2023 Ed Session


May 13–16, 2024 | Grand Hyatt | Washington, DC

Education & Partner Sessions

The world is changing and our industry must adapt or be left behind. Gain insight and practical strategies on issues facing today’s A/E firms including education and partner sessions on topical issues including, engaging the next generation of our workforce, the role of private equity in valuation, and incorporating AI into our firms as we embrace the next frontier of innovation.

Schedule is subject to change.

Tuesday, May 14

10:45 am-11:15 am

Partner Presentation — Understanding and Planning Business Succession Paths

Barry Beal, CAPTRUST

Join Barry to gain an understanding of the variety of business succession paths available to an owner. As a previous business owner, he will provide insight to the M&A market as both an acquirer and as a seller. He will highlight what is required to prepare your firm for sale along with steps that a business owner should consider personally before and after a transition.

10:45 am-11:45 am

Education Session — Leveraging the Power of AI in Your Firm

Bret Tushaus, Deltek

Join an in-depth discussion about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) in a way that's easy to understand. Learn how these technologies are changing the game for engineering firms. Instead of just focusing on definitions, this session explores how AI and ML are making a big difference in the way engineering firms do their work, highlighting real-life examples of how these technologies are shaking up the engineering world.

Education Session — What's Next for the Economy in 2024 and Beyond

Jay Bowman, FMI Corporation; Joe Bates, ACEC Research Institute

The U.S. economy and the A/E/C Industry are constantly evolving with future uncertainties ever-changing. How is the U.S. economy and the industry doing now and what is the forecast for the next five years? Which areas will fare better through a potential recession and which will contract? What are the long-term uncertainties and trends that firms need to be planning for? This session will dive into all of these areas and more!

Education Session — Federal Market Opportunities: How the Permitting Council is Advancing Permitting Excellence to Accelerate Infrastructure Project Delivery

Eric Beightel, Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council

The Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council (Permitting Council), established by Title 41 of the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act (FAST-41) in 2015, is charged with bringing together federal agencies and project sponsors to accelerate and create a more transparent, efficient, predictable, and accountable environmental review and authorization process. During this presentation you'll hear from Eric Beightel, the Executive Director of the Permitting Council, a nationally recognized expert in the environmental and infrastructure fields. During this presentation, Executive Director Beightel will provide information to potential project sponsors and permitting industry representatives about FAST-41 and the benefits of project coverage, including the access it provides to the Permitting Council’s processes, tools, and resources for an improved project permitting experience. The presentation will draw on the experiences of completed and in-progress FAST-41 covered projects from a variety of sectors including renewable energy, energy transmission, water resources, mining, broadband and more. The Permitting Council is also the Permitting Center of Excellence for the federal government and Executive Director Beightel will share key insights and best practices and lessons learned to advance federal permitting review without sacrificing environmental quality and community well being.

Partner Presentation — AI's Role in Securing AEC Data: Paving the Path Forward

Kevin Soohoo, Egnyte

Explore the pivotal role of artificial intelligence in securing data within the architecture, engineering, and construction (AEC) industry. Discover how AI serves as a pragmatic safeguard against data control challenges, mitigating risks such as misplaced sensitive data, storage bloat, and cyber threats. Pave the path forward toward a resilient, data-driven future.

11:15 am-11:45 am

Partner Presentation — "How in the WORLD is My Insurance Premium Calculated?!?" Market Trends, the Factors That Drive Your Firm's Liability Insurance Premiums, and What You Can Control

Roger C. Guilian & Lee Ann Wheeler, Greyling Insurance Brokerage & Risk Consulting, a division of EPIC

Many engineering firms have no clear understanding of what makes up their liability insurance premiums or what factors go into those calculations. Yet, insurance spend is among a firm's most significant costs. Last-minute renewals leave little time or opportunity to explore premium and coverage options. Greyling's Roger Guilian and Lee Ann Wheeler will provide industry insight on the trends and factors that influence your firm's premiums and address the things you can control to manage your total cost of risk.

