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Event Recap: SMPS CT Annual Meeting and Connecticut Economic Outlook Client Panel

By: Marta Dabrowski

SMPS CT's Annual Meeting and Connecticut's Economic Outlook Client Panel took place on June 20th at the Back Nine Tavern at Southington Country Club. Before the panelists took the stage, current President Sharon Pomeroy, shared some of the past season's highlights which included record membership numbers, an impressive programs line-up, and an increase in our social media following. 

As part of the end-of-season celebrations, member of the year and lifetime achievement awards were awarded to members who made invaluable contributions to the chapter. Jessica Parkins of Petra Construction, was the recipient of the Grace Waldvogel Member of the Year Award. Jessica, as the Programs Committee Chair, has done an extraordinary job leading the committee and successfully coordinating chapter programs and events. Jim Bancroft of Lenard Engineering, was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award. His contributions to SMPS and the Connecticut chapter over the past 24 years as treasurer are insurmountable. The SMPS CT board unanimously decided that going forward the Lifetime Achievement Award will be know as the Jim Bancroft Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Client Panel

Our all star client panel tackled some of the tough question regarding the current state of the Connecticut economy including the status of current and upcoming A/E/C projects and the future economic outlook for the State. Our panel included: James P. Redeker, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Transportation; Laura Cruickshank, FAIA, University Master Planner and Chief Architect and Associate Vice President for University Planning, Design and Construction for the University of Connecticut; Karri May, AIA, Senior Project Manager, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center; Dawn Hocevar, President & CEO of Bio CT; and Courtney Hendricson, Vice President of Municipal Services at Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. (CREC). Our moderator was Kent Schwendy, President/CEO of CIL, a non-profit real estate development company.

To start, the panelists each shared an experience that had a profound impact on their career. From changing the lives of cancer patients through the design of medical facilities to connecting people through transportation initiatives, the panelist made it clear that the spaces we live in have a profound effect on individuals and that, most importantly, we have to strive to make Connecticut a place where people want to live and work.  

When asked if the economy performed as expected over the past year and what the outlook was for the future, the panelists agreed that last year was not easy for anyone. The State budget cuts within the past couple months caused projects across Connecticut to be put on hold. This delay had a ripple effect on all future projects. Laura Cruickshank (UConn) concurred that the budget has put some of the university's projects on hold. With most projects being STEM-oriented, this not only had an impact on the University but also the job market - potentially causing a shortage in STEM graduates. Dawn Hocevar (Bio CT) had a positive outlook for the bio science industry in Connecticut. With bio science being one of the top five revenue generating industries in the State, it will be worthwhile for the State to invest in more incubator spaces and graduate spaces to allow these new start-ups to develop. 

Looking to the future, James Redeker (CTDOT) shared his vison for Connecticut which included getting rid of congestion and providing more alternative transportation options. He commented that sustained progress and investment in transportation will keep the economy going in the long run. Investing in transportation makes a difference - that's why the Department is planning to ease congestion by putting the Charter Oak Bridge out to bid later this year, the bridge is one of the most congested routes in the State. Karri May (CT Children's Medical Center) believes we need to start thinking more regionally and attract people and clients from outside the state. Courtney Hendricson (CERC) agreed, saying that CERC is currently working on recruiting foreign companies to do business in Connecticut. 

To conclude the program the panelists were asked how the A/E/C industry can help in their current positions. Courtney Hendricson (CERC) said the best way to help is to get to know the senior leaders and officials in your community - most often you share the same goals and can work together to make them a reality. James Redeker (CTDOT) commented that celebrating what we are doing together will make all the difference and make Connecticut a more positive place to work and live. 

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WHAT IS CONNECTICUT’S ECONOMIC OUTLOOK? SMPS CT Annual Meeting and Connecticut Economic Outlook Client Panel

By: Ashley Remmers

What are some of the current and upcoming A/E/C projects in Connecticut? How do they relate to Connecticut’s current and future economic outlook? Come find out at SMPS’s Annual Meeting & Connecticut Economic Outlook Client Panel Program. Join us for our final program of the 2017-2018 SMPS CT calendar year on Wednesday, June 20th, at Back Nine Tavern at Southington Country Club, 150 Savage Street, Plantsville, CT, 06479, for an interactive panel that will explore Connecticut’s economic outlook and its effect on current and future A/E/C projects.

