First Decade 1966-1976

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First Decade 1966-1976

The spring of 1966 brought excitement to a number of Design and Construction Professionals in Jackson, Mississippi. Many were aware that problems existed with communications and understanding within the Construction Industry but were not sure how to go about resolving the problems or even how to develop a forum for discussing the problems. Architect Lynton B. Cooper, a non-affiliated CSI member, brought Dempsie B. Morrison, Jr., from Memphis, Tennessee, then a Regional Director of CSI, to Jackson to make a presentation on CSI and what it could do for the professionals of the area. Many heard for the first time what the true relationships should be of the Written Construction Documents and even that there was a 16 Division Format for organizing these documents. It was discovered that Jack W. Carney, Executive Director of the Miss-Lou Brick and Tile Association had been a member of CSI in Atlanta, Georgia, and that Roland Garretson, Technical Representative of the Portland Cement Association, had been a member of CSI in Miami, Florida. Other interested professionals were James G. Chastain, of Biggs, Wier, Neal & Chastain, Architects, and Charles R. Smith, Chief, Specification Writer for Overstreet, Ware, Ware & Lewis, Architects and Engineers. From this early corps of potential members a lot of hard selling and many meetings ensued at trying to develop an interest in forming a CSI Chapter in Mississippi. Some young Architects just undertaking within the past year or so, their own practices of architecture, were Larry L. Bouchillon of Bouchillon and Harris, Architects; Robert V. M. Harrison of Jernigan, Hawkins and Harrison, Architects and Engineer; and Jerry A. Oakes Mitchell and Oakes, Architects. These young Architects along with some senior practicing Architects in Charles H Dean, Jr. of Dean and Pursell, Architects; William R. Henry of William R. "Bob" Henry, Architect; and John M. Mattingly of Mattingly and Associates, Architect, helped to sell the idea of CSI to other Design and Construction Professionals. Others began to express interest, and on December 8, 1966, a Charter was issued to the Mississippi Chapter in Jackson, Mississippi. A past CSI President and Honorary Member, Terrell R. Harper, FCSI, came to Jackson and presented the Charter at the first official meeting of the Mississippi Chapter. The Charter Membership consisted of 22 Professional Members and 11 Industry Members. During the next seven months, which ended the first Fiscal Year 1966-67, other Professional and Industry members joined to provide a well-rounded core of enthusiastic and energetic members.

Gradually during the first decade of the life of the Chapter, the membership grew to approximately 50 members with the usual count of approximately 25 in attendance at each meeting. The first honor to come to the Chapter was at the 1968 Institute Convention in Denver, Colorado. Chapter President Lynton B. Cooper received the Chapter Cup from the Institute for having the fastest growing chapter in CSI. The early years were a struggle for the new chapter, without resources and only the efforts of its members to keep it afloat. Jack Carney served for many years as the Secretary. He operated an office for the Miss-Lou Brick and Tile Association and used his office and copy machine to produce the Chapter Newsletter. Later, T. J. Farish, Product Representative with Master Builders, became the longtime Editor and he also had an office that could be used to help produce the mail outs with his address label machine. In 1968, Robert V. M. Harrison became the Technical Chairman and held that position until 1972. He began an educational and outreach program to serve all members of the Construction Industry in Mississippi. This consisted of SPEC-TIPS, an individual “tid bit” of important information on a specific subject written by members and non-members. Three SPEC-TIPS were issued with each monthly Newsletter. In 1970, 1971 and 1972, an annual publication was issued including all of the SPEC-TIPS for that publishing year. These were distributed to every Architect in the State of Mississippi. For this effort, the Chapter received a Technical Excellence Award from the CSI Region in 1971.

The first decade ended in 1976 with Robert V. M. Harrison as President, Lynton B. Cooper and Jerry A. Oakes as Vice Presidents, Connie Miller as Treasurer and Larry L. Bouchillon as Editor. All were Charter or early members and most had previously served as Chapter President. In 1976, the Chapter received an Institute Award at the National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, for the most improved Newsletter of all Chapters which was accepted by Editor Bouchillon. At the Annual Ladies Night, held in June, to celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Mississippi Chapter, the Chapter held its first Specifications Competition. Also, for the first time, all Past Presidents received a plaque in recognition of their service to the Chapter. This Award continues to this day.

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