2:30 pm-3:30 pm

Education Session — Structuring an AEC Professional Services Firm for Innovation

Timothy O'Rourke, Wade Trim

In recent years, the civil engineering consulting industry has rapidly changed in reaction to new technology and fierce competition. Firms must adapt to keep up and those open to embracing flexibility, adopting new technologies and improving client relationships find themselves leading the pack. Learn how Wade Trim, a long-standing consulting firm, changed its organization to focus on both making money and innovation, and how good communication, culture, and processes helped the firm face industry challenges and  keep clients happy with new ideas.

Education Session — Proven Compensation Strategies to Drive Recruiting and Retention

Jeremy Clarke, Zweig Group

How are firms successfully navigating the increasingly competitive recruitment and retention challenges?  Explore the latest data from Zweig Group’s Best Firms To Work For employee survey results, and the latest Total Compensation and Salary reports. Through the perspective of a successful AEC recruiting agency, this session demystifies compensation strategies that help drive employee recruitment and retention.

Partner Presentation — AI and Digital Project Delivery – How to Drive Greater Efficiency for Your Firm Today

Eric DesRoche, Autodesk

Recent years have brought profound change to the AEC industry, prompting the need for innovative approaches to design, collaboration, and project delivery. Join us to discover how Digital Project Delivery, alongside emerging AI capabilities, can empower your firm to meet the challenges of today's competitive landscape.

Partner Presentation — An Industry in Flux: Consulting Engineering in 2024

Jon Escobar, Morrissey Goodale

Jon will reference proprietary and up-to-the-minute market research and intelligence to share how the AE industry is performing and what lies ahead. Topics will include: key performance metrics, long-term trends and the market outlook, plus commentary on industry consolidation and recapitalization, the larger economic picture, and technology/digital deployment.


4:00 pm-5:00 pm

Education Session — Using Technology as a Differentiator: Trends & Takeaways from Across the Engineering-Consulting Industry

Marcus Quigley, EFCG

Rooted in data-driven findings and ongoing work with engineering consulting firms across the industry, this session equips leaders with actionable insights into best practices for identifying key industry technological trends. Explore how firms can strategically leverage technological advancements to improve service delivery and internal operations, with a renewed understanding of the role technology plays in differentiating services.

Education Session — The Impact of Private Equity and M&A on the Valuation of Employee-Owned Firms

Nick Belitz, Morrissey Goodale

This session explores how private equity investments and ongoing mergers and acquisitions impact the value and strategies of employee-owned firms. Explore recent private equity and merger activity in the U.S., pricing trends, and what to expect in 2024 and beyond. Further, examine how a firm's value affects decisions about mergers and acquisitions, hiring and keeping employees, and changing leadership and ownership.

Education Session — How Industry Organizations Can Partner To More Fully Achieve Our DEI&B Initiatives and Elevate Our Industry

Janeen Uzzell, NSBE; Ebonie Wimbish, Airport Minority Advisory Council; Saran Sesay, Howard University

Speakers: April Rai, Conference of Minority Transportation Officials (COMTO); Rochelle Williams, National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE); Sara Stickler, Women in Transportation (WTS); Eboni Wimbush, President & CEO, Airport Minority Advisory Council (AMAC)

This session will be a panel discussion to explore ways in which partner organizations can work with ACEC and our member firms to achieve our goal of achieving a more diverse work force in the Engineering industry.  A lack of engineering talent is the most significant limiting factor for our member firms to grow and to delivery their services. With such a large talent pool that is available in less traditionally and under represented populations, what can we do together to expose these talented people to our industry and attract them to and keep in our firms.

Partner Presentation — The AI Imperative: A Trailblazer’s Perspective

Javier A. Baldor, BST Global

Artificial intelligence and big data are changing the face of the AEC industry. Hence, in April 2024, BST Global brought together 15 senior technology visionaries from the world’s preeminent architecture, engineering, and environmental consultancies to share how they’re preparing for an AI-powered and data-driven future.

