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DBIA Milestone: 1993, The Founding of DBIA

Twenty years ago, Preston Haskell, founder and chairman of The Haskell Company, invited industry professionals to Washington, D.C., to discuss the need for a new organization specifically dedicated to design-build. Haskell described the group as having “an almost missionary zeal about the merits of design-build delivery.” Haskell could barely imagine at the time how the Design-Build Institute of America would grow over the next two decades to become the premier organization teaching and promoting design-build best practices.

Haskell and Jim Gray of Gray Construction had looked into creating practice groups devoted to design-build within the American Institute of Architects and Associated General Contractors, but eventually concluded that an independent organization was needed. At the initial meeting, they appointed a five-person steering committee that included Kraig C. Kreikemeyer of Sverdrup Facilities, Inc., Rik Kunnath of Charles Pankow Builders Ltd., Don Warren of Suitt Construction, Jim Gray and Preston Haskell.

The organizational structure was finalized by late spring of 1993 and the steering committee began soliciting membership interest. They also discovered a 1992 paper on Design-Build in the Federal Sector written for the American Society of Civil Engineers. Haskell reached out to the author, Jeff Beard, and his knowledge and enthusiasm impressed the entire committee. He was asked to be the first Executive Director and oversaw the formal launch of DBIA in October of 1993.

Beard and his assistant, Lisa-Marie Castaldi, comprised the entire DBIA staff in its first year and they worked tirelessly to grow the organization. Today, diligent DBIA members, staff and board members continue to propel DBIA into the future as we expand course offerings, grow membership, pass additional design-build laws and provide greater and better resources for the design-build industry.


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