EDConnect19 - Program
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EDConnect19 Program

[NOTE: All times are posted in Eastern Daylight Time. Be sure to mark your calendar accordingly for your time zone.]

October 22, 2019

12:00 - 1:30 PM EDT 

Two Paths to A/E Firm Success

October 22, 2019

3:00 - 4:30 PM EDT

Getting to Know Your Professional Liability Policy 

October 23, 2019

12:00 - 1:00 PM EDT

Attaining Speaking Engagements: Action Steps to Boost Visibility and Demonstrate Expertise

October 23, 2019

3:00 - 4:30 PM EDT

Considerations for Buying & Selling Small Design Firms

October 24, 2019

12:00 - 1:00 PM EDT

Why Companies Get Sued

October 24, 2019

3:00 - 4:30 PM EDT

Disrupt Your A/E Firm! Embracing Business Practices Outside Your Industry to Differentiate and Catapult Success


Presentation and Speaker Details


Two Paths to A/E Firm Success

Speaker: Brad Wilson - Two CPAs & Consultants, Inc.

With his distinctive experience as a principal, consultant, accountant, CFO, and CIO of architecture, engineering, planning, and construction firms, Bradford Wilson brings an indispensable perspective and skill set to every client’s unique situation. Brad has counseled and trained owners and senior managers on financial management, technology, leadership development, strategic planning, valuations, and ownership transition.


Program DescriptionWe have found two very simple themes that almost all successful firms have in common. The management teams of these successful firms focus their time on 1) Making their firms attractive to top talent and 2) making their firms attractive to good clients. Like many management strategies, though, the devil is in the details. How do you make your firm stand out in an increasingly national market of over 100,000 A/E firms with the forces of commoditization and a severe labor shortage working against you? Stated simply, don’t follow the crowd, don’t do what you see most A/E firms doing. This session will show you how!


You will not be disappointed in this 90-minute session. You will walk away understanding the cultural attributes of a high-performance A/E firm, and how A/E firms get into the commoditization trap and how to get out.  You will also learn how to apply accountability without making the firm too focused on numbers and connect marketing strategy to recruitment and retention of good people.


Getting to Know Your Professional Liability Policy

Speaker: Jessica Sharpe - Hall & Company

Jessica Sharpe is an Associate Producer at Hall & Company, an insurance brokerage firm that specializes in the placement of professional liability insurance for design firms and consultants. She has focused solely on insurance for Architects, Engineers, Land Surveyors, and Environmental Consultants since 2007.

Jessica has earned a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and is working on a designation as a Certified Insurance Counselor. These professional designations are marks of distinction that represent ardent commitment to professional excellence and leadership within in the industry.  Jessica works to achieve a full understanding of each client’s needs and enjoys problem-solving. She is motivated to provide her clients with excellence in regards to exceeding the expectations of her clients’ goals and needs.

Program Description: Many firms purchase a professional liability insurance policy hoping they never use it but are mystified by how the policy actually works. This session will help to educate firms about how their policy functions so they can make informed decisions about their policy. Jessica will explain terminology commonly found in Professional Liability policies; explain important clauses found in Professional Liability Policies; and identify key differentiators between policy forms.




Attaining Speaking Engagements: Action Steps to Boost Visibility And Demonstrate Expertise

Speaker: Steve Markman - Markman Speaker Management, LLC

With over 35 years of experience in the speaker and conference arena, Steve Markman is the Founder and President of Markman Speaker Management, LLC, a multi-service speaker agency, founded in 1994. Steve provides customized training and coaching for individuals and companies seeking to learn the processes and strategies of attaining speaking engagements as a proven way to build visibility, generate business leads, raise brand awareness, and demonstrate thought leadership. He has helped hundreds of organizations, particularly professional services firms, secure speaking engagements on a worldwide basis. Steve’s expertise is grounded in previous positions heading up the conference divisions of COMDEX and The Conference Board. Steve writes and presents frequently.

