ACEC 2018 Fall Conference

Educational Sessions

Monday, October 29

10:45 am-12 pm

Enabling Digital Project Management

John Mathew, BST Global

To increase operating margins, firms often look to their Project Managers to improve delivery, productivity, and ultimately, profitability. But this requires a variety of support, including digital project management. Join this panel of engineering leaders to explore how you can create an effective digital workplace in your firm.


Impact of the New Tax Law

Moderator: Katharine Mottley, ACEC; Mike Giles, Growe LLP; Jordan Adams, Crowe LLP

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act created a new 20 percent tax deduction for
pass-through firms, including S corps, partnerships, and sole
proprietorships. Take closer look at how the new U.S.
Treasury Dept’s proposed rules will apply to your firm.


Colorado River Drought Resiliency Planning and Investment

Moderator: Sarah Porter, ASU Morrison Institute for Public Policy; Jeff Kightlinger, Southern California Metropolitan Water District; Keith Moses, Colorado River Indian Tribes; Wade Noble, Agribusiness & Water Council of Arizona; Jennifer Pitt, Audubon; Terry Fulp, Bureau of Reclamation

Explore changing relationships of federal/regional/state/local authorities and stakeholders to address Colorado River Basin planning and investment in energy and water delivery under prolonged drought. Topics include basin management and stakeholder collaboration, as well as project performance: municipal, agricultural, habitat, and storage.


Impact of Millennials, Technology, and Modern Firm Culture on the Role of the Engineering Industry

Michael A. Heinsdorf, Avitru

Learn how to recognize, embrace and employ the different personas, practices, and technologies that can help deliver successful and profitable projects, including the increasing use of BIM and other design tools and millennial engineers who live and breathe technology.


Understanding Professional Liability Insurance

Brandon Perry, Victor O. Schinnerer & Company; James Lee, Jr., Lee/Shoemaker, LLC

Where does professional liability fits within a firm’s overall risk management program? Understand how coverage is triggered, techniques for evaluating a policy, and the interplay between professional liability coverage and other common contractual provisions.


2 pm-3:15 pm

Time to Change the Workflows for More Profitable Site Projects

David Settlemyer, Bentley Systems, Inc.

Learn how using intelligent modeling will help your design teams deliver better projects in less time by using parametric design, analysis and rendering workflows.  


How Private Equity is Remaking the Engineering Industry

Nick Belitz, Morrissey Goodale LLC; Dan Kaczmarek, Chartwell Finacial Advisory; Scott Gwilliam, Keystone

Private equity firm interest in the engineering industry is at an all-time high, with PE firms investing in large and small firms across the revenue spectrum. Take a closer look at what’s driving the uptick in PE firm deal-making, the goals of a typical PE firm in a transaction, and the critical points that make a PE deal different from other types of M&A deals.


The Upside to Climate Change: New Strategic Markets for Infrastructure Design Modification

Paul Chinowsky, University of Colorado

Climate-related damages to U.S. infrastructure could top $15 billion by 2050, which means substantial opportunities for engineering firms as governments identify steps to modify infrastructure design. Review the research and findings, including the sectors and regions most at risk, as the starting point to leveraging and uncovering opportunities.


Growing Your Small Firm

Kevin McMahon & William Siegel, McMahon|Siegel Group

For a small firm, growth is often hard to achieve. Learn how to analyze your client portfolio for growth opportunities and to employ proven techniques to increase your talent level, leveraging your small firm culture while transitioning to becoming a larger firm and avoiding common mistakes that inhibit growth.


Professional Liability Claims – From Inception to Resolution

Charlie Geer, Greyling Insurance Brokerage

Don’t be caught off-guard! Learn what to expect - and do - to proactively manage the professional liability claim process and realize a successful outcome.


NAECE Session: 10 Ways to LOSE Members

Andrea Pellegrino, Maia Marketing Group, LLC

This interactive session will explore 10 common association practices that may be alienating your members. Understand how your association’s “tried and true” messaging, processes, or attitudes may actually be driving members away! Learn to create renewal and engagement communications that are more user-friendly, member-focused, and effective in attracting and keeping members.


