Join Our Mailing List



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. 

Return to list


    Leave a Comment