Continental Breakfast/Registration – 8:00-9:00


Opening Remarks – 8:50-9:00


Welcome Message – 9:00-9:15

By design, conferences are meant to overwhelm you with information and inspiration in an effort to make sure every single person who attends gets something from their time listening and learning. This intentional and important information overload can deliver staggering amounts of facts, figures, stories, and ideas into already densely packed minds.  In this welcome message Becky Crump — closing keynote speaker — will introduce a framework and tools that will help you catalogue and categorize all of that juicy and delicious content you’ll be consuming throughout the two days. And she’ll ground you in the power of listening that seeks to understand, and then to solve — the kind of listening that uncovers the answers you’ve been waiting for.  


Opening Keynote – 9:15-10:30

THE NEW BOLD: Stepping Up to the ‘Command & Nurture’ of Leadership – Dean Hyers

Are you ready to step up to the ‘New Bold?’ Fifteen-year AEC communication coach Dean Hyers is seeing a change in the nature of “boldness” in effectively assertive professionals capable of leading teams to innovate, integrate, and motivate. “We’re evolving from a command and conquer mentality toward a balance of strength and compassion.

The New Bold is command and nurture, combining masculine and feminine advantages for full-spectrum assertiveness.

In this session, Dean shares his personal journey as an emotional intuitive who learned to teach warm, confident communication across an unusual career arc that began with filmmaking, acting, and writing. In a surprising shift, Dean taught acting to U.S. covert agents, and coached prosecutors preparing for murder trials, before landing solidly in AEC interview coaching. Dean believes the equation is not “masculine = man, feminine = woman.” To be an effective business communicator, a balance of confidence and warmth is needed –– the new bold.

Speaker bio: Dean Hyers is a speaker, trainer, and communication strategist who specializes in helping business professionals project bold “stage presence” under pressure. Across many years as a filmmaker, Dean cultivated a unique expertise in storytelling and drawing out performances that emotionally connect to audiences. In 2001, Dean co-founded SagePresence, a boutique learning & development company dedicated to elevating communication competencies for professional organizations. In his role as a SagePresence principal, Dean has helped thousands of clients generate confident and influential "stage presence" to win their audiences over, everywhere from the networking floor to the presenter's stage. Dean has helped countless professionals advance inside of their organizations and their careers, and has assisted in organizations winning over $4.5 billion in new business.


Break 10:30-10:45


Session 2 – 10:45-11:45

Realize Your Brand & Marketing Vision with Research: Your Ultimate Tool for Firm Wide Buy-In – Karl Feldman

You have a good idea of what needs to be done to up your firms marketing and business development game – but you don’t have the support you need to get it done. Research is a powerful tool to get the critical buy-in you need from leadership and subject matter experts across your firm. Clarify your brand positioning and messages though objective qualitative and quantitative research techniques.

Karl will explore how research plays an integral role in connecting firms’ strategic business goals with marketing and business development initiatives. Research is a critical tool for identifying content issues and topics, but it also provides the opportunities to support and engage with clients that all teams will appreciate.

Speaker bio: Karl Feldman leads Hinge Marketing’s architecture, engineering, and construction practices. He guides clients through the complexities of research, marketing strategy, brand building, and high-performance web development. His career spans VC backed technology and e-commerce, professional services, and AEC industries. Before joining Hinge, Karl lead marketing for HITT Contracting, a ENR top 50 US-based general contractor. More recently, Karl regularly blogs and speaks about professional services marketing and strategy at local and national events with leading associations like AIA, ACEC and SMPS. Studying computer science at Virginia Tech helped to prepare Karl for challenges that combine business-driven creative with technology and analysis. 


Break/Awards Luncheon – 11:45-1:30


Session 3 – 1:30-2:30

What Did That Mean? Avoiding the Pitfalls of Professional Email – Kate Lucey

Have you ever tried to conduct a conversation over email and had it fail? Whether it is email, text messaging, online chat programs, or message boards, conducting business online has become an inevitability. Online communication is efficient, but not without its drawbacks. It can be difficult to know where you stand, miscommunications are paramount, and creating a connection with another person can be challenging. Luckily, there are ways avoid those issues and use online communication to your advantage.

