THRIVE 2016 Agenda


Wednesday, October 12th


9:00 am- 10:00 am

Pre-Conference Registration

10:00 am- 12:00 pm

Pre-Conference Sessions Commence


Pre-Conference Session A - Growth Planning Workshop: Growing Your Firm without Breaking Apart
John Doehring, CMC, Executive Leader, PSMJ Resources, Inc.
Bill Hinsley, Consultant, PSMJ Resources, Inc.

For many architecture, engineering, and environmental firm leaders, growth is scary.  Rapid expansion of company prospects is exhilarating, but also exhausting.  And new opportunities come with risks – including falling back into bad habits (lack of strategic intention, demanding and unprofitable clients, hiring the wrong people, loss of company culture).  It doesn’t have to be this way.  Join other A/E/C executive leaders in this highly interactive, hands-on workshop, and ‘test drive’ some real world scenarios and strategies to meet the growth challenges and opportunities of the industry today. Based on actual case studies of successful (and not so successful) A/E/C firms, we’ll dive in deep to uncover practical, pragmatic, and actionable steps for sustainably growing your firm.

A few highlights from this all new program include:

  • How to create overarching objectives that light the way forward and motivate real action;
  • Choosing the best path and pace of growth– and whether an acquisition could be right for you;
  • The five regrets of leaders who pursued largely unsustainable growth;
  • Why growth sucks up cash, and how to avoid growing your way into bankruptcy;
  • Creating a sales-oriented culture with more ‘pie makers’ to keep the backlog coffers full;
  • Developing leaner, more efficient operations that preserve and grow the bottom line;
  • The secrets of hiring and creating great teams, and building a culture of sustainable success;
  • And so much more.

Whether you are currently growing like crazy, or trying your best to sit out the latest boom and bust cycle, this pre-conference workshop will give you an entirely new perspective on growth – and what it really means for you, your staff, and your firm. Please join us and chart your own course forward to sustainable growth - without breaking apart.


Pre-Conference Session B - Leadership Development Workshop: Creating a Pipeline of Inspiring, Passionate, and Motivated Future Leaders
Frank A. Stasiowski, FAIA, Founder and CEO, PSMJ Resources, Inc.

The scarcity of new leaders is the biggest bottleneck for too many succession plans.  The math and mechanics on the ‘ownership’ transition side of the equation make sense, but the pipeline and process on the ‘leadership’ transition side is virtually non-existent.  In many A/E/C firms, the whole succession plan is at jeopardy because there aren’t enough qualified and groomed future leaders coming up in the ranks, and often there is no objective process to assess how future leaders will execute once chosen.

Using actual case studies of highly-successful A/E/C leadership development programs, this workshop gives you first-hand immersion into key points such as:

  • How to assess every new hire or future principal for leadership potential.
  • 7 things  the most successful succession plans have in common.
  • 5 must-have components to any leadership development program.
  • How to see the 3 tell-tale signs that someone just isn’t cut out for ownership or leadership.
  • The 5 biggest mistakes that we keep seeing in leadership development.
  • And much more.

Come prepared to discuss your specific leadership development program challenges and questions.  And, be ready to ‘stress test’ your own leadership development program or just take in dozens of great ideas to develop a "best-in-class" program.


12:00 pm- 1:30 pm

Pre-Conference Lunch Presentation

Competitive Proposals for the A/E/C Industry
Steve Schultz, Ph.D., President, Writing at Work

How is it that in such a competitive industry, so many A/E/C proposals sound so much alike—and make the same mistakes? So when over 50 local and national firms submit proposals to widen an intersection or to design and construct a replacement bridge, what are the odds that your firm’s proposal makes it to the short list? Given the competition—for big jobs and small—how do you guide your team to get your proposal to the top of stack?

Combining the best of technical writing and marketing, this presentation focuses on how to write winning proposals that create an immediate favorable impression, help evaluators quickly find and assess the important information, and avoid the habitual gaffes that send proposals to the discard pile without a second thought.

1:30 pm- 5:00 pm

Pre-Conference Sessions Continue (Networking breaks will occur throughout this period)

5:00 pm

Pre-Conference Sessions Conclude

6:00 pm- 8:30 pm

Welcome Cocktail Reception & Dinner (For all THRIVE 2016 Attendees)

Thursday, October 13th


7:00 am- 8:00 am

Registration and Breakfast

8:00 am- 8:15 am


8:15 am- 9:30 am

Keynote Session: PSMJ's Annual Economic State of the A/E Industry Address


Presented by: Dave Burstein, P.E., Principal, PSMJ Resources, Inc.

