Detailed Agenda


Pre-Summit Workshops (Additional Fees Apply)

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

9:00 AM – 10:00 AM Pre-Summit Workshop Registration

10:00 AM – 5:00 PM Pre-Summit Workshops (includes networking lunch)

  • PRE-SUMMIT WORKSHOP OPTION A: ENGAGE! Engaging Employees To Drive Business Results
    Bob Kelleher - Founder and President / The Employee Engagement Group (TEEG)

    Join Bob as he facilitates the nation’s #1 employee engagement workshop for managers. You leave the workshop with more than 25 practical engagement tools and templates, including:
    • How to apply 10 employee engagement steps that will transform your culture
    • Proven practical employee engagement processes and ideas
    • The latest research to make the business case that engagement drives profits
    • How to apply the principles of intrinsic motivation to the workplace
    • How to build a cascading communication pipeline to build alignment and accountability
    • Proven hiring strategies aimed at understanding your employer value proposition
    • Ideas to hold your ‘people leaders’ accountable for growing and retaining talent
  • PRE-SUMMIT WORKSHOP OPTION B: Creating the Purpose Driven Firm
    John Doehring, CMC - Executive Leader of Training and Advisory Services / PSMJ Resources, Inc.
    Is your organization just muddling along—with good (but not great) performance? Are your professionals pretty good at getting the client’s work done, but much less effective at improving the firm itself? If this sounds familiar, join John for this fast-paced, entertaining, and highly interactive workshop, which covers:
    • How mission, vision, and enterprise strategy must coalesce to drive organization alignment
    • How top firms find and secure the best talent, and then keep them happy and productive
    • Best practices and new ideas for successful recruiting, training, mentoring, and career pathing

Both of the above 2017 A/E/C HR Summit Pre-Summit Workshops can earn you credits towards recertification credits, through SHRM and HRCI. 

6:30 PM Dine-Around – Join PSMJ, The Employee Engagement Group, and your fellow attendees for a “Dutch-treat” dinner and experience some fantastic New Orleans dining. We pre-select several local restaurants and you can sign up for your choice at the Summit registration table. This event is open to all 2017 A/E/C HR Summit attendees and is a great way to kick off the conference!


A/E/C HR Summit – Day 1

Thursday, April 20, 2017

7:15 AM – 8:15 AM General Registration and Networking Breakfast (Sponsored by Stambaugh Ness) – The conference kicks off with a valuable opportunity to renew old acquaintances and connect with new ones.

7:30 AM – 8:15 AM Morning Hot Topic Session: How to Recruit and Hire From Your Competition (from someone who knows!)
Jorge Rico - Founder / Rico Associates, LLC.

Have you struggled to recruit top talent for mission-critical positions? Have you considered candidates from your competitors – who have consistently won projects that your organization competed for? In this session, you get first-hand insight on proven strategies to:

    • Recruit from your competitors in ethical and effective ways
    • Utilize social media to identify, contact, and recruit top talent from your competitors  
    • Develop and promote perpetual talent sourcing and identification culture
    • Assess a candidate’s needs and aspirations to assess culture and job fit
    • Match behaviors and traits of candidates to your company or team culture
    • Apply pragmatic strategies to win the war for talent

8:15 AM – 8:45 AM Welcome and Introductions – Your A/E/C HR Summit hosts - Bob Kelleher of The Employee Engagement Group and David Burstein, P.E. of PSMJ Resources, Inc. – open the conference.

8:45 AM – 9:45 AM Host Keynote Presentation: The Latest HR Trends in the A/E/C Industry
David Burstein, P.E. - Director / PSMJ Resources, Inc.

In this always-popular keynote presentation, Dave gets you up to speed on the results of PSMJ’s latest research on the A/E/C industry, including key findings from PSMJ’s newly-released 2017 Compensation and Bonus & Benefits Surveys.  Dave also presents PSMJ’s thinking and research on market trends (including some not-so-obvious ones) that will impact A/E/C firms in the coming years. Alongside Dave, TEEG’s Bob Kelleher adds his perspective on issues such as up-to-the-minute labor force and engagement trends and statistics.

