Expanding Your Knowledge through CSI and CDT with Cherise Lakeside

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On today’s episode of the Young Architect Podcast, Michael spoke with his good friend, Cherise Lakeside, about the value of passing on knowledge to new architects and the importance of the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and the Construction Documents Technology(CDT) certificate.

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This episode the Young Architect Podcast we endorse Designer Hacks which is a fantastic online based ARE Practice question software.

CSI Cherise Lakeside

 On today’s episode of Young Architect, Michael chatted with Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Advocate, Cherise Lakeside. Cherise has played many roles in the world of construction and architecture.

From Business Manager to Standards Coordinator/Project Team Coordinator and now Spec Writing plus anything else in between, Cherise has seen it all and she’s more than eager to pass down her knowledge to new professionals in the industry. Listen on as she shares her different experiences and what she’s doing to help young architects begin and progress in their careers.

In fact, Cherise is more than eager to pass down her knowledge to new professionals in the industry. Two of the biggest takeaways that will benefit you from this episode is how both the Construction Specifications Institute and the Construction Documents Technology (CDT) certificate can help you both understand the industry better and advance your career

Cherise understands that with baby boomers soon retiring, it’s time for young professionals to be responsible and take the lead in this industry. That’s why Cherise is heavily involved in CSI to ensure that there is a smooth transition between generations. After all, we’re all in this together to learn, grow, and help each other.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode

  • How a part-time job as a receptionist for a construction company naturally encouraged Cherise to want to learn more about the industry.
  • How Cherise’s mentors helped teach her and allowed her to experience may different aspects of the industry in that very same construction company.
  • Her experience with the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI)
  • What is the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) and why it’s so valuable for anyone to take part in the organization?
  • How the CSI and CDT changed Cherise’s career and life for the better.
  • When can you take the CDT certification exam and what does it include?
  • Why it’s such a great idea to take the CDT right after architecture school and before you take the ARE exams.
  • Why different generations need to be working together to help each other become better.
  • Why young architects today need to step up and take responsibility to lead their generation. In return, professionals with experience need to share what they’ve learned with them and not hold back.

Key Takeaways From This Episode with Cherise Lakeside

  • Being a part of the CSI will completely change your career no matter what your position is in the world of architecture and construction. You will have an amazing amount of support and mentorship to help guide your career and people to go to that can answer any of your work problems that may come up.
  • The CDT certification is valuable for anyone of any discipline. You will gain so much knowledge and understanding that will help your career grow.
  • If you want help to understand something new or obtain greater knowledge about your discipline, ask people. Maybe not everyone you ask will be willing to help you, but there will always be someone there who wants to teach you and answer your questions. You may even find that person outside of your office at another firm, networking, or on social media.

Cherise Lakeside’s Advice for Aspiring Architects

“Get outside your box. Other people may perceive architects of having a big ego, but I’ve met a lot of wonderful architects who are great people as well. I think architects can do more to dispel that perception and one way to do that is to get outside your box and meet new people of other professions in your industry.”
Cherise Lakeside

Favorite Quotes 

One of the things that you really need to know is how everybody else on the team works, what the roles and responsibilities of the contracts are, what are architects supposed to do, what are contractors supposed to do, and what is the owner supposed to do? You need to know where to find that information.”
Cherise Lakeside on the value of CSI and CDT.

“The CSI and CDT benefits any discipline because this is a certificate that is not only discipline specific to architects. And if you don’t know how everyone on the project works, you’re making mistakes and creating risks. The CSI and CDT will give you the knowledge you need to do your job well.”
Cherise Lakeside on the importance of getting the CDT certificate.

“You catch more flies with honey than you do with vinegar and I think that’s very important to remember throughout your entire career. If you’re going to be a combative kind of person; you’re not going to go as far as you possible could during your career. You can get done what needs to be done by being collaborative and friendly.”
Cherise Lakeside on how to work with other people in your field.

 “The young professionals really do have the power to change the world right now. They really do hold the reigns and the rest of us need to empower them to do that.”
Cherise Lakeside

Resources Mentioned in the Show


Michael Riscica

Michael Riscica is a Licensed Architect, and the creator of Young Architect, an online platform and community dedicated to helping the next generation of Architects become the most successful generation of Architects. 
Connect: Linkedin / Facebook / Instagram

Hi there!

I’m Michael Riscica, the guy behind Young Architect. I write to help Architecture Students, ARE Candidates and Young Architecture Professionals be more successful at school, work and life!


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