Program Description: Standing out from the crowd to increase visibility and position you and your firm as a 'go-to expert', can be a huge challenge. One proven way to accomplish this objective is through public speaking. In this session you will learn the key steps to ensure your speaking program objectives are met. Attend this session and you will learn the key elements of creating a successful speaker program strategy to increase awareness of your personal or company brand. After this session you will know:

  • How to research and identify the “right” speaking opportunities aimed toward your target audiences.
  • How and when to submit speaker proposals to the event organizers – the formal and informal processes.
  • How to create high-impact and compelling speaker proposals that get accepted



Considerations for Buying & Selling Small Design Firms

Speaker: Victor Vaccaro, Jr. - Dannible/McKee and Associates, Ltd.

Victor W. Vaccaro, Jr., CPA/ABV, CFF, CDA is a principal with over twenty-four years’ experience providing valuation, accounting, and consulting services for Architectural and Engineering Firms. He regularly performs valuations for mergers and acquisitions, internal ownership transfers, and transactions with Employee Stock Ownership Plans. In addition, he specializes in performing business valuations for financial reporting purposes. Vic provides consulting services in the areas of ownership transition, industry benchmarking, profitability enhancement, improved budgeting, and strategic planning initiatives.


Program Description: Acquisitions are not just a consideration for large A/E/C firms! In this session, we will provide information that will empower small design firms to find a path to an external sale, while also helping possible acquirers successfully acquire small design firms that will help compliment their business. During this session you will start to: 

  • Understand Valuation Multiples for Small Design Firms
  • Evaluate Possible Transaction Structures and the Impact on Both Buyers and Sellers
  • Consider Critical Steps to Take Before the Transaction
  • Plan for an Effective Integration After the Transaction


Why Companies Get Sued

Speaker: Keith Chrestionson - Fox Rothschild LLP

Named to Northern California "Super Lawyers" in the area of Labor and Employment Law by Super Lawyers Magazine (2005-2013, 2016-2019), Keith Chrestionson serves as a member of the firm’s Executive Committee. His practice focuses on business and employment litigation and counseling, with extensive experience in the retail, staffing and manufacturing industries.

Program Description: Learn practical advice on preventing litigation from employees, including bullying and respect issues, especially in the era of the #Me Too. If avoiding litigation, saving company resources, and creating a work environment that is conducive to success is important to you, you will not want to miss this important session! Hot topic lawsuit issues will also be addressed.




Disrupt Your A&E Firm! Embracing Business Practices Outside Your Industry to Differentiate and Catapult Success

Speaker: June Jewell - AEC Business Solutions

June R. Jewell, CPA, is a leading expert on business success in the Architecture and Engineering industry, and author of the best-selling book, Find the Lost Dollars: 6 Steps to Increase Profits in Architecture, Engineering, and Environmental FirmsJune and her team guide A&E firm leaders to reach top level industry profits by getting their employees to take ownership in their firm’s success and be financial guardians for their projects and clients.

Through her extensive work with hundreds of A&E firms over the last 30 years, June has discovered that the key to business success is the firm’s employees and what they do every day that either waste time and leak profits or help the firm to grow and prosper.

Program DescriptionTimes have changed in the world of business, but many A&E firms have been slow to keep up. Looking outside the A&E industry at tech and other industries we can discover innovative approaches to some of our biggest issues. This session will challenge many of the norms that have existed for decades in the A&E industry. We will look at how other industries have developed solutions to many of the challenges A&E firms face today including employee recruiting and retention, marketing, technology, competition and client service and discuss how these approaches might be implemented in our firms to boost business success and profits.




SDA is an approved AIA CES Provider

All educational programs have been approved for AIA CEUs = 8.0 total hours




SDA Member


Single Day Registration-Two Sessions (by October 4)      



Single Day Registration-Two Sessions (after October 4)



Full Conference Registration-Six Sessions (by October 4)  



Full Conference Registration-Six Sessions (after October 4) 





Payment:  Accepted forms of payment are Visa, MasterCard, American Express or check.

If you wish to pay by check, complete the online registration and select the “Pay by Check/ Money Order” option. Print out your invoice and mail with your check to Society for Design Administration, 7014 Old US Highway 68, Georgetown, OH 45121. Payment must be postmarked no later than October 4, 2019 to take advantage of the Early-Bird Discount. Refunds will NOT be provided for no-shows.



Begin Your Registration

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7014 Old US Highway 68
Georgetown, OH 45121

(M-TH 9am -4pm Eastern)