3:45 pm-5 pm

Comprehensive Innovation Programs for the Firm of the Future

Moderator: Mike Anders, Agile Frameworks; Jeff Gebhard, Braun Intertec Corp.; Mimi Irvin, Fluor Corp.; Markus Weidner, Pennoni; Jason Hoskins, Ulteig

Explore how innovation has moved the construction industry forward.  Speakers will detail the challenges associated with developing a successful and sustainable innovation program for the future.


The Capital Allocation Dilemma (Part 1)

Chris Staloch & Tim Cleary, Chartwell Financial Advisory

Learn from a case study that illustrates the web of capital claims that AE firms wrestle with as part of ownership transition, compensation, repurchase obligation, and asset allocation.


Great by Choice: How a Firm Can Avoid Extinction

Rod Hoffman, S&H Consulting, Inc.

Research using 40 years of ENR data shows how firms have changed and/or thrived and reveals a significant mortality rate for mega-firms. Examine why firms die, survive or thrive.


Finding Your A-Team for Every Project

Ryan Suydam, Client Savvy; Chandra Storrusten, Visible Value; Tim Schroeder & Sally Obernolte, Neumann Monson Architects

In 2008 when layoffs were the norm, you kept your most productive talent. Today, clients expect the “A-Team” on every project, but with full pipelines and a talent war in full swing, no firm can propose on a project with only highly recognizable “A” players. Learn to position, develop, and support all members of your staff as high-performers and keep clients satisfied.


From Scope Creep to Profitability: Managing Change, Risk, and Client Expectations

Andrew D. Mendelson, Berkley Design Professional

Change may be inevitable, but scope creep - expansion of services without a corresponding increase in professional fees or recognition of additional risk - is not. Take a look at the change triggers and how to manage the process to prevent claims, maintain your client relationships, and stay profitable.


NAECE Session: Four Steps for Growing, Engaging, and Retaining Your Association Membership

Jan Spence, Jan Spence & Associates

Research finds that 49 percent of association members don’t renew because of a lack of engagement. Explore a 4-step process to grow and stay connected with your members and gain concrete tools to stay visible and engage with prospects in a relevant, meaningful way. 


Tuesday, October 30

10:30 am-11:45 am

Leveraging Field and Sensor Data to Drive Your Company's Newest Revenue System

Bob Tuttle, Agile Frameworks; Todd Williams, Dillon Kane Group

Your data - the data your firm produces, collects, and analyzes - is your firm’s unique identifier. The most valuable organizations use data to drive innovation, client value, and operational predictability. Explore how harnessing your data and putting it to work creates new value for clients and your firm by driving innovation, operational excellence, and revenue.


The Capital Allocation Dilemma (Part 2)

Bob Grossman, Lathrop Gage; Rich Chapman, Chartwell Financial Advisory

The instructive Case Study continues with potential solutions, including asset allocation strategies, deferred compensation, and alternative ownership structures (ESOP, LLC, etc.)


Design/Build and Consulting Engineer Risk: The Better Path Forward

Moderator: David J. Hatem, Donovan Hatem, LLP; Robert Rogers, AIG; Charles Craycraft, Lochner; James Donohue, HDR; Brendan O'Rourke, TetraTech

Join this panel discussion on the principal risk-drivers and risk management considerations for consulting engineers engaged as sub-consultants on design/build infrastructure projects.


Getting Your Employees to Think (and Act) Like Owners

June Jewell, AEC Business Solutions

Firms that teach their staff to think like owners have a clear competitive advantage and higher performance rates. Look at how firm culture can impact entrepreneurial focus among project managers and technical staff, and see how to transform your team’s mindset and behavior for stronger performance.


Is Your Business Ready for Ground Down BIM?

Moderator: Joe Romano, Langan; Steven Costa, Microsol Resources; Ken Smerz, Eco3d; Kyle Hudson, VIATechnik; Jeff Albee, Stantec

Hear how firms have benefited and leveraged the use of BIM. Explore the business implication of overcoming a lack of standards, myths and misconceptions of BIM & 3D design, software challenges - what the future holds for the AEC industry.


2:15 pm-3:30 pm

Internal Services that Look Like Consulting Services

Moderator: Markus Weidner, Pennoni; Eric Quinn, C&S Companies; Andy Knauf, Mead & Hunt

Most firms have well established technical standards and workflows that allow for consistent, scalable delivery of services and solutions to clients. Far fewer have required or even asked internal services groups to apply those same principles, for a variety of reasons. Learn the benefits of incorporating principles such as quality control, continuous improvement, and more.