In this session, we will explore the patterns, rules, and etiquette of email. Linguists have been exploring the “grammar” of CMC for decades, identifying the ways that people adjust their language to, and leverage the opportunities of, these new forms of interaction. Applying these linguistic theories to real-life interactions, participants will learn strategies to improve their online communication, eliminate misunderstandings, and build strong relationships no matter the medium.

Speaker bio: In some way or another, language is a part of everything we do. Are you using it effectively? As a sociolinguist, Kate studies the underlying messages we communicate to each other through even the smallest of language choices. Professionally, she works with organizations to help them harness the power of language to achieve their goals. At Client Savvy that means helping firms understand how they can use language to create better experiences for their clients, communicate more effectively, increase their bottom line, and build deeper relationships. Prior to working with Client Savvy, Kate was the Assistant Director of Membership and Business Development at the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC), where she helped large AEC companies develop strategies for engaging in member activities, advocacy, and policy that would help achieve their organizational goals. Kate earned her Bachelor’s in Linguistics from Boston College and her Master’s in Language and Communication from Georgetown University.


Break – 2:30-2:45


Session 4 – 2:45-4:15 

Secrets to Superior Writing That Will Increase Your Proposal Win Rate – Chuck Roberts

Increase your firm’s win rate, earn greater respect from your firm’s technical personnel, and more reliably meet your performance targets by learning how to leverage the science of persuasive communication to increase the score your competitive proposals receive from selection committee members. This session goes far beyond story-telling and other superficial techniques to reveal the science of persuasive communication that allows you to increase reader attention, receptivity, comprehension, alignment, unaided recall, motivation, and response. You’ll learn practical techniques you can immediately apply to produce better results, and how these same techniques can improve your win rate on shortlist presentations and interviews. The knowledge you’ll gain will increase your reputation as a thought leader within your firm, positively reshape how the technical staff views your role, and help you advance your career by leading the way for your firm to increase its revenue and profitability.

Speaker bio: The challenges that A/E/C marketing and business development professionals face are well understood by Chuck Roberts because he’s an engineer who has 38 years of experience as a Seller/Doer, and has served in roles that have included Corporate Director of Business Development, COO, CFO, and CEO. Firms inside and outside the A/E/C industry ranging in size from start-ups to $76 billion in annual revenue have turned to Chuck for training and guidance on matters of strategy, marketing and sales, communication, best operational practices, conflict resolution, and change leadership. He’s an internationally recognized speaker who has been invited to deliver presentations at more than 60 conferences and events, has written more than 70 published articles, and is the author of two books: “Seven Secrets to Superior Presentations,” and the ACEC best seller, “A/E/C Megatrends: The Path the Competitive Advantage.” Chuck is the Founder, President, and CEO of Performance Management Group, Inc.


Networking Reception at Greenleaf's Pool Room – 4:30-7:00 




Breakfast – 8:00-9:00


Opening Remarks – 8:50-9:00


Session 1 – 9:00-10:15

Growth Hacking A/E/C: The Marketing Playbook for the New Economy – Tim Asimos

Disruption is everywhere. Nearly every aspect of an A/E/C firm’s business has been impacted, requiring significant change to business as usual. So why is marketing often the lone exception? It doesn’t have to be this way. It’s time to move past an antiquated view of marketing as a reactionary, proposal-generating support department and instead view it as the strategic, differentiating, revenue-generating lifeline it should be. Professional services marketers long to play a larger, more strategic role in positioning their firms for new business—well beyond typical proposal and interview support. 

But while marketers and forward-thinking principals understand disruption is needed, some questions persist:

  • What does change look like?
  • How do you gain buy-in from firm leadership?
  • What marketing strategies and tactics are other business-to-business industries using that our industry should be? 
  • How should a modern A/E/C marketing department proactively and strategically support their firms? 