This data-rich annual address is consistently ranked as one of the highlights of the conference by our attendees.  You get a first-hand look at some of PSMJ’s latest data and thinking on A/E/C market conditions.  But, more than just sharing a bunch of high-level data and trends, Dave digs deep to explain exactly why key client markets are behaving the way they are and what you need to be doing right now to position for constant change and to capitalize on the opportunities that lie ahead.

Here's a sneak peak of last year's address: Hot Markets in 2016

9:30 am- 10:00 am

Networking Break

10:00 am- 11:00 am

Breakout Sessions


Breakout Session 1A: Creating One Unifying Culture Across Multiple Offices
Bill Hinsley, Consultant- PSMJ Resources, Inc.  

Breakout Session 1B: Using Earned Value to Manage Your Projects
Brian Siefkes, Product Marketing Manager- Deltek  

Breakout Session 1C: Creating a Better Business by Design
Jenifer Navard, Principal, Director of Finance - Eskew+Dumez+Ripple  

Breakout Session 1D: Change Ahead: Planning and Executing a Successful Ownership Transition
John Lawlor, Chief Operating Officer - Maugel Architects, Inc.  

Breakout Session 1E: Optimize the Collective Knowledge of Your Employee Demographics
Vince DiPofi, Executive Vice President Chief Strategy Officer - SSOE Group and Mark LaBell, Jr., Senior VDC Technical Leader and Senior Associate - SSOE Group  


11:00 am- 11:30 am

Networking Break

11:30 am- 12:30 pm

Breakout Sessions


Breakout Session 2A: Getting Your A/E Firm (and Yourself) ready for Your Retirement
Brad Wilson, Consultant- PSMJ Resources, Inc.  

Breakout Session 2B: How New Tax Law Changes Allow You to Capture R&D Tax Credits
Dawson Fercho, Partner- Corporate Tax Advisors, Inc.  

Breakout Session 2C: A Brave New World: Who Will Survive and Who Will Thrive When Technology Reshapes the A/E/C Industry?
Barry LePatner, Founder- LePatner & Associates  

Breakout Session 2D: Position Now for the Future of Business Development
Paula Ryan, FSMPS, CPSM, Director of Marketing- Jezerinac Geers & Associates, Inc.  

Breakout Session 2E: The Five Biggest Factors Holding Your Project Managers Back
James Sebesta, Independent Board Director, Former Founder and Chief Executive Officer - Wenck  

12:30 pm- 1:30 pm

Networking Lunch

1:30 pm- 2:30 pm

Breakout Sessions


Breakout Session 3A: M&A Market Trends & Best Practices for Buyers & Sellers
Karl Wohler, Consultant- PSMJ Resources, Inc.  

Breakout Session 3B: Killer KPIs that High-Performing Firms Live By
Andy Yeomans, US Director of Business Development- SAGlobal, Inc.  

Breakout Session 3C: A Model of High-Performance: What do COE Firms do Different?
Dave Burstein, P.E., Principal - PSMJ Resources, Inc.
Michael Kuppinger, P.E., Ph.D., Executive Performance Officer - Kuppinger Consulting  

Breakout Session 3D: Creating a Culture of Busines-Centered-Practice
Peter G. Smith, AIA, President and Chief Executive Officer - BWBR 

Breakout Session 3E: Developing Leaders Within Your Organization: A Strategic Approach
Tim Griffin, P.E., MBA, LEED AP, Partner and Branch Manager- RMF Engineering, Inc.& Duane Pinnix, President- RMF Engineering, Inc.   


2:30 pm- 3:00 pm

Networking Break

3:00 pm- 4:15 pm

Keynote Session: Achieving Growth and Success through an Unconventional Approach


Presented by: John Atz, P.E., President and CEO, Kimley-Horn

For almost 50 years, Kimley-Horn has made a habit of charting their own course. A unique mix of passionate client service and commitment to employees has led the firm to a national presence with over 2,600 employees in 80 offices across the country. Along the way, Kimley-Horn has leveraged many of the positive attributes of smaller firms while bucking many of the practices of large ones. The result: a firm recognized by PSMJ as a 2016 Circle of Excellence member and by ENR as a Top Pure Design Firm (#15).  Additionally, Kimley-Horn has earned nine-time recognition as one of Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For. Join their President and CEO, John C. Atz, P.E. as he discusses their unconventional approach to growth. John will touch on topics such as the firm’s organizational structure around practice builders, the benefits of functioning as a single profit center, and how they transition ownership without drama.

