Spotlight on Sharpening your Ax – AIA / CES Continuing Education

Recently I have found myself giving more presentations and trainings about the key points in firestopping. Yesterday I received an email after one of my presentations that I had given at an architectural firm which read, “Thank you for the nice presentation yesterday. Everybody was very interested in the topic, it was one of the best presentations we’ve ever had.”


Obviously it made me feel very good to hear such a compliment from someone who has been an architect their entire professional career. However, it was also a testament to the training and hard work that I have put in over the past 6 years at Toastmasters, where I have been empowered to become a more effective communicator and leader.

My company, Specified Technologies Inc., is a registered AIA/CES passport provider, where architects can earn AIA Learning Units (LUs) by attending our presentations.

The AIA recognizes that continuing education in architecture is crucial to advancing and improving the profession. Architects need continuing education to maintain competency, to prepare for the future, to fulfill the continuing education requirements for AIA membership, and frequently to renew state licensure.

World renowned author Stephen Covey also recognizes how important this concept of sharpening the saw (or ax) is in his book, The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Essentially he says that you increase your capacity to produce and handle the challenges around you by doing so. Without this renewal, the body becomes weak, the mind mechanical, the emotions raw, the spirit insensitive, and the person selfish.

The importance of staying sharp is illustrated quite nicely in the following story…

Once upon a time there were two lumberjacks who decided to have a contest chopping wood. The first man who was in his early 20’s was in great physical shape and very muscular. The second man who was pushing 40, was in decent shape, but was much smaller in statute and wiry. They would chop wood all day and at the end of the day compare to see who had chopped the most wood. 

lumberjack-treeThe first man laughed to himself that there was no way this wiry little man would beat him and so they began the contest.  Every 45 minutes the second smaller man would take a break and seemed to just wonder off somewhere.  The first man laughed repeatedly to himself saying “Yep there’s no way this wiry little man is going to beat me.” This happened several times during the day. 

At the end of the day the two men compared their piles of chopped wood and unbelievably enough, the wiry older man has chopped twice as much wood as the more physically fit, younger man. He said “I don’t understand.  I’m younger, in better shape, I’m twice your size and twice your strength! On top of that every 45 minutes or so I heard you stop chopping to take a break, what were napping or something? You must have cheated!”

The older, smaller, yet wiser man said “I don’t ever cheat. It was easy to beat you because every 45 minutes when you thought I was taking a break, I was actually out back resting and sharpening my ax. Why didn’t you stop to take a break and sharpen your ax?” The younger man, looking sheepish at this point could only reply, “Because I was too busy chopping wood.”

Our lives are very much like that. Sometimes we get so busy that we don’t take time to “sharpen the ax.” In today’s world, it seems that everyone is busier than ever, but less happy than ever. Why is that? Could it be that we have forgotten how to stay sharp?

If you have read this far, you clearly understand the importance of staying sharp and so I would like to offer to help you in any way I can. At STI, we offer all types of training for every different trade (general contractors, mechanical, electrical, plumbers, drywaller, masons, curtain wall contractors, etc.) along with the following AIA certified training courses:

1 LU – Key Points in Firestopping (FS070), LEED and Firestop Products (LFSP01), Firestop Overview (FS0906)

2 LUs – Curtainwall Basics (CW101), Through Penetration Firestopping (WB599), Managing Firestop Compliance (FSC411),

3 LUs – Firestop Instructional Training – Level 1 (FL1)

15 LUs – Firestop Instructional Training – Level 2 (FL2)


About zalepka

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