This presentation is designed to help attendees answer these and other difficult questions by providing tangible and practical solutions to transforming the norm. Participants will discover "growth hacking" ways to strengthen their firm’s marketing program, with proactive, client-focused initiatives that can be tracked, measured, and tied back to the firm’s strategic objectives and bottom line.

Speaker Bio: Tim Asimos is a recognized authority and catalyst for change in A/E/C marketing, providing keen insights on modern marketing principles and an uncommon perspective gleaned from more than 15 years of experience both inside and outside the industry. As Vice President and Director of Digital Innovation at circle S studio, Tim leads the marketing agency's development of innovative strategies in website development, content marketing, lead generation, account-based marketing and marketing technology. A national speaker and syndicated blogger, Tim’s expertise has been featured in numerous industry publications, webinars, programs and conferences around the country. Tim is a longstanding SMPS member and a Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM). He’s also a member of the American Marketing Association and is a Past President of the Richmond, Virginia chapter.


Break – 10:15-10:30


Session 2 – 10:30-12:30

Value Creation: The Neglected Differentiator in the A/E Industry – Mel Lester

Ever wondered why A/E services are less valued than other professional services? Attorneys, accountants, management consultants, advertising specialists—to name a few—all command a higher labor multiplier than A/E professionals. Perhaps it’s time for our industry to take a serious look at how to close the value gap. That’s what this session is about.

Value creation is a hot topic in business literature, but is rarely discussed in our profession. There are several value creation strategies relevant to our business, but we’ll focus on four in this session:

  • Developing a client-centered perspective
  • Delivering business-driven results
  • Providing outstanding client experiences
  • Creating value through marketing

Marketers can (and should) contribute to the success of each of these strategies. This workshop-style session will challenge your thinking about the marketing function, proposal strategy, and how you can become a catalyst for value creation in your firm.

Speaker Bio: Mel Lester of BizEdge is a management consultant, trainer, and contrarian strategist who specializes in helping engineering, environmental, and architectural firms improve business performance and create competitive advantage. His experience includes business development, strategy creation, leadership development, client service, project delivery, and employee engagement. Mel has worked in our profession for over 40 years, including 20 years as a business development and marketing specialist for various national and regional firms.


Lunch / Break – 12:30-1:45


Session 3 – 1:45-3:00

Closing Keynote: Getting from Here to There. Uncovering Your Purpose, Your Power, and Your Path Becky Crump

In the midst of busy lives and distractions aplenty, we have lost our ability to listen and to take notice to ourselves and others in ways that bring us success and fulfillment. In listening, we find answers to some of our deepest human questions. In listening, we find solutions to business issues and unearth opportunities for growth. But first, we need to relearn what it means to take the time and to take notice — and we need to learn how to do it.

You’ll leave this interactive keynote with a deeper understanding of the gaps that exist between who you are and who you’d like to be. You’ll begin working through the steps you’ll take, bridges you’ll build, and people you’ll bring along your journey between here and there. And you’ll take all that brilliant content that inspired your mind and your heart over these two days, and create an action plan. 

Be ready to reflect, to write, and to commit. 

Speaker Bio: Becky is a compassionate and courageous instigator of change within organizations that aim to help. She believes companies wield priceless power when words and visuals are used to their fullest potential alongside well-timed and placed outreach; that more organizations need to create remarkable programs that inspire, then explain; and that engaging the community in support of wholesome work will move people into actions that give to the world. Becky is Wellwork’s creator and lead advisor. Wellwork is a communications strategy, program design, and community engagement consultancy that brings capacity, perspective, curiosity, kindness and conviction to teams who need it most. Their model makes them affordable -- their hearts and minds make them invaluable. 

Becky is also the founder of Mindful Mornings, a free monthly speaker series for do-gooders who want to make the world a better place that has a growing national presence. Her previous positions include Lead Consultant at The Frontier Project and Director of Marketing for Ellwood Thompson’s and Dawson’s Market.


Drawing for Free 2019 Virginia Conference Registration & Free SMPS Webinar – 3:00-3:15


Optional CPSM Study Group Kickoff  3:15-4:00


Total CEUs: 8