My Kind of Town- Chicago!

  • Keynote speakers: Studs Terkel, Willard Scott

  • Preconvention tours: Underwriters Laboratory, "Chicago Architecture Seen From the Chicago River"

  • Hotel (double occupancy): Chicago Marriott, $113, Hyatt Regency, $110, McCormick Center, $106; Lenox Suites, $109.

  • Interesting programs: Editing On-Screen, Integration of CAD Drawings and Specifications; CSI Format for Mechanical and Electrical Specifications

  • Travel, from Minneapolis: $75, motor coach direct to hotel, refreshments included.

The year was 1990. The president of the host chapter was Gary Betts, who will soon assume the office of Institute President. The Institute president at that time was S. Steve Blumenthal.


A brochure produced by the Chicago chapter offered some interesting statistics about CSI conventions. According to the brochure, the third national CSI convention was held in Chicago in 1959; there were 100 exhibit booths.

In 1970, Chicago again hosted the annual convention, this time with 256 exhibit booths.

In 1990, the convention returned to Chicago. For the first time, the number of exhibit booths exceeded 1,000 exhibit booths, and a new attendance record was set - 10,650 - that stands to this day.

I had been a CSI member for three years, but this was my first trip to the annual convention. The Minneapolis-St. Paul chapter set up a package deal including both lodging and transportation, and we sent a busload of delegates. What a blast!

The show was shorter then, only three days, running from Friday, 29 June through Sunday, 1 July. Even so, I had a hard time deciding which program to attend at any given time. McCormack Place was unbelievable! I started off stuffing my shoulder bag full of literature; by the time I got to the end of the first aisle, the bags were bursting, and I could hardly drag them around the corner. Fortunately, someone told me that the manufacturers would send information by mail.

This was my first encounter with convention mixers and hospitality suites, and it was also the first time I had seen some of our more esteemed members - and their spouses - in a non-business setting. Now that's entertainment! Although I had known many of our members who went to Chicago that year, the convention solidified many relationships that remain today.

Sherwin-Williams dessert party invitations included a metal pin!

CSI's annual convention is always a great place to find out what's new in construction products, to learn from experts, and, just as important, to renew old friendships and find out how other members are trying to solve the same problems we face every day.

It's not too late - cheap fares to Chicago are almost always available, and you can even find reasonable hotel rates if you look.

2003 Sheldon Wolfe, RA, FCSI, CCS, CCCA

Web site design and content Copyright  1995-2004 Sheldon Wolfe

Material from CSI Chapter newsletters used with permission.