Behind the Scenes With the ConstructConnect Team Members Planning #AECCaresProjectDC


In less than two weeks, about 100 members of the architecture, engineering, and construction community (AEC) will gather on Wednesday, June 5, for an annual day of service through AEC Cares, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization of which ConstructConnect is a founding member and primary organizer. But what goes on behind the scenes leading up to this event?

This effort may happen in a one-day “blitz build,” but it is made possible by a year of work from the ConstructConnect team members who volunteer as part of the AEC Cares Project Committee. These team members identify nonprofit groups to benefit from AEC Cares services, coordinate with project sponsors, work with product donors, coordinate plans from our pro bono design teams, and help raise awareness about this project. On the day of the event, they tackle everything from trash clean-up, to volunteer check-in, to painting crews. Their efforts reflect not just a commitment to ConstructConnect’s mission, but a passion for helping others.

Reflecting that passion, we asked members of the AEC Cares Project Committee to share their thoughts on their work with AEC Cares – and, in particular, this year’s #AECCaresProjectDC benefitting Sasha Bruce Youthwork’s Residential Empowerment Adolescent Community Home (REACH) in Washington, D.C. Keep reading for a look behind the scenes in their own words.

To  volunteer for this year’s event, sign up here; or to donate to AEC Cares to help fund #AECCaresProjectDC and similar projects, click here.

How many years have you participated in AEC Cares and what is your most memorable experience?

“AEC Cares began 2011, in the years following Hurricane Katrina. We were down in New Orleans and partnered with a nonprofit called Catholic Charities renovating homes in the Lower Ninth Ward. You could still see the water lines inches from the ceilings in these homes five years later. I was underneath one home installing a vapor barrier in the June heat and I just remember so much gratitude from the homeowner – and others in the community. And that’s what we focus on: delivering results for a community in need of assistance.” – Jennifer Johnson, President of the AEC Cares Board of Directors and ConstructConnect Chief Product Officer

“I started helping with the planning of AEC Cares in 2013. However, 2016 was my first year actively participating in the day of service. That day, upon boarding the buses to return to our hotels after completing the renovation of a local youth center, two young boys boarded our bus and began hugging and thanking every volunteer that had transformed their space. That’s when I got hooked. Those kids were incredibly thankful and beaming with pride.” – Derek Guffey, AEC Cares Board Member and ConstructConnect Vice President, Sales

“This is my second year volunteering. My most memorable experience to date was last year, when one of the delivery drivers arriving at our project site in San Francisco revealed he had formerly lived in the facility we were remodeling. He was so excited about the project and what it would mean to the residents that he ended up getting a tour and leaving with such gratitude. It felt like a full circle moment seeing how our benefitting organizations have a life-long connection and impact on the lives of their residents.” – Blaise Bornhorst, AEC Cares Project Committee Member and Construct Connect Sr. Manager of Engagement

What makes participating in an AEC Cares Day of Service so unique?

For me, every AEC Cares project is all about the immediate transformation. It’s taking an idea and allowing it to manifest into a built form that immediately impacts lives. It’s an instant reward for the soul, and I just love it.” Derek Guffey, AEC Cares Board Member and ConstructConnect Vice President, Sales 

“Having an opportunity to make a difference and give back! I have been blessed at ConstructConnect and I want to try to pay it forward whenever possible.”  John Royster, AEC Cares Project Committee Member and ConstructConnect Vice President, Customer Support & Operation

“In years past, I’ve been a team lead, ran registration, and even been on trash duty. This year, I’ll lead a team and take ownership of transforming a space into a fabulous, comfortable space worthy of the strong residents that reside within. I also do my best to bring energy and positivity to the day of service. You can find me hyping up the volunteer crew with high fives!” Kelsey Erhart, AEC Cares Project Committee Member and ConstructConnect Sr. Customer Success Manager

How does your involvement in AEC Cares align with your broader work for ConstructConnect or your professional background?

“I began my career practicing architecture. I also have a strong background in project management. That combination, along with the connectivity I have between building product manufacturers and the AEC community, make this project perfectly aligned with my skillset.” – Derek Guffey, AEC Cares Board Member and ConstructConnect Vice President, Sales 

“Participation in AEC Cares offers a rare opportunity to invest in the broader community while drawing on my skills as an architect and project manager – I’m even designing a few project elements myself this year! Our team at ConstructConnect is uniquely positioned to deliver this day of service thanks to the breadth of our industry network. As a first-year member of the project team, I particularly appreciate the opportunity to collaborate with other likeminded design and construction professionals with the goal of delivering a more homelike and functional space for the young residents at REACH.”  – Lalitha Bommanahal, AEC Cares Project Committee Design Lead and Sr. Director, Building Product Manufacturer

“I like that I get to connect with local non-profit program leaders who serve their communities in such a hands-on way — seeing ha glimpse into their operations and how design could improve them is such an honor.  The actual day of service also takes me back to my film production days in that you may start with a plan, but you never know what’s going to happen – which is fun for me.”  – Blaise Bornhorst, AEC Cares Project Committee Member and ConstructConnect Sr. Manager of Engagement 

What excites you most about #AECCaresProjectDC?

“Every year, we see a complete transformation thanks to the approximately 100 people who give up their Wednesday to spend time with colleagues, meet some new people, and invest in others. I know that this year’s project at Sasha Bruce Youthwork will be no different and I can’t wait to see the end results and the impact they will have for residents at REACH.” Jennifer Johnson, President of the AEC Cares Board of Directors and ConstructConnect Chief Product Officer 

“The scope of this year’s project is particularly ambitious, in that we are creating new functional spaces within REACH, such as a gym for the residents, to make it feel far more like a home. We have spent months preparing for what is a one-day blitz project, but the immediate results will transpire right before our eyes. It’s a beautiful combination of long-term planning and immediate community impact.” – Lalitha Bommanahal, AEC Cares Project Committee Member and ConstructConnect Sr. Director, Building Product Manufacturers

“The donations and sponsorships we’ve received will fully transform Sasha Bruce Youthwork’s REACH property into a more homelike environment, adding a game room and greenery throughout the space. I’m so excited to see the transformation made possible by our gracious sponsors!” Kelsey Erhart, AEC Cares Project Committee Member and ConstructConnect Sr. Customer Success Manager

ClosePlease login

Read the original article here


Login expired, please login and try again later.