Education Sessions


More education sessions will be added as they are confirmed - please check back for updates to the schedule!


Monday, October 14

9:20 am-9:50 am - Solutions Center Presentations in the Exhibit Hall:

Overcoming the Top 3 Project Information on Management Challenges

Jeff Allem, Newforma

A survey of nearly 1,200 AEC firms nationwide revealed the top technology and project information management challenges plaguing the industry.  Find out what's plaguing your peers, how you compare, and what you can do to resolve these problems.


10:00 am-10:30 am - Solutions Center Presentations in the Exhibit Hall:

Go Green - Save Green: Taking Advantage of Your Sustainable Designs

Brady Bryan, BRAYN Consulting LLC

The 179D Energy Efficient Commercial Building Deduction is a federal tax deduction of up to $1.80/sf available to engineers for work on newly constructed and renovated government buildings.  Designers and builders can take advantage of this lucrative tax incentive for energy efficient and green designs- design green to save green! 


10:15 am-11:30 am

Leadership Strategies for Employee Retention in a Strong Economy

Kate Kaynak, The Jennings Group, LLC

Retention problems can hit hard in a strong economy. High turnover takes a big bite out of profits and often discourages the remaining team members. Learn practical tips and suggestions to improve retention and how to tie successful retention programs into future recruitment, strategic planning, and succession planning.


CFO Roundtable

Chris Staloch, Chartwell Financial Advisory

Join us for an interactive session to discuss hot topics in the engineering industry. Hear from peers on how they are dealing with issues from compensation structures to ownership transitions to acquisitions


BIM for Infrastructure: Are you Ready to Sign and Seal 3D Deliverables?

Will Sharp, Andy Lauzier, Shawn Rodda, & Daniel Prokop, HDR

DOTs are taking 3D Design to new levels - signed and sealed 3D deliverables for construction. Through case studies of completed projects in Utah and Iowa, learn a successful approach to signed and sealed 3D deliverables. During this interactive session key issues including consultant liability concerns and proposed mitigation measures will be discussed.


Disrupt Your A&E Firm! Embracing Business Practices Outside the Industry to Differentiate and Catapult Success

June Jewell, AEC Business Solutions

Explore how other industries have developed solutions to many of the issues A/E firms face today including employee recruiting and retention, competition and client service. Discuss how these approaches can be implemented to boost business success and profits.


Risk Management - Thinking Past the Contract

Susan Winslow, Tela Vuota, PLLC

Contracts and insurance are important, but much of our risk as A/Es actually resides in project execution. From design to bidding to construction administration, we must address risk throughout the entire project life cycle. Learn about classic problem areas and ways to identify, mitigate, and manage risk.


1:20 pm-1:50 pm - Solutions Center Presentations in the Exhibit Hall:

Student Loan Benefit

Lydia Zabrycki, ACEC Retirement Trust

Student debt can have a significant impact on employee financial wellness, and your employee’s financial wellbeing can have a significant impact on your workplace. This session focuses on the mechanics and implications of ACEC Retirement Trust’s cutting edge 401(k) contribution structure for student loan debt. It is also offering a broader analysis of the ACEC Retirement Trust and how it assists ACEC Members and Affiliate Members with their 401(k) plan needs.


1:20 pm-1:50 pm - Solutions Center Presentations in the Exhibit Hall:

What's Easier - Winning a Desgin Job or Winning a Great New Hire Engineer?

John Krantz, Risk Strategies, ACEC Life/Health Trust

In today's tight labor market, you may feel trapped with the employees you have, not necessarily the employees you want.  We will explore the dynamics of attracting talent, compensation, motivation, and profit.  What is the right mix of salary, performance bonus and employee benefits.  We will discuss the way to control those costs and meet your firm's profit targets along the way.


2:15 pm-3:30 pm

Growing Profits Through Employee Retention

John Kreiss, Morrissey Goodale, LLC

It’s simple math. The lower the turnover, the higher the profits. To help you focus on keeping top talent on the team, learn how to focus and deliver on what matters most to them: autonomy, respect, growth, and compensation.


Necessary Elements of Internal Ownership Transition, Expansion & Succession

David Cohen, Matheson Financial Advisors; Lauren Evans, Pinyon Environmental Engineering; John Carrato, Alfred Benesch & Company

As A/E firms continue to grow and achieve profits at near historic levels, more and more owners are reaching retirement timeframes. With the last recession behind us and the next one looming, this session will give firms the tools and understanding they need to successfully transition and expand internal ownership by recognizing and balancing the needs of sellers, buyers, and the company


From Millennials to Gen Z: Reaching the Next Generation of Decision Makers

Ida Cheinman, Substance151, Benefit LLC

Millennials are now 50% of the workforce and 73% are involved in executive decisions. Gen Z, which now outnumbers Millennials, will be 20% of the workforce by 2020. A/E/C firms that intentionally shift their marketing and business development strategies to cater to the new decision-makers’ mindset and preferences will outperform their competition – this session will show you how.


