Monday, August 10th

2:00 PM - 4:00 PM

Optional Pre-Summit Workshop
Navigating Legal Risks in Recruiting and Retaining in a Remote Environment: How A/E/C firms Can Avoid Discrimination Claims, Limit Liability, and Build an Effective Workforce

Charles Plumb smol BWAttorney Charlie Plumb represents management in all phases of employment law and labor relations, including compliance with state and federal regulations. He leads programs on best practices for avoiding legal missteps in the recruiting process and conflict arising from the employer/employee relationship.

Charlie will provide plain English instructions for how to spot and eliminate A/E/C remote employee recruiting and management practices that can trigger a complaint with regulatory agencies, even an expensive lawsuit. His workshop at A/E/C PeopleMAX drew rave reviews and we are honored to have him back. 

Tuesday, August 11th
11:00 AM - 11:45 AM

Welcome and Opening Session: KPIs for Better A/E/C Remote Team Management

Bill Hinsley | PSMJ Resources

Hinsley_Bill BWThe pandemic has many Project Managers working remotely for the first time. As the weeks drag on, more and more firms are starting to see a decline in productivity. In his opening session, A/E/C project management expert Bill Hinsley spells out the new KPIs that help principals keep projects under budget and team leaders on track.

11:45 AM - 12:00 PM


12:00 PM - 12:25 PM

A/E/C Ransom Attacks on the Rise! Empower Employees as Your First Line of Defense

Laura Ledbetter, CIC | Hall & Company


Historically, cyber criminals looked at A/E/C firms as targets of opportunity…  Meaning if the door is left wide open, they will walk in.  Today’s WFH business model has left many doors wide open.  In recent months, we have seen a shift to A/E/C firms now being targets of choice.  Due to the nature of A/E/C work under non-disclosure agreements, it increases the likelihood that a firm will pay a ransom to avoid publication of hijacked data.  That means cyber criminals have a greater incentive to target A/E/C firms.  When you combine an increase in opportunity as a result of a WFH workforce and a higher chance of payout of ransom, you have today’s threat level which A/E/C firms are facing.

Join AssuredPartners’ Executive Cyber Leader, Laura Ledbetter, to review an A/E/C firm case study, learning what went wrong and how the firm made their way through it.  In this session we will also go over risk control strategies you can implement to decrease the likelihood that you will fall victim to cyber criminals. This includes training your employees as your first line of defense.  Mitigating cyber risk is everyone’s job in today’s new workplace.  Empower your employees to protect your firm.

12:25 PM - 12:45 PM

Optimizing Your Medical Plan: Break Barriers of Employee Cost & Care

Scott Mayer | AssuredPartners

Scott Mayer_2Healthcare plans are often confusing and the burden often lays with your employee to decide the best course of treatment with their practitioner of choice.  But procedure costs fluctuate between providers, facilities, and geographies by up 1,000% - and that higher cost of care doesn’t always equate to higher-quality care. Join AssuredPartners’ Director of Data Analytics Scott Mayer for a plain English tutorial on what you can do to help employees make smarter choices and control your firms’ costs, all while maintaining the value proposition of your benefits package. In this session, you learn strategies to optimize your medical plan through cost and care navigation, including real life examples of how A/E/C firms have been able to see a dramatic dip in their annual medical spend.

12:45 PM - 1:00 PM

Networking Break

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Is Remote Hiring the New Normal? Fresh Survey Data Shows How The Pandemic is Changing A/E/C Talent Acquisition

Chris Vennitti | The Addison Group

vennitti linkedinNo A/E/C firm has gone untouched by the COVID-19 pandemic. Organizations across the globe have been forced to adjust their operations as well as the way they support their customers and workforces — and all of it relies on skilled employees to see it through. With this in mind, hiring managers have quickly replaced traditional processes with virtual solutions and discovered new ways to hire efficiently, while also juggling the stress and distractions of a global crisis.

In the face of major societal change, hiring managers, HR teams and staffing firms are wondering what changes are on the hiring horizon: When will the “new normal” arrive and how will we navigate it?

