ACEC 2017 Annual Conference

Concurrent Educational Sessions


Monday, April 16


Letting PMs Be PMs: How Your Firm Can Fully Embrace and Support Project Managers

Moderator: John Mathew, BST Global; John Buchheit, Gannett Fleming; Jim Jacobi, Walter P Moore; Steve Dill, KPFF Consulting Engineering

Successful A/E/C companies often turn to Project Managers to improve delivery, productivity, and ultimately, profitability. Empower your PMs to handle all aspects of the project, and provide effective support via training and development, process evolution, and digital tools.


What Does the New Tax Law Mean for You?      

Mike Giles and Jordan Adams, Crowe Horwath LLP; Katharine Mottley, ACEC                 

The passing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”), means lower tax rates for C corporations, new individual rates, and a new tax deduction for certain passthrough firms. Other high-impact changes, such as the elimination of the Section 199 deduction, limits on the state and local tax deduction, and changes to the alternative minimum tax, will be discussed.


Big-Picture Industry Trends and Implications for Firm Strategy

Nick Belitz, Morrissey Goodale LLC

Q1-2018 is done – what’s next? Examine the next top industry trends and potential opportunities and threats to your firm's decisions and future development.


Avoid P3s at Your Own Risk

Charles Renner, Husch Blackwell; Michael Collins, JE Dunn Construction

Avoiding public-private partnership (P3) projects or jumping in without understanding their inherent risks can hurt your firm’s bottom line. Learn how to identify, evaluate and mitigate P3 risks and risk exposure – particularly in project finance–that could impact your position within the
overall project.


Federal Market Opportunities - DOD Priorities and Funding

Moderator: Stacey Shepard, Jacobs; George O. Lea, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Col. Scott Matthews, AFCEC; Col. A. Che Bolden, U.S. Marine Corps

With the recent release of the Administration’s FY'19 budget and an FY’18 Omnibus looming, this is a critical panel to hear directly from the Service representatives. Leadership from the Army, Air Force, and Marine Corps will provide overviews on potential programmatic impact to Facilities and Infrastructure.


11:15 am-12:30pm

The Great Lie about Going Paperless      

James Marshall, Gannett Fleming; Ted Buscaglia, ARC Document Solutions; Markus Weidner, Pennoni Associates, Inc.

Printing and printers are still a leading expense for IT and project teams. Learn how to avoid the paperless office myth and implement best practices to reduce 30-70 percent of your print volume.


Is My Current Ownership Structure Sustainable? 

Tim Cleary, Chartwell Financial Advisory

Every company’s ownership structure goes through life cycles. For some, that includes evolving from a sole proprietor, to broad-based ownership, or to an ESOP. Regardless, each ownership structure has advantages and disadvantages, and while one structure may make sense for where you are today, will it still make sense five or ten years from now?


Diversity & Inclusion Starts at the Top

Doug McKeown, Woodard & Curran; Gayle Roberts, Stanley Consultants; Lisa Robert, RS&H

Building greater diversity and inclusivity into A/E/C firms is critical to today’s business success and must be led from the top. Hear from three leaders on different approaches and lessons learned in building strong D&I cultures.             


Getting More Work from Your Existing Clients

June Jewell, AEC Business Solutions

It is six times harder and more expensive to find a new client than to get work from an existing client, and 80 percent of profits will come from 20 percent of clients. Explore the value of using a client retention plan to improve your client services and relationships and gain a competitive edge. 


Federal Market Opportunities - Civilian Agencies Priorities and Funding

Moderator: Philios Angelides, Alpha Corporation; David Insinga, GSA; Capt. John Healy, U.S. Coast Guard; Jason Arnold, OBO

With the upcoming infrastructure bill and increased spending in the FY’18 and FY’19 Omnibus, civilian agencies will outline their newly expanded opportunities. Leadership from GSA, U.S. Coast Guard, the Veterans Administration and the U.S. Department of State will provide overviews on short-and long-term planning.