4:15 pm- 4:30 pm

Day 1 Closing Remarks

6:00 pm- 7:00 pm

Cocktail Reception

7:00 pm- 8:30 pm

Circle of Excellence, Platinum and Premier Awards Celebration

8:30 pm- 9:30 pm

Awards Celebration After-Party

Friday, October 14th


7:15 am- 8:00 am


7:15 am- 8:00 am

Award Winner Breakfast (Private)

8:00 am- 8:30 am

Welcome Back Remarks

8:30 am- 9:45 am

Keynote Session: Think Big, Act Bigger: The Rewards of Being Relentless 


Presented by: Jeffrey Hayzlett, Keynote Speaker, Hayzlett Group

Following the success of his prime-time show, C-Suite With Jeffrey Hayzlett, companies and events always want to know what is the secret behind the success of entrepreneurs and executives who can move mountains."I’ve owned franchises, ran small businesses (and sold over 200 of them), and I have been the CMO of a Fortune 500 company. I’ve learned that in every business and in every industry, limitations exist everywhere - mostly in our minds and in the stories we tell ourselves. Getting past these limitations is hard work.  My new book and keynote focus on the attitude we need to overcome the obstacles that face our businesses every day. No one is coming to save us, none of us will win the lottery. Everyone can think big, the art is in acting bigger.

9:45 am- 10:15 am

Networking Break

10:15 am- 11:15 am

Breakout Sessions


Breakout Session 4A: Hope is Not a Strategy: Navigating Change in a Growing Firm
Michelle Mongeon Allen, Chief Operating Officer- JLG Architects  

Breakout Session 4B: Creating a Profitable Culture
June Jewell, President- AEC Business Solutions  

Breakout Session 4C: Tales of Flexibility: Moving from One Generation of Ownership to the Next
Korey Walker, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Financial Officer - Epic Engineering  

Breakout Session 4D: Improving Project Performance in a Changing World
Brian Wacker, PE, Vice President - Robert Peccia and Associates 

Breakout Session 4E: The Butterfly Effect & Its Impact on A/E/C Firms
Scott Butcher FSMPS, CPSM, Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer - JDB Engineering, Inc. & William R. Long, P.E. LEED AP, FSMPS, Principal and Vice President - Canuso Jorden  

11:15 am- 11:45 am

Networking Break

11:45 am- 12:45 pm

Breakout Sessions


Breakout Session 5A: How to Build a Firm of REAL Seller-Doers
Ken Tichacek, Consultant- PSMJ Resources, Inc.  

Breakout Session 5B: Good Tax Strategy = Stronger Cash Flow = Funds to Grow!
Thomas J. Moul, CPA, Principal and Director of Strategic Tax Services- Stambaugh Ness, PC  

Breakout Session 5C: 10 Practices That Are Killing Your Project Profitability
Shafat Qazi, Chief Executive Officer and Founder- BQE Software, Inc.  

Breakout Session 5D: Learned the Hard Way: 6 Lessons I've Learned Running a Design Firm
Mike Phillips, AIA, Owner- Phillips Architecture   

Breakout Session 5E: Tackling Your Transition in the Face of a Millennial Leader
Gregory Buccola P.E., SE Vice President- Luckett & Farley  


12:45 pm- 1:30 pm

Networking Lunch

1:30 pm- 2:45 pm

Keynote Session: The Five Inviolate Laws of Extraordinary Execution


Presented by: John Doehring, CMC, Executive Leader, PSMJ Resources, Inc. 

What is it that separates the good performers from the great ones – who truly thrive in business and in life? In a word, it’s execution.  Successful professionals, entrepreneurs, and business owners know that ideas and plans only go so far (and in the end won’t be worth much at all) without effective action.  In fact, given today’s highly competitive business environment, and the transformative, Fast Future changes that likely lie ahead -  sustained execution and performance are likely to become the most important strategic competitive advantages in the organization.  So if you’re ready to stop talking and get busy getting stuff done (including taking action on what you’ve seen and heard at Thrive2016) then don’t miss this conference closing session – and the five inviolate laws of extraordinary execution!

2:45 pm- 3:00 pm

Closing Remarks

3:30 pm- 6:00 pm

One-on-One Consultations

Must be scheduled in advance. Visit the One-on-One Consultation table in Symphony Foyer for more information or fill out our consultation request form here.