CFO Roundtable

Moderator: Joe Skorczewski, Chartwell Financial Advisory; Ralph Picano, Wade Trim; Maury Ballif, Degenkolb; Laurie Bishop, Kennedy/Jenks Consultants

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


Creating a Great Place to Work While Achieving Financial Success

Rizwan Siddiqi, EBA Engineering

Effective leadership means achieving financial performance goals by creating and maintaining a welcoming, employee-friendly firm environment. Explore how small steps reap big rewards, including a great bottom line without high spending, when firms cultivate a positive, family-like employee culture.


Ethics in Engineering – An Overview

Randy Lewis, XL Catlin

Review the ethical canons that apply to engineers and the obligations within each of the canons, as well as fact patterns, issues, and decisions of the Board of Ethical Review (BER). Examine two specific situations involving a state licensing board decision and ethical responsibility in following agency guidelines and current research on ethical behavior. 


Understanding and Negotiating Contract Terms as a Sub-Consultant on a Design/Build Project

Stephanie H. Burton, Gibbes Burton, LLC

On Design/Build projects, firms providing Geoprofessional services are often engaged as sub-consultants to a prime design firm, and the need for understanding and appropriately managing risks associated with this relationship is critical. Discuss typical terms and conditions, as well as suggestions for Geoprofessional firms on how to deal with these as a sub-consultant.


4 pm-5:15 pm

CIO Roundtable

Moderator: Steve Ross, exp US Services

Discuss best practices addressing the critical challenges and rapidly changing needs of a globally integrated industry.


M&A Trends

Moderator: Wally Brockhoff, Lathrop & Gage

Discuss current M&A environment and how highly acquisitive firms are looking at the market today.


Changing Times – What Will the Future of Engineering Look Like?

Doug Reed, FosterGrowth

Change is disrupting our industry - artificial intelligence, connected devices, big data, political concerns, equity investors, the labor pool – and that’s just the start. Explore key initiatives to examine, prepare, and influence the engineering industry’s future, including the Engineering Change Lab-Canada and a new USA laboratory.


Climate Change and Resilient Design: Risk Management Considerations for Engineers

Patricia B. Gary, Donovan Hatem, LLP; Lisa Dickson, ARUP; Elena Mihaly, Conservation Law Foundation; Samantha Medlock, Willis Towers Watson

The uncertainty of future climate impacts is heightened by a regulatory environment where current design and construction codes don’t address emerging climate risks, creating potential claims from extreme or catastrophic weather events. Examine risks associated with extreme weather and related contractual, risk management, and insurance approaches.


Smart Cities and Their Effect on the AEC Industry

Paul Doherty, The Digit Group, Inc.

The merging of innovative technologies, social wants, and government needs is generating opportunities for Smart City planning and solutions, giving high value to data usually associated with BIM and Smart Buildings. Understand the terms Big Data, Smart Building, and Smart Cities and how firms can create value out of their existing data and turn it into new revenue streams.


Wednesday, October 31

8:30 am-9:45 am

Be a Great Place to Work: Creative Ways to Build and Effective Culture and a Successful Business

Barry Barber, Kimley-Horn

A firm’s success is grounded in its employees’ skills and motivation. Explore ideas that create and maintain a culture and work environment to drive meaningful growth and corporate success with a refreshed and enhanced workplace.


Managing Project Catastrophe - What Happens When Disaster Strikes?

Dan Buelow & Bob Stanton, Willis Towers Watson

Examine critical issues - project delays, significant property damage, even injury or death - that arise from catastrophic failure on projects. Discuss proper communication and documentation; consistency in third-party discussions; construction phase services; and catastrophe project management to develop strategies to move projects forward without admitting liability or imperiling coverage. 


Cultural Alignment for An Effective Merger

Colvin Matheson, Matheson Advisors; Rod Hoffman, S&H Consulting LLC; Laurie Dreyer, Taylor Design; John Cowdery, CASCADE Environmental

Explore the different ways to view and define culture and compatibility, and how to know when a match works. Cultural assessments and early warning filters will help management make quicker, more accurate go/no-go decisions and design better integration plans.


Session titles and times may change - check back for updates!