To get a pulse on the current state of hiring and the trends that are shaping the best ways to do it, talent sourcing experts at the Addison Group asked 500 hiring managers across the U.S. how they’ve adjusted processes during the pandemic, what organizational changes they’ve implemented and experienced, and which of these changes will permanently affect the way we do business. In this eye-opening session - one that that may force a major rethink on how you hire - they unpack the results of their survey and draw data-backed conclusions about the best ways to execute the process of hiring the superior A/E/C talent just waiting to start contributing at your firm. You get the insights and guidance you need to establish best practices for hiring in the midst of a crisis. Plus tools to prepare for the new hiring landscape currently taking shape.


1:45 PM - 2:00 PM

Networking Break

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

Is Your Firm's Culture Consistent? How Kimley-Horn Maximizes Employee Productivity in a Virtual Environment

Lori Hall, Senior Vice President | Kimley-Horn

Hall_Lori_raw BWKimley-Horn is more than a 4000+ employee engineering and design powerhouse. It’s also a firm that achieves remarkable employee performance metrics by taking talent management and workplace culture development VERY seriously. In this revealing presentation, Kimley-Horn Senior Vice President Lori Hall shares recruitment and retention lessons the firm has learned over its 50 years of growing into the success it is today, and what the firm did to be recognized 12 times as one of FORTUNE’s “100 Best Companies to Work For.” You'll hear how to drive growth through a structured strategy for building and maintaining a superior culture and work environment, even when teams are physically distanced due to COVID mitigation. , that attracts, develops, motivates and retains top talent.


2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Networking Break

3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

Avoid The Coming A/E/C Productivity Crash: Prevent Burnout, Increase Engagement, and Inspire Excellence in Remote Employees

Peter Atherton, P.E. | ActionsProve LLC

Peter Atherton large web

A/E/C firms newly adopting Work-From-Anywhere policies in response to the COVID-19 crisis are starting to see decreasing productivity and increasing burnout and disengagement.

Are your firm’s leaders aware of factors that contribute to it? Have you designed and implemented solutions to reverse and prevent this revenue killer and position your firm to grow in a new workplace, marketplace, and recruiting space? Learn from a leading expert on A/E/C burnout how work-life seasons and ongoing shifts can shape how you design personal and organization-based solutions that keep key contributors fully engaged and growing. He explains how to:

  • Embrace a new approach to talent management that aligns with demographic and societal shifts
  • Reverse the Burnout-Disengagement Cycle hitting the A/E/C industry as remote work isolation takes its toll.
  • Increase leadership awareness of the problems inherent in the WFA shift
  • Measure true employee engagement, and how to increase it in the COVID era.
  • Attract, engage, and inspire our best employees by design for more than an “experience”
Wednesday, August 12th
12:00 PM - 12:45 PM

Socially Conscious Social Media Recruiting: How to Attract Hot A/E Talent in an Ever-Changing Market

JJ Nelson
Director of Brand Communication | Bergmeyer

jjNELSON BWEconomic upheaval brought about by the COVID-19 crisis has led to massive headcount reductions at specialty A/E firms, and opened the door for smart talent professionals seeking to fill key roles with gifted designers and engineers. How will you find them, attract them, and land them before they get snatched up by another firm? JJ Nelson directs Bergmeyer’s brand communication strategies, including how the architecture + design collaborative positions itself in the talent market. In this session, you will learn how Bergmeyer revised elements of its 2020 Cross Channel Communication Strategy to market the employee experience and position itself as a great place to work. Using this real-world case study, see how to put your program in place, identify internal influencers, encourage employees to share why working at your firm is so great, and reduce the time it takes to fill open positions. You learn:

  • How to lay the groundwork for your talent pipeline through conversations with applicants - even if they aren't the right fit
  • Telling human-centered thought leadership stories that champion your employees as industry experts
  • How to incorporate BLM awareness and social justice commitments into your talent acquisition efforts
  • Engaging, relevant and insightful content ideas for your social media channels that attract candidates
  • Linking your firm's Corporate Social Responsibility activities to its brand
  • Integrating your branding/workplace culture topics and goals into your yearly PR strategy and plan to enhance brand credibility
  • Rapidly adapt and pivot your brand’s messaging with empathy and authenticity through the unexpected
12:45 PM - 1:00 PM

A/E/C Employer of Choice® Award Winners Announcement

Employer of Choice AWARD_LOGO_2020_FINAL smolJoin us to acknowledge the 2020 winners of the A/E/C Employer of Choice® Award, the ONLY award that proves to candidates that a firm is a great place to work. It's a true talent recruiting magnet for any position and recognition of the hard work HR professionals put into improving employee engagement. See full details and entry instructions here

