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DBIA's CEO Lisa Washington Remembers - Part 2

Lisa Washington joined DBIA in 2004 and rose to become Executive Director/CEO in 2009. She is a Certified Association Executive (CAE) and has been working tirelessly over the last nine years to grow DBIA into the organization it is today. We sat down with her recently to discuss some of her contributions to the organization. To read Part 1 click here.

What is the biggest difference between DBIA when you started and DBIA today?

Lisa Washington: When I started at DBIA in 2004, much focus was on increasing awareness of design-build as a viable, alternative project delivery method. At the time, there were predictions about where design-build might be in terms of market penetration, but no hard data was readily available. Much time was spent in a “cheerleading” capacity, with DBIA telling success stories related to design-build, including how it can save time, money and increase value. While DBIA is still in the business of telling success stories, the widespread use and acceptance of design-build has allowed us to shift our focus to proper implementation and execution of design-build best practices and techniques. With data showing design-build at nearly 40 percent of all non-residential design and construction in the U.S., this method can hardly continue to be considered “alternative.” Defining “Design-Build Done Right” via a comprehensive set of universal best practices is a high priority for DBIA today and going forward. Although market trend data clearly shows design-build is gaining momentum, this does not guarantee that the delivery method is always executed properly. We think an official best practices document will help eliminate the false idea that design-build is just a “tweaking” of design-bid-build. Nothing could be further from the truth. To help our industry reap the full value of this powerful delivery method, we must take a lead in developing, documenting and distributing not only best practices, but implementation techniques and other tools and resources to support industry. This will be an ongoing effort as, by their nature, best practices must continually evolve.

To what do you attribute DBIA’s success over the years?

Lisa Washington: DBIA’s success over the years is primarily due to the most dedicated and loyal volunteer leaders I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with in my career. This group includes the National Board of Directors, Region leaders and the DBIA Committee Thought Leaders. The organization’s core values are based on the premise that “collective wisdom” is paramount. By the sheer nature of our structure and a membership that spans the entire spectrum of the design and construction industry, we are able to gain and reconcile varying perspectives in a way most membership organizations cannot. Being the “big tent” organization has its challenges, but also provides DBIA with a unique advantage and opportunity to improve the industry as a whole.

Where do you see DBIA in the next five to 10 years?

Lisa Washington: Within the next five years, I would like to see Design-Build Certification rise to the level of a minimum requirement for firms seeking to win design-build proposals. I’d also like to see the number of credentials holders triple and owners asking for certified professionals in project solicitations (in fact, we’re already seeing this). Those holding the DBIA™ Certification should be considered the front line of leaders in design-build done right. 


Previous Two Decades of DBIA . . .