9:45 AM – 10:15 AM Networking Break 

10:15 AM - 11:45 AM Re-Imagination Laboratory I (New For 2017!):
Your hosts teach you how to build the “unconference” agenda, but you and other attendees decide the most important topics, and then LEAD those discussions. You experience thought-provoking dialogue with the brightest minds in HR about the issues that matter to you! When you’re tired of an agenda item, you simply get up and leave to join a different discussion group.

11:45 AM – 12:00 PM Networking Break

12:00 PM – 1:30 PM Keynote Lunch Presentation: How to Involve HR in Your Firm’s Strategic Planning Process
Kenneth Wm. Smith, P.E., P.L.S. - President and CEO / T. Baker Smith, LLC

When most firms conduct strategic planning, their primary focus is on their markets – which ones to move into, which ones to cut back on.  They also consider things like where to open new offices and what kinds of additional expertise they might need.  But few A/E/C firms focus on our industry’s most important asset – our people.  In this keynote presentation, Kenny Smith of T. Baker Smith, LLC describes how and why his firm made HR an integral part of its strategic planning process.  You learn how this emphasis helped them through both good times and lean times – and how your firm can benefit from greater involvement of HR in its own strategic planning process. 

1:30 PM – 1:45 PM Networking Break

1:45 PM- 2:45 PM Concurrent Breakout Sessions A

1A: Prepare For The Unexpected – A Hurricane Katrina Case Study
Jenifer Navard - Principal and Director of Finance / ESKEW+DUMEZ+RIPPLE, APC

Using a case study approach, explore how to design a resilient firm in order to survive and thrive when the unexpected happens.  Based on Hurricane Katrina’s impact on ESKEW+DUMEZ+RIPPLE, APC, Jenifer focuses on four key elements of resiliency: Infrastructure, Culture, Lateral Leadership, and Transparency.

2A: How To Avoid a Culture Disconnect in Your Merger
Bob Kelleher, President and Founder of The Employee Engagement Group

Deloitte claims up to 83% of all mergers fail.  Learn the secrets to a successful merger program and culture fit as Bob shares his lessons learned from 30 years of mergers, helps you avoid common traps, and provides several practical culture tools to help your firm avoid a costly mistake. 

3A: How to Creatively Recruit in the A/E/C Industry
Jason Williamson, PE, VP of Operations, and Stacy Rebert, Director of HR
/ Dunaway Associates

Learn first-hand how Dunaway Associates best practices in recruiting and retention have enabled them to increase staff by 57% over the past 22 months, while increasing and maintaining a profit margin of 18% AND decreasing attrition by 60%!

2:45 PM - 3:15 PM Networking Break

3:15 PM – 4:15 PM Concurrent Breakout Sessions B

1B: A Real-Time Case Study on Killing the Dreaded Annual Appraisals
Monica Mayott, HR Manager and Matthew Poirier, Executive Vice President
/ Sanborn Head

Learn the bold step Sanborn Head is currently taking in a complete redesign and rollout of an entirely new performance management system. With this new process, Sanborn Head is completely eliminating the annual performance appraisal and replacing it with 12 monthly check-ins comprised of eight informal 10 minute check-ins and four 30 minute more formal check-ins between employees and their supervisors.     

2B: A Case Study in Creating a Corporate Culture That Attracts and Retains the Best and Brightest
Dusty Rood, President & CEO / Rodgers Consulting

Hiring and retaining staff is easy – if you don’t care about the quality of employees you have.  However, recruiting and hanging onto the best and brightest is harder than ever...and it’s going to get even harder in the future.  Top-notch employees are demanding that the firms they work for have a top-notch culture.  Learn specific tactics that Rodgers Consulting has used to establish a corporate culture that has allowed it to recruit and retain the best and brightest along with financial performance that has put it into PSMJ’s prestigious Circle of Excellence for 3 of the past 4 years.

3B: Women in the A/E/C Industry - Challenges, Opportunities & Best Practices
Julia Vaida, HR Manager / Grimshaw

Learn how Grimshaw has developed a best in class Women’s Initiative Program that is yielding very positive results by providing women choices to motivate them to stick to the profession and attain desired goals.

4:15 PM - 4:30 PM Networking Break

4:30 PM – 5:30 PM Re-Imagination Laboratory II (New For 2017!):
Not enough time to fit in all the sessions and topics you wanted to this morning? Don’t worry – your hosts will again teach attendees how to select the most captivating subjects to close out the day’s agenda.  And yes, attendees once more decide on which topic discussions to attend and which topics they might actually want to lead!