Our diverse panel of guests include: James P. Redeker, Commissioner, Connecticut Department of Transportation; Laura Cruickshank, FAIA, University Master Planner and Chief Architect and Associate Vice President for University Planning, Design and Construction for the University of Connecticut; Karri May, AIA, Senior Project Manager, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center; Dawn Hocevar, President & CEO of Bio CT; and Courtney Hendricson, Vice President of Municipal Services at Connecticut Economic Resource Center, Inc. (CREC). Our moderator will be Kent Schwendy, President/CEO of CIL, a non-profit real estate development company. If you’re looking for a glimpse into Connecticut’s future, this program is for you. For more information, please visit our website here. Registration is open until June 15th.N

About SMPS CT

Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) was created in 1973 by a small group of professional services firm leaders who recognized the need to sharpen skills, pool resources, and work together to create business opportunities. Today, SMPS, nationally, represents a dynamic network of 7,000+ marketing and business development professionals from architectural, engineering, planning, interior design, construction, and specialty consulting firms located throughout the United States and Canada. The Society and its 60 chapters benefit from the support of 3,250 design and building firms, encompassing 80% of the Engineering News-Record Top 500 Design Firms and Top 400 Contractors.

 

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YOUR PROJECT DESERVES AN AWARD! SMPS CT Hosts AEC Industry Awards Panel

By: Ashley Remmers and Anna Cruz

Ah spring! That time of year when “for your consideration,” extends beyond the Oscars to amazing AEC projects and communications campaigns. We may not have billions of people watching our award ceremonies, but the after-party name recognition and prestige they bring can be extremely lucrative—especially in terms of future business.

Set up your team for award season success by joining SMPS CT on Wednesday, March 14th at Scene Art Bar, 29 Mill Street, Unionville, CT. We’ll explore the ins and outs of award submissions, securing the win, and leveraging victories to boost your firm’s brand and reputation. Our guest panel will cover the basics, from identifying awards opportunities in the AEC industry, to attaining team support and gaining jury member insight, to how to capitalize on award success.

Cathy DeFrances, CPSM, Associate/Director of Business Development of Fuss & O’Neill EnviroScience, LLC will moderate.  Guest speakers include Theresa M. Casey, FSMPS, CPSM, President/CEO of On Target Marketing & Communications, LLC; Kevin Herrick, AIA, Principal of The S/L/A/M Collaborative; and Susan Labas, CPSM, Senior Associate and Director of Marketing of van Zelm Engineers.

Learn what it takes for your team’s hard work to be recognized by registering here. Registration is open until Friday, March 9th.

About SMPS CT

Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) was created in 1973 by a small group of professional services firm leaders who recognized the need to sharpen skills, pool resources, and work together to create business opportunities. Today, SMPS, nationally, represents a dynamic network of 7,000+ marketing and business development professionals from architectural, engineering, planning, interior design, construction, and specialty consulting firms located throughout the United States and Canada. The Society and its 60 chapters benefit from the support of 3,250 design and building firms, encompassing 80% of the Engineering News-Record Top 500 Design Firms and Top 400 Contractors.

 

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Event Recap: Fireside Chat with Carolyn Bligh

At our latest Fireside Chat program, members of SMPS Connecticut spent the afternoon with Carolyn Bligh and gained insight on her career and the opportunities that have helped her to achieve success.

Carolyn is a past president of SMPS CT whose desire for living her life with the purpose to inspire others has guided her in making career and personal decisions over her 25+ year career in the A/E/C industry. Carolyn shared influences and defining moments that shaped her career journey - including following her mother's advice and applying for her first job as a graphic designer at Russell Gibson von Dohlen. She has transcended from Director of Graphic Design for one of the largest A/E/C firms in the Northeast, to owning her own consulting business for 24 years, and is currently the Director of Facilities Design for ESPN, a global leader in sports entertainment and events.

Carolyn shared some invaluable advice with our members:

  • It's all about being surrounded by people who believe in you, people you trust - it's all about surrounding yourself with people who will help you rise to the next level.
  • No one’s going to remember how much time you spent on a project, they’re going to remember how much they like it.
  • No excuses, it shows weakness.
  • Believe in yourself and your ability. You have to have strong principles and beliefs - always stick up for your beliefs and never let anyone compromise them.
  • Treat the person standing in front of you as the most important person at that time.
  • Push back, challenge. Know you're worth it, be confident in yourself.

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