NAECE Educational Session: Prove it! Strategies and Tactics for Communicating ROI

Sheri Jacobs, Avenue M

On average, one out of four members will join and renew their membership because they believe in the mission and they wish to support the organization. The other three are at risk for leaving if they don't see enough value in exchange for the cost of dues. This session will cover the strategies and tactics needed to communicate how membership in ACEC will help members be more competitive and profitable.



Addressing New Technological Threats & Opportunities for Engineering Practice

Yvonne Castillo & Frank Musica, Victor O. Schinnerer & Company, Inc.

Examine the latest contractual and common law issues affecting the practice of “new technology” engineering, and emerging technology trends that may transform practice in the near and not-too-distant future.


M&A Trends and Their Impact on Engineering Firms

Nick Belitz, Morrissey Goodale; Wally Brockhoff, Lathrop and Gage

The M&A market is hot. So hot in fact, that private equity has an interest in A/E firms. Hear the latest on market trends, including pricing, and how consolidation is impacting the industry.


Jump Start Your Growth Strategically

Kevin McMahon & Bill Siegel, McMahon|Siegel Group

Develop a more strategic prism to evaluate your overall client portfolio and growth objectives, including when to use key hires or group hires and when to consider strategic M&A to achieve above average growth with a greater ROI.


Natural Disaster Resiliency: Planning, Investment, Recovery

Paul Grosser, P.W. Grosser Consulting; Laurie Schoeman, Enterprise Community Partners, Inc. ; Edward Belk, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; Stanley Gimont, Department of Housing and Urban Development; John Stanton, Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure

Explore the changing roles of federal, state, and local governments to address natural disaster planning, investment, and plan execution for delivery of water supply/treatment and electric utility services. Hear how communities, HUD, FEMA and the Army Corps are looking ahead based on past experiences with Hurricanes Katrina, Sandy, Harvey, Irma, and Maria.


International Opportunities: The Risk/Reward of Using Blockchain and Bitcoin in International Development

Nick Martin, TechChange

Cut through the blockchain technology hype to understand the transformative potential of this technology on everything from remittances to supply chain management, smart contracts, land titling, as well as the constraints - policy and regulatory frameworks, validation models, security concerns, limitations of access/digital literacy - facing this nascent movement.


NAECE Educational Session: Future Focused Membership Strategy

Lowell Aplebaum, Vista Cova

The decision to remain a member comes down to more than the quality
of the product or program purchased - it is about the experience that
surrounds the interaction. The value opportunities you create for your
members should be expressed not as a list on a brochure, but as targeted
solutions that can help them. This session will challenge you to think about
new approaches to create an experience that will deepen the connection
with (and increase the retention rate of) your members.



A/E/C Past, Present, Future Through the Eyes of Technology Innovators

Moderator: Bob Tuttle, Agile Frameworks; Marcus Weidner, Pennoni        

Explore how technology advancements in other industries have affected the engineering industry and how current venture capital investment in construction technology is fueling industry disruption.


CFO Roundtable

Panelists: Chris Nelson, McKim & Creed; Chris Staloch, Chartwell Financial Advisory

Leading A/E CFOs share perspectives as they review opportunities and challenges facing today’s industry.


Lessons Learned from Rare Storm Events

Brian Wagner, Carroll Land Services, Inc.                

Hurricanes, flash floods, and other extreme weather events are highlighting the vulnerabilities of current infrastructure. Explore how better design can reduce damage and increase safety and effectiveness.       


Achieve Better, More Efficient Decisions Through Collaborative Decision-Making

Chris McGoff, The Clearing, Inc.

Have the right conversations with the right people at the right time. Learn the tools and techniques of collaborative decision-making to help you to address evolving marketplace needs.


Tuesday, April 17


Threats from Within - Managing User-based Security Concerns

Moderator: Adam Farhoud, ms consultants, inc.; Steve Ross, exp US Services.; Markus Weidner, Pennoni; Eric Quinn, C&S Companies; Jim Lofft, KCI Technologies, Inc.

Firms face the increasing problem of too many ancillary tools crowding systems. How do we rein it in? What guides our choices? Which should we keep?



Improving Profitability Through Business Intelligence

Shafat Qazi, BQE Software, Inc.