5:30 PM Adjourn

5:45 PM – 6:45 PM Cocktail Reception (Sponsored by Deltek) – Join your 2017 A/E/C HR Summit hosts for the start of a fun evening of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.

6:45 PM Dinner/Historic Taverns of New Orleans – This is a great opportunity for conference attendees to renew old friendships and make valuable new ones. TEEG’s Allan Benowitz again leads this always-popular evening activity.


A/E/C HR Summit – Day 2

Friday, April 21, 2017 

7:30 AM – 8:30 AM Networking Breakfast

7:45 AM – 8:30 AM Morning Hot Topic Session: How to Attract, Hire and Onboard Top Talent Without Breaking the Bank
Jorge Rico - Founder / Rico Associates, LLC.

Have you struggled to close the deal with top-notch candidates for your most important openings? Do you find yourself walking away from candidates whom you perceive as too expensive for your budget? Are you concerned that you will not be able to retain these top candidates? Attend this session if you want to learn creative and effective ways to attract, hire and onboard the best candidates without breaking the bank. You learn the following proven practices such as:

    • How to sell the total reward package
    • The do’s and don’ts of negotiating employment offers
    • How creative job opportunities attract the best talent
    • Negotiating win/win offers by leveraging candidates’ extrinsic and intrinsic motivators
    • Effective pre-hire and onboarding best practices to maximize success

8:30 AM – 9:30 AM Host Keynote Presentation: Re-Imagine Your Workforce in 2025! Bold Steps to Shape your Workforce Today for Tomorrow's Challenges
Bob Kelleher - Founder and President / The Employee Engagement Group

Join Bob Kelleher as he brings us into the year 2025, asking us to ‘re-imagine’ how the 'job' will evolve into something we may not recognize, where the millennials have become leaders, where fluid workspaces and the 'always connected' employee has morphed the challenges of work/life balance into work/life integration.  This will be an era where performance reviews will be conducted in real-time, employer branding will define you, and HR has evolved into marketers!  This session provocatively paints a picture of tomorrow while pushing your creative thinking today. 

9:30 AM – 10:00 AM Networking Break

10:00 AM  11:00 AM Concurrent Breakout Sessions C

1C: Taking the Mystery out of Wellness
Tatiana Herrington, Director of HR / Garver USA & Sarah Eanes Palmiero, Wellness Coordinator / Garver USA

Learn how Garver has built a culture of wellness for over 10 years by creating an award-winning, employee-approved program! Understand the business reasons for focusing on wellness: where to start, resources and support needed, HR’s role, the ROI, and of course, the lessons learned. 

2C: How to Link Recruiting and Culture to Differentiate Your A/E/C Firm
Lindsay Pearsall, Talent and Development Specialist / GGLO

Learn how GGLO hired an in house recruiting, retention and culture specialist to pro-actively and strategically link culture and staffing in a proactive way – while also moving HR away from a culture of reactive and compliance focused.

3C: How A Culture of Employee Engagement Led To 50% Growth
Liz Uzzo, VP of Human Resources / H2M

What started out as a leadership transition in 2013, led to a commitment to “right the ship” under new leadership and a commitment to employee engagement.  Learn first-hand the specific initiatives that led to a population growth from 220 to 350 employees.

11:00 AM – 11:15 AM Networking Break 

11:15 AM  12:45 PM Keynote Lunch Presentation: Beyond the Paycheck: The Rewards of Recognition
Dr. Bob Nelson - President / Nelson Motivation, Inc.

Join best-selling author Dr. Bob Nelson as he tells you why you MUST help employees to feel appreciated. Far from being a “fuzzy feel-good notion,” Dr. Nelson illustrates practical ways as to how you can get your managers to treat employees in a manner that maximizes their willingness to use their best efforts on a daily basis. Learn to create an exciting, positive work environment that produces more focused, competitive employees that better serve the strategies of the firm.

12:45 PM – 1:00 PM Closing Comments and Adjourn

1:30 PM Walking Tour of New Orleans
Join PSMJ, TEEG and your fellow colleagues for a walking tour of downtown New Orleans! Learn about the great history of Bourbon Street, jazz, and Cajun food.