In 2011, a group of consulting estimators in private practice who had been conversing and sharing information in a LinkedIn forum decided to meet in person to explore the idea of a real life trade association dedicated to serving the needs of the consulting estimator. In April of that year, Bill Manfredonia, CPE, Daniel Frondorf, CPE, and former ASPE (American Society of Professional Estimators) Executive Director Edward Walsh, met for two days in Fishkill, NY to lay the groundwork for this new association.
Consulting Estimator Round Table was born that weekend.
A website was developed and the presence on LinkedIn was stepped up. Monthly conference calls, moderated by different members each month, were conducted with estimating business related topics the subject of each call. Each call topic has also been the focus of in depth discussions on LinkedIn and on the CERT website. In July of that same year, several ASPE members met informally while at the ASPE national convention in Nashville, TN to discuss the development of the CERT group. Later that year, in October, another informal conference was held in Chicago, IL that coincided with the ASPE Central Plains Fall regional meeting.
That meeting was attended by several ASPE and CERT members as well, and momentum continued to build. Membership increased as the word got out in the consultant community, the monthly conference calls continued and got better and longer, and a “best practices” manual was started to be developed with the contributions of numerous members. In August 2012, the first official national CERT conference was held in Columbus, OH with 12 members attending.
There, national elections were conducted, a more formal organizational structure was adopted, and a validation process was created to allow for the recognition of firms whose business practices are peer reviewed for providing excellent client service. Subsequent national conferences during 2013-2014 in Philadelphia, PA, Scottsdale, AZ, and Indianapolis, IN were held.
At each of these meetings, estimators in private practice shared ideas, experiences, and concepts that could assist each other’s practices, as well as making plans to develop the CERT into a more organized and recognized professional trade association. In April 2014, the first edition of the CERT Best Practices Manual was published, and a live seminar based on this publication was presented to the ASPE 2014 national estimating academy, further establishing CERT as an important trade association within the AEC community.
"One Great Package"
I joined CERT in 2013 before starting my own estimating and consulting business hoping for some direction and guidance but the amount of knowledge that I received is priceless, this group consist of some of the most professional consultants in the business. From the CERT Best Practices conference calls to the articles in DCD and ASPE ET and the quality of content at the CERT Summer and Winter meetings this is one great package wrapped into one group. If you are a business owner or thinking about starting your own business this is the group for you.
"Assistance in Projects"
I have been a member of CERT for 4 years now and this association has been extremely beneficial in growing my business by having a great resource of fellow independent estimators to assist me in projects. The knowledge of my fellow CERT members is also a big benefit when I join in on our monthly conference calls and hear how they are effectively running their business.
CERT provides opportunities that are not available anywhere else to the independent estimator; the shared ideas and resources are invaluable to my practice, and the brainpower to which the CERT provides access is the icing on the cake.”
"Gaining and Acting"
Our initial association with CERT was one of curiosity and inquisitiveness. Quickly gaining and acting on the experiences of others is the difference between being successful and being a government statistic.
"Surpassed My Wildest Dreams"
As one of the four founding fathers of CERT , this organization has surpassed my wildest dreams as to where CERT would eventually The members of this esteem organization have knowledge and experience yet to be tapped that you will not find in any text book
"Common Problems and Solutions"
This is the only place I am able to work with companies doing the same thing I am doing. We have a chance to discuss common problems and solutions. It is an educational as well as a professional association. In addition, it allows members to work with other members and be comfortable that they are working with professionals that share the same ethical standards
"Get Your Name Out"
I joined the Construction Estimators Round Table for one reason: To enhance our estimating income. It was 2009 and times were slow. CERT provided ideas on marketing, charging fees, insurance needs. Now economic times are much better, but I would not relinquish my CERT membership because of that, because I owe a lot of our corporate success to CERT. Work with the opportunities CERT provides to get your name out there and the dues come back many fold.
Vice President, CERT