Examine how trends in technology, artificial intelligence, and automation are changing engineering business operations. Identify Key Performance Indicators and best-fit technologies for your firm.


Advanced ESOP Topics  

Ryan Graham, Chartwell Financial Advisory; Bob Grossman, Lathrop & Gage

Take a deeper look at the elements critical for successful ESOP creation and implementation, including corporate governance, M&A challenges and repurchase obligations.


How to Achieve Better Win Rates

Chuck Roberts, Performance Management Group, Inc.

Differentiating your firm will earn you higher win rates, along with greater sales, revenue and profitability. Learn how to tie results to your brand, target the right markets, avoid common missteps, and successfully communicate the valuable differences your firm brand offers.


Top Ten Professional Liability Risks Keeping Engineers (and their Lawyers, Insurers and Risk Managers) Up at Night

Eric L. Singer, Ice Miller LLP; Karen Erger, Lockton Companies, Inc.              

Identify the top liability risks firms typically face and how best to put those risks to bed – and mitigate them so you, too, can get some rest!


The New Role of the AIA’s BIM and Digital Practice Documents

Jeremy Baker, Schiff Hardin

The AIA’s Digital Practice Documents – E203-2013 (BIM and Digital Data Exhibit), G201-2013 (Project Digital Data Protocol Form), and G202- 2013 (Project BIM Protocol Form) – seek to manage risks in the use, transmission, and reliance upon digital data. AIA’s new 2017 Contract
Documents – including the C401-2017 Architect-Consultant Agreement and the B101-2017 Owner-Architect Agreement – expressly require use of the Digital Practice Documents.



Political & Economic Fallout of the New Tax Law

Rick Lazio, alliantgroup

Former New York Congressman Rick Lazio examines the political and economic impact of tax reform on engineering companies.


Selling Services in the Digital Age

Doug Reed, Foster Growth

Learn effective approaches, skills, and performance metrics in a technology-driven, digital sales process to help your firm thrive.      


Reining in System Sprawl – The Double-Edged Sword of Specialized Tools

Andres Rodriguez, Nasuni; Mike Anders, Agile Frameworks; Laura McGovern, Alfred Benesch & Company; Andy Knauf, Mead & Hunt

While some insiders seek to compromise sensitive corporate data for monetary gain or out of spite, others do so accidentally due to negligence or lack of awareness. No matter the size or the scope of a breach, usually it's caused by an action, or failure, of someone inside the company.



Winning the War for Talent - Opportunities for Employer Branding in the Engineering Community

Karl Feldman, Hinge

Employer branding for talent recruitment is currently being used by half of the top 10 engineering firms. Review the findings of a recent study and its recommended guidelines on using employer branding to address and resolve your own recruitment challenges.


New Tax Law Impacts on Firm Valuation

Joe Skorczewski, Chartwell Financial Advisory

The top tax bracket for C corps has decreased from 35 percent to 21 percent, a decrease of 40 percent...the value of my company must have increased by that much as well! Of course, it’s not quite that simple. We will discuss the knowns and unknowns of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“TCJA”) and the nuances of valuing a company in the current tax environment.


CIO Roundtable

Moderator: Markus Weidner, Pennoni

In-depth discussion sharing best practices addressing the critical challenges and rapidly changing needs of a globally integrated industry.


Wednesday, April 18


Driverless Cars: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Sam Schwartz, Sam Schwartz Engineering

Driverless vehicles represent the most disruptive transportation technology since the advent of the car. With AVs projected to be an estimated $7 trillion industry by mid-century, engineering firms need to prepare now to leverage the innovations promised by AVs.


Project Pitfalls: How to See Them and How to Mitigate Them

Jon Lebo, Sheridan Development & Consulting

Explore scope, schedule, and budget challenges before they affect the project outcome, including using appropriate procurement methodology, creating effective teams, handling change orders and regulatory issues, and defining/managing project goals and expectations.                      

1015 15th Street, 8th Floor NW, Washington DC 20005-2605 - P: 202.347.7474 - F: 202.898.0068 - E-mail: