The Early Years
Before BICSI was founded, a small group of people from various telephone companies and from the telecommunications manufacturing segment met once a year to problem-solve and look at better ways to perform their jobs.
One of the early participants, Harry Pfister of General Telephone Company of Florida, thought it would be good for building industry consultants (BICs) to get together to discuss their own concerns. He approached the University of South Florida (USF) in Tampa and, with Larry Romig of the Center for Continuing Education, planned the first Tampa BICs Conference, held in January 1973.
By 1974, educational meetings included BICs, architects, manufacturers and suppliers. Informal talks and activities led to the idea of establishing a professional, nonprofit association. In 1977, BICSI was formed and incorporated as the Building Industry Consulting Service International, Inc.
At the January 1980 conference in Tampa, BICSI’s Executive Committee named Larry Romig as its first Executive Secretary, and USF provided office space for the new association. Membership rose to 132.
Headquarters and Leadership
In September 1991, the BICSI Executive Offices moved from the USF campus into new, independent quarters in Tampa. With the move came a dedicated staff who handled only BICSI concerns. In 1997, BICSI constructed and occupied its own headquarters building. A 25,000-square-foot building expansion was completed in 2000 to accommodate the association’s growth and increasing services.
Today, under the direction of John D. Clark Jr., CAE, as Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer, BICSI employs close to 60 staff members at its headquarters in Tampa, Florida, all committed to serving the needs of BICSI members and nonmembers worldwide, as well as the information and communications technology (ICT) industry as a whole.
Membership has grown dramatically from that small group of people who came together in 1973. BICSI serves nearly 23,000 ICT professionals today. Within North America, there are five U.S. Regions (Northeast, Southeast, North-Central, South-Central and Western), as well as the Canadian Region.
In 1998, BICSI established its first international districts, which are formed when a designated area receives 100 members. These first districts were Australia, Brazil, Europe and Mexico. Additional districts followed: the Caribbean (1999); Japan (2000); Andean and Middle East (2001); and Central America, Southeast Asia, and Hong Kong (2002). The Andean area saw a fluctuation in their member numbers and lost its district status for a time, but in 2010, the area regained its status.
When Europe’s membership surpassed 500 in 1999, it became the first BICSI Region outside of North America, followed by Brazil in 2000. In 2001, Australia/New Zealand became the South Pacific Region. In 2006, BICSI’s global presence continued to increase with a membership representing nearly 90 countries. BICSI also has a Japanese affiliate in Tokyo, Japan and a South Pacific affiliate in Victoria, Australia.
BICSI’s mission of providing excellent educational resources, promoting skills sharing and assessing knowledge with professional registration programs is now recognized worldwide. Educational programs cover telecommunications infrastructure design courses to include data distribution design, outside plant design, low-voltage cabling installation, residential cabling and wireless design.
In 2001, BICSI offered 23 instructor-led programs to more than 4,000 students. Then in 2002, BICSI became a registered provider for the General Services Administration (GSA). With the rapid proliferation of emerging technologies in the 21st century, BICSI continued to lead the industry with the introduction of Web-based training for education in 2003 and the development of a Wireless Design Specialty Program in 2004. Enhancements to online education arrived in 2007 with the interactive learning network BICSI CONNECT. In 2010, BICSI CONNECT offered more than 30 online courses. BICSI’s instructor-led course catalog included 25 courses in 2010, many of which were developed in order to educate individuals working toward earning a BICSI credential.
Established in 1984, the Registered Communications Distribution Designer (RCDD) designation initiated the international recognition of BICSI’s credentialing programs. Subsequent programs have only added to BICSI’s global reputation, including the Network Transport Systems (NTS) Designer (1995), the Outside Plant (OSP) Designer (2001), the Residential Cabling Training and Registration Program (2002), the Wireless Designer (WD) (2004), the Electronic Safety and Security (ESS) Designer (2009) and the Data Centre Design Consultant (DCDC) in 2011.
Since its inception in 1996, the Telecommunications Cabling Installation Program (now the ICT Cabling Installation Program) has registered more than 15,000 Installers and Technicians.
In 1980, the BICSI newsletter was established as a monthly communications outlet for members. It has since then grown from a simple, four-page document to the bimonthly publication BICSI News Magazine.
Other educational offerings include a complete library of BICSI technical publications. The Telecommunications Distribution Methods Manual (TDMM) is now in its 13th edition and is now the accepted design guideline for professionals around the globe. The TDMM is BICSI’s flagship manual and is the cornerstone for he RCDD program.
The Telecommunications Cabling Installation Manual (TCIM) was produced in 1997. With the repositioning from a telecommunications association to a focus on the overall ICT industry, the TCIM was renamed the Information Transport Systems Installation Manual (ITSIM) during its 2004 rewrite and was later renamed the Information Technology Systems Installation Methods Manual (ITSIMM). This manual, which is the backbone for BICSI’s ICT Cabling Installation Program, is now in its 6th edition.
The Customer-Owned Outside Plant (CO-OSP) Design Manual was introduced in 1999. It was updated in early 2007 to reflect changes in that sector of the industry and renamed to the Outside Plant Design Reference Manual (OSPDRM). The OSPDRM, which is used by individuals working their way through the OSP Designer Program, is now in its 5th edition.
Also released in 1999 were the LAN and Internetworking Applications Guide and the BICSI Telecommunications Dictionary (the 3rd edition of which was released in 2006).
BICSI’s Residential Network Cabling Manual was introduced in 2002.
In 2004, BICSI released the Wireless Design Reference Manual (WDRM), which became the manual used as part of the WD Designer Program. A 3rd edition of the WDRM was released in 2008.
In 2006, BICSI released the Electronic Safety and Security Design Reference Manual (ESSDRM), followed by its second edition in 2009. Shortly thereafter, the ESS Designer Program was introduced.
In 2007 BICSI, in partnership with InfoComm International, released the AV Design Reference Manual (AVDRM).
From its inception as the BICSI Standards Committee, the BICSI Standards Program creates standards and guidelines for use in the design, installation and integration of IT and related telecommunications fields. In 1999, BICSI became an ANSI-accredited, consensus-based standards development organisation. In 2001, BICSI, in association with ANSI and NECA, released its first standard, ANSI/NECA/BICSI 568-2001, Standard for Installing Commercial Building Telecommunications Cabling.
Since then, BICSI has also authored numerous standards. The current list of ANSI/BICSI standards includes:
Conferences and Events
Globally, BICSI hosts a variety of annual conferences, currently in XX nations, including the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Europe, Japan, Singapore, Hong Kong, Thailand, the Philippines, India, the Middle East, Africa, Peurto Rico, Columbia and Peru.
These annual events are in addition to other local meetings around the world, that include Region Meetings, seminars, ‘Breakfast Clubs’, ‘Pub Clubs’, ‘B-Nets’ and ‘Lunch-n-Learns’. These combined events offer ICT professionals the ability to advance their careers through continuing education programs, state-of-the-art exhibitions, professional development and networking opportunities.