P3: Myths and Realities for Engineers

Andrew Mendelson, Berkley Design Professional; Suzanne Harness, Harness Project Solutions, LLC

Public Private Partnership (P3) has become a popular delivery method for major design-construction projects. Understand the complex factors facing P3 teams and how these impact the engineer’s legal and financial risk and be better informed to pursue, plan, and manage P3 project opportunities.


That Means What?  Contractual Provisions That May Surprise You

Robert Hughes, Ames & Gough

Effective risk management starts with negotiating a reasonable contract. Design professionals may be surprised to learn what certain “legalese” really means or how “reasonable” language can be manipulated to put the design firm at significant risk. This presentation highlights several such provisions, drawn from actual engineering agreements, while reviewing possible alternative language that limits the designer’s risks.


4:00 pm-5:15 pm

Ownership Transition: Build Teams, Not Walls

Bill Mandel, Laura Howard & Brian Belisle, Fox Rothschild LLP

Explore the latest trends in ownership transition and succession planning to avoid the common pitfalls that can derail your efforts to achieve a successful transition. Learn creative ways to further enhance the value of the transitioning process using appropriate succession mechanisms including management buyouts, ESOPs, M&A or a combination of strategies.


Read the Dang Contract

T. Wayne Owens & Anthony Machi, T. Wayne Owens & Associates

Firms spend a lot of time managing unallowable costs but the risk of contracting with the government goes far beyond the FAR Cost Principles. Not everything in a contract is regulated by Federal Laws and Regulations --and understanding the potential differences is critical to profitability. Explore potential contract pitfalls, lessons learned and action items to help firms mitigate their risk.


Rethinking the Training Function in A/E/C Firms: Fostering a Culture of Innovation, Engagement, and Collaboration through Integrative Learning Ecosystems

John Gilleeny & Nik Vigener, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger

In today’s competitive business landscape, one dimensional training approaches that focus solely on job skills are obsolete. Discuss immersive and multidimensional learning ecosystems that offer A/E professionals insight,  real-world examples and tested strategies for cultivating integrative learning ecosystems.


Tackling Today's Business Practice Challenges - A Structural Engineering Roundtbale

Moderator: Stacy Bartoletti, Degenkolb Engineers


IT Roundtable


Tuesday, October 15

9:20 am-9:50 am - Solutions Center Presentations in the Exhibit Hall:

Qualifiers and COA's: Exploring the Relationship Between Individual Licensing and Risk Managment

John Beck, Harbor Compliance

This presentation will look at real life examples of how individual licensing can impact the entire health of a firm.  Additionally, we'll explore "7 C's" for firms to observe when creating a framework for managing their licenses. 


10:00 am-10:30am - Solutions Center Presentations in the Exhibit Hall:

Increase Productivity and Enhance Global Collaboration While Reducing Costs

Greg Wesner, Panzura; Andy Knauf, Mead & Hunt

AEC organizations are challenged with collaborating on large, time sensitive global projects using tools such a Revit, Autodesk Civil 3D, CAD/CAM.  In this session, Mead & Hunt CIO, Andy Knauf, shares how they deliverd increased performance, productivity and user experience for a distributed workforce while reducing costs with Panzura Freedom.


10:15 am-11:30 am

The Future of Sustainable and Resilient Stormwater Infrastructure Design

Clint Robinson, Faruk Oksuz and Andrew Smith, Black and Veatch; Mason Throneburg, Confluency; Kevin Fitzpatrick, Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

This panel session will discuss sustainable and resilient storm and floodwater infrastructure design for cities faced with trends in increased annual precipitation, as well as increased frequency and intensity of extreme events.  With the experiences of the Greater Chicago Region as backdrop, the panel will discuss lessons learned, and challenges ahead, for design of sustainable and resilient storm and floodwater infrastructure in the U.S.


The Future of Design Services and the Opportunity of Enabling Technologies

Russ Young, FMI Corp; Raghi Iyengar, Manufacton; Clifton Harness, TestFit; Garrett Reynolds, UpCodes

As the roles of project stakeholders shift, design firms have new opportunities to move further upstream in the value chain while playing a bigger role downstream managing standards and design – brought to you by new technologies that present new possibilities in design. Discuss how planning and design technologies enhance the design process with specific use cases.


Leadership At All Levels

Mark Cook & Audrey Hale, Cross Group, Inc.; Karen Friese, K Friese & Associates

Firms desire strong, effective leaders, but what qualities actually make an effective leader? How do we develop leaders at succeeding levels within our organization? Get answers to these questions along with real-world tips and ideas to be put into practice within your firm.


