BICSI withdraws from STEP Foundation

Feb. 18, 2013
Letter to membership cites differences in the organizations’ visions of sustainability.

In a letter to BICSI membership on February 12, the association’s president Jerry Bowman broke the news that BICSI has withdrawn its involvement in the STEP Foundation. BICSI had become a sustaining member of the STEP Foundation in the fall of 2011. “Becoming a member of STEP was a continuation of BICSI’s effort to leverage the increasing focus on sustainability that we began with the Green Building Technology Alliance, and had the promise of enabling BICSI to add programs, publications and services to our educational and credentialing portfolio,” Bowman’s letter said.

Bowman’s letter described the original STEP Foundation mission as being “to bring sustainability to the process of planning, designing, integration and operating technology systems, as well as to reduce the long-term environmental impact from technology deployment.” Furthermore, a STEP sustainability rating system was in the plans, said Bowman, and “STEP membership would require a manageable start-up investment by BICSI.”

The letter then explained that STEP’s board of directors—which included BICSI’s executive director and chief executive officer John Clark Jr. as well as its past president Brian Hansen—engaged in a months-long set of strategic planning activities. “During this process it has become evident to us that STEP’s direction was changing and the new direction was significantly different from the original STEP concept, not consistent with our BICSI sustainability vision and not in the best interest of our members,” Bowman said. With these differences in vision, BICSI’s board of directors voted during the association’s winter conference in January to withdraw from the foundation. Bowman added, “Early indications are that BICSI’s withdrawal from STEP will not hurt our relationship with InfoComm, TIA, CompTIA and CCCA, and we intend to continue working with them in the future.”

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Activities of BICSI’s STEP Committee have been suspended, Bowman explained to BICSI membership, “until we have a new direction for our sustainability efforts.” Bowman then commended the efforts of Hansen and the STEP Committee, saying they “have worked very hard, and I wanted to express my personal thanks for Brian’s leadership and the exemplary way he has represented BICSI on the STEP board of directors.”

BICSI’s U.S. Western Region Director Larry Gillen has been appointed to head a Sustainability Task Force within BICSI, “with the mission of exploring options that will enable BICSI to continue to provide industry leadership in the sustainability arena,” Bowman noted, adding that he will provide updates to members as the efforts of the Sustainability Task Force take shape.

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