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Event Recap: AEC Award Submissions

SMPS Connecticut presented a panel discussion on AEC Industry Award Submissions moderated by Cathy DeFrances, CPSM, Associate / Director of Business Development  |  Fuss & O'Neill EnviroScience, LLC. Speakers at the Wednesday March 14 afternoon event in Unionville included:

  • Theresa M. Casey, FSMPS, CPSM, President/CEO, On Target Marketing & Communications LLC
  • Kevin Herrick, AIA, Principal, The S/L/A/M Collaborative
  • Susan Labas, CPSM, Senior Associate and Director of Marketing, van Zelm Engineers


The panel discussed a number of relevant topics, sharing their insight and knowledge with attendees. There was a good turnout and the food was excellent!

First steps in submitting for an award:

  • Look at the criteria and select the project that best suits the competition.
  • Start early, up to a year in advance, and track project metrics.
  • Select awards programs and publications that will support your target markets.
  • Determine what information you need to gather from the project.
  • To identify awards programs, look at what your competitors are doing and ask your clients and consultants.


Getting the whole team on board:

  • Be creative! Strategize, give it a theme, and include photography.
  • Develop a story. Talk to as many people as you can who are involved with the project.
  • Step back, and tell the whole story. The judge is not going to be familiar with your project.


Review of winning project submissions:

  • Don’t underestimate the small projects. Those win more than their share of awards.
  • Supplemental information can make a big difference, such as letters of recommendation.
  • Tell the story with photos, layout, and supporting materials.
  • Follow the criteria and structure of the awards.


Additional tips:

  • Ask for a debrief when you don’t win. Lessons learned.
  • Use large, professional photos and label them.
  • The level of quality and care in submissions is rising each year.
  • Submit a blend of visuals and text and detail the images to tell the story.
  • Entries are judged on the submittal criteria over the design of the piece.
  • Follow the word and page count criteria, fitting extra information within the limits.
  • Nobody counts the photo captions. These could be used as extra words.
  • Take advantage of available award FAQs and webinars.



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