A Glimpse Into Appalachia – An Unconventional O&G Basin 10 Years Young

Andrew Rakowski & Anthony Maione, Langan


Current Events in FAR Overhead Rates and State DOT Reviews

Dan Purvine, A/E Clarity Consulting and Training, LLC

Discuss key issues that firms must address to support their FAR-allowable costs and achieve proper reimbursement.  Learn more about the problems encountered in the development of A/E firm overhead rates and review of those rates by state DOTs.


1:55 pm-2:25 pm - Solutions Center Presentations in the Exhibit Hall:

Leveraging Virtual Reality for AEC

Jim Jacobi & Caris Frazier-Baker, Walter P Moore Technology

Experience VR software developed at Walter P Moore for AEC previsualization, design review, and coordination.  Utilizing real-time 3D, this interactive, immersive toolset enables you to wrap your head around a project before ground is broken.  WPM offers VR Services to those interested in emerging technology and securing substantial advantages in project delivery.


2:30 pm-3:45 pm

The Imbalance: Work, Life and Wellness for Consultants

Geordie Aitken, Aitken Leadership Group; Magda Dominik, Ninja Training

Personal wellness, family harmony, and professional success can – and must – co-exist. If they don’t, what are we working so hard for? What high-achieving consultants need most is a new mindset, one of work-life integration. Explore how integrating work, family and health can be achieved and walk away with ideas that will better integrate work with your personal life and how to support others in your organization to do the same.


Beyond Professional Liability; Environmental Health & Safety Risks in the Geoprofessional Community

Moderator: David Duke, S&ME, Inc.; Kent Collier, Greyling Insurance Brokerage; Rick Ecord, GZA GeoEnvironmental Inc; Jim Carpenter, ECS Corporate Services


Why are PMs Late and/or Over Budget?

Simon Goodhead, The Coxe Group

PMs make firms money and attract repeat business from clients. In short, they are your firm’s economic engine. Review classic excuses and delve into the reality behind the words, what is likely meant, and what owners and executives can do to turn around underperformers and catapult good performers to the next level. 


The Future of Microgrid Development, the ComEd Bronzeville Community Project

Moderator: Lynn Schloesser, ACEC

Microgrids are touted as examples of urban islands of energy resilience in the face of foreseeable man-made and natural disasters.  Such projects combine design concepts of Distributed Resources (energy) and Smart Cities (communications).  Examples are developing across the U.S. and Canada including Denver, Toronto, and Chicago (Bronzeville).  With Bronzeville as primary example, this session will explore the path to achieve utility, regulator and primary stakeholder buy-in on micro-grid project design and performance.


Healthcare Design for the Future: Baby Boomers, Telehealth and the "Retailing" of Facilities

Moderator: Erin McLaughlin, ACEC


4:15 pm - 5:30 pm

Lateral Leadership: Empower Your Teams to Increase Influence Regardless of Position

Amy Champigny, Deltek, Inc.

Whether you are an owner, manager or a designer, your influence is critical to your career, your team and your firm. Lateral leadership requires the right skills, emotional intelligence and initiative, and can profoundly impact your workforce. Learn tips and tricks for lateral leadership as well as how to effectively influence up and down the organizational structure. 


Engineering Engagement: Strategies to Keep Your Top Talent from Becoming Someone Else's

Lisa Ryan, Grategy

In a full-employment economy, you’re faced with an enormous challenge: keeping your top talent from becoming someone else’s! In this fun, engaging, and high content session, you'll walk out with ideas and strategies you can use immediately to keep your best performers performing for you.  


Moving to "Both And" Thinking: Improving Orgazinational Culture and Your Bottom Line

Brian Barton, Jones & DeMille Engineering; Chandra Storrusten, Visible Value

Most firms feel like they must make a choice: Be a sought-after place to work and focus on culture, or focus on profitability. Hear how one firm found a better way! Join us to learn how to implement best practices that elevate culture and boost engagement while motivating your team members to “own” their firm’s profitability.


Wednesday, October 16

8:30 am-9:45 am

Hard Conversations: An Ethics Case Study in the Destructive Power of Conflict Avoidance and the Redemptive Power of Honesty

Michael Yost & Aaron Mann, Terracon

How do you repair the damage to your reputation and credibility after a major ethical breach committed by one of your employees? Join Mike Yost and Aaron Mann who will walk you through a case study of a former employee who was willing at nearly any cost to avoid confrontation and how the company proved its true ethical colors in its response.


Recalibrating Your Compass: Leading Through the Strategic Planning Process

Randy Anderson, E3 Professional Trainers LLC

Learn how to better lead your team, department, or organization through the strategic planning process. From initial vision casting, identifying key objectives, strategies, and tactics, to determining who will be responsible for specific tasks and establishing’ll learn how to effectively create a blue print for productivity, long-term relevance, and profitability within your market and increase your personal influence.


More education sessions will be added as they are confirmed - please check back for updates to the schedule!