of the problem and solutions you and your safety director encounter in the field. While the core of the subgroup will be full-time safety directors, we will encourage other members to participate. We realize that some of our members do not have full-time safety directors but do have a safety program in place.

My promise to you is to not waste your time with meaningless postings. Your time is valuable and I respect that. While we definitely want the greatest participation possible, we also want to make it worthwhile for you. This is the prime reason for placing the burden on you to make the decision to join us.

If you should encounter any problems signing up, please do not hesitate to give me a call so we can fix it.

And as I mentioned earlier, AWCI is also on Facebook. To find our fan page, search for “AWCI – Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry” and “like it.” It is up and running with material you should find interesting.

See you online!

Donald E. Smith, CCS, is AWCI’s director of technical services. Send your questions to, or call him directly at (703) 538.1611.

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