Leadership Reflections

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Leadership Reflections

by Lisa Washington, CAE

Lisa Washington is a certified association executive (CAE) with more than 20 years of association management experience. She has served as DBIA’s CEO since June 2009.

I had the distinct privilege of traveling to Rome this summer and remain in awe of the beauty the integration of art, architecture, engineering and construction that makes this city like no other in the world. I could talk all day about the many wonders of the city, but it was the Pantheon that truly left me speechless.

Michelangelo, the great painter of the Sistine Chapel, once described the Pantheon as an “angelic and not human design.”* Many would agree that it is the most intriguing and unusual structure ever constructed by human hands. The ancient Romans clearly had an innate ability to design intricate plans and select only the most successful delivery techniques to showcase the world’s largest unreinforced concrete dome. There’s no doubt in my mind that the ancient Romans were true Master Builders, allowing this and other notable structures to hold up remarkably well for more than 2,000 years despite the extensive wear and tear of natural disasters and mobs of tourists (as I witnessed first-hand).

While in Italy, I was reminded of how proud I am to lead an organization of modern Master Builders. The industry professionals who make up the DBIA membership possess the same level of innovation and creativity as those who designed and constructed the ancient Roman structures. The only difference is that our modern world has added many new complications to our work, from understanding legislative authority to integrating new technologies to meeting budget and schedule goals. But the essence of the Master Builder concept remains inherent in design-build, which is indeed the original, longest-lived and most consistently successful integrated project delivery approach ever developed.

As leaders in today’s design and construction industry, you have the power to make a difference and a lasting mark, as did the designers and builders of the Pantheon. For every project team of which you are a member, you have an opportunity to play a pivotal role. Through your efforts, we can improve the way the government performs routine tasks such as procurement and contracting and expand opportunities for innovation and creativity. DBIA offers you — the modern-world Master Builders — a set of proven principles that optimize integrated design and construction performance. With DBIA, government and industry working together, we can streamline processes, tap into innovation and allow industry architects, engineers and contractors to focus more fully on the art of their craft.

* G. Lugli, The Pantheon and Adjacent Structures. Giovanni Bardi Publisher, Rome, 1971, p. 1.