1:00 PM - 1:45 PM

Connection and Mentoring Roadmap for a Remote World: How JLG Architects Keeps Top Talent Engaged and Productive

Michelle Allen, CEO
JLG Architects

MichelleAllen As we struggle to adapt to the new remote work reality, the lack of regular physical interaction with colleagues, and workdays that seem to have no end point, is staring to pull down A/E/C  productivity and morale. JLG Architects, a 100-strong multi-office firm based in Minneapolis, recognized years ago that the soul and future of the company is in keeping its young professionals engaged, so it designed and implemented JLGdna – a comprehensive training, mentorship, and social connection program for emerging leaders. Forbes magazine noted it “has been remarkably successful over the past seven years, shaving more than a year off of the national average for licensure and enjoying a 80+% retention rate of individuals who have moved through this program.”

Learn how you can implement some or all of JLGdna's 7 core elements to develop and grow talent working remotely, through a collaborative program supporting strengths and goals:

  • Structured monthly training that introduces information about firm culture that would normally take months or years to learn independently, if at all
  • AXP support that shaves the average of time it takes an architect to be licensed from 6.5 years to JLG’s 3.7.  JLG’s in-house AXP Coordinator helps DNAers navigate career development by keeping their time is logged and hard-to-achieve hours achieved.
  • A travel program that builds relationships both internally and externally by “vacationing” rising A/E talent in different office locations. They engage in the community, get to know colleagues and deep-dive into specific design phases.
  • Monthly design pin-ups where teams participate in charrettes to flex their design muscles and share their ideas.
  • Peer mentorship that support a commitment to a supportive, non-competitive environment where talent can thrive.
  • Social events that people actually like, based on ongoing dialogue and constant fine-tuning.
  • JLGives Back,  a program that gives rising talent time to go into their communities –schools, civic groups, and more to engage with future architects and make a difference.
1:45 PM - 2:00 PM

Networking Break

2:00 PM - 2:45 PM

The New A/E/C Talent Imperative: Make Your Best Business Case for Improved Diversity and Inclusion

Susan Israel, AIA
PSMJ Resources

Israel_BW_2-1Improving Equity, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) should be at the forefront of A/E/C strategic planning initiatives because it’s critical for long-term success in the recruiting, retention, and business development arena. But how can you convince key players at every level of your firm to make it a priority? How can your firm improve diversity in leadership roles? Applying the results of the AIA’s most recent research, we show how to narrow your focus and apply the most practical ways to improve EDI. Whether you identify as a leader or a member of a team, you’ll learn how to make the business case for building a more inclusive culture that helps your firm:

  • Recruit the best talent
  • Bring new clients and more work from existing clients
  • Improve its culture
  • Boost creativity and problem-solving
  • Strengthen community ties
  • Keep ahead of trends in a changing world
2:45 PM - 3:00 PM

Networking Break

3:00 PM - 3:45 PM

Developing Your Next Generation of A/E/C Leaders – What Will It Take?

Kristi Weierbach, Ph.D., SHRM-SCP
Stambaugh Ness

Weierbach_Kristi BWPlenty of data says giving your star designers and engineers a career growth plan is key to retaining them. And you know that to stay successful, your firm’s leadership pipeline has to stay full. But with generational shifts, changing expectations for work/life balance, and technology advances changing the way work is performed, and by whom, it’s not easy. How can you not only stay ahead, but gain a competitive advantage? Join Kristi Weierbach, Ph.D., SPHR, as she explores what your firm MUST do today to cultivate NextGen leaders. You learn how to get ahead of leadership demands by analyzing people, processes, and technology to leverage strengths, identify skill gaps, implement training, and reimagine your overall workforce design and architecture. Transitioning employees into leadership roles is more than assigning a role to the next in line, it’s strategic, and requires a merging of technology, soft skills, and strengths and talents that you may not even know you need. in this session, you'll learn how to:

  • Structure your workforce, and your leadership pipeline, to ensure a bright future
  • Identify needed skills and competencies
  • Position your firm as a talent destination
3:45 PM - 4:00 PM

Closing Remarks

*Topics and agenda subject to change
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