BST Global Chief Executive Officer Javier A. Baldor will reflect on the AI Summit, an industry-first event focused on all things AI for the AEC industry, and share exclusive insights derived from the event, including:

    • How to strike a balance between the critical priorities you face today and navigating uncharted waters to strategically position your business for future success
    • What the first few steps on your AI journey can look like and what AI essentials you’ll want in place to achieve long-term success
    • Why traditional business models will be upended with the rise of AI and how to explore new ideas for the future of the industry
    • Examples of real AI use cases happening in our industry that you can implement at your own firm

Wednesday, May 15

10:45 am-11:45 am

Education Session — The AI Advantage: Using AI in Facility Assessments to Improve Your Process & Deliverable

Josh Lowe, AkitaBox

AI-enhanced software is making facility assessments faster, more accurate, and less headache-inducing than ever before. By speeding up manual actions and simplifying complex tasks, AI drastically improves the entire FCA process - bringing advantages such as time savings, improved use of existing labor, and faster offsite data organization.  Explore additional ways AI will continue to enhance facility assessments in the future and delve into the impacts AI can have on building strong firm operations and client relationships.

Education Session — Women's Leadership Forum: Advancing Your Firm and Career at ACEC

Heidi Gordon, ACEC Colorado; Holly Painter, KCI Technologies, Inc

Moderator: Elizabeth Stolfus, Stolfus & Associates

Involvement in member associations not only offers individuals opportunities for building connections, but for strengthening professional knowledge and contributions to the industry. Presented by ACEC stakeholders and leadership, join this session for an in-depth discussion on how to take advantage of your firm’s membership and the path to leadership in one of the industry’s largest trade associations.

Education Session — Growing and Prospering with What Matters Most - the Evolution of Next Gen Leadership and Employee Engagement

Peter C. Atherton, Actions Prove

There’s been a steady and profound evolution in what attracts, inspires, and retains great talent. The average employee engagement strategy is no longer enough. The good news is there is a very clear new formula to help more leaders and firms succeed, while others remain talent starved. Learn what competitive firms are doing differently; the biggest challenges and destabilizing factors that exist today; and how to design a highly desired and sought after “team success ecosystem.”

Partner Presentation — How Microsoft’s Copilot AI can Enhance Productivity and Drive Revenue Growth

Neil Holmes & Drew Cooke, aec360 by HSO

Explore how Generative AI and Microsoft Copilot, backed by a $13B investment in OpenAI, revolutionize AEC industry productivity. Learn practical applications in daily Microsoft tools and how to customize Copilot to meet unique AEC challenges, enhancing client engagement and project management.

Partner Presentation — Enhancing Transparency and Accountability in Engineering Projects through Data

Owen Whitehouse, Applied Software

Discuss how data can be used to improve transparency in project planning and execution, which is crucial for compliance and legal standards. Showcase examples where data transparency has led to improved project outcomes and reduced legal disputes.


1:15 pm-2:15 pm

Education Session — How AI + Big Data will Transform the AEC Industry

Javier A. Baldor, BST Global

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and big data are changing the face of every industry. This session examines how AI can be applied in the A/E/C profession to foster the data-driven consultancy of the future.

Learn how to apply a digital-first strategy that centers on embracing breakthrough innovations and investing in AI and machine learning to gain predictive, project-based insights. This session also explores how adopting these emerging technologies and processes that embrace data intelligence, team intelligence and project intelligence™, can build a data-driven firm for the future.

Education Session — The Impact of Private Equity on the Industry

David Cohen, Matheson Financial Advisory; Tom Secker, Trilon; Rod Sommer, LJB Engineering

The influx of private equity firms investing in the engineering space has had a prolific impact in recent years. This panel discusses the ways that private equity and private equity-backed firms have influenced the industry from the use of technology to human resources and recruiting. Learn how this model will continue to shift the landscape of the A/E/C industry for both private equity-backed and independently owned firms.

Education Session — Ethics as an Enabler: Principles that Push Performance

Adelle Elia & Jerry Jannetti, WSP USA

Whether in-office or a hybrid work environment, growing firms can still establish an ethical culture.  This panel discussion addresses common ethical challenges in the A/E/C industry and offers tips for leaders to create an open environment where issues can be addressed quickly. Additionally, uncover proactive and reactive approaches to ethics and compliance that help foster a culture of ethical decision-making and handles issues effectively. Leave with a three-step action plan and learn strategies for managing ethical culture, just like other aspects of the A/E/C business.