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    2018 Zweig Group Hot Firm + A/E Industry Awards Conference

    The 2018 Zweig Group Hot Firm + A/E Industry Awards Conference, Sept. 20-21 in Dallas, is billed as the industry’s largest and most comprehensive business conference for leaders and aspiring leaders of AEC firms in the United States. The conference agenda includes topics on technology, leadership challenges, business planning, marketing methods, recruiting and retention, and growth strategies. In addition, winners of Zweig Group awards will share their success stories.

    One keynote address will be presented by Jay Steinfeld, founder and CEO of Blinds.com, a Home Depot Company. Steinfeld was an early mover in e-commerce, in 1993 bootstrapping his website built in his garage for just $1,500 into the world’s top online window covering store. Home Depot acquired Blinds.com in 2014. Blinds.com has been awarded 50 Most Engaged Workplaces in America, Top 5 Workplaces in Texas, Houston’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work, and Best Customer Service Department of the Year, among other honors. He is an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, has earned a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Houston Technology Center, and writes a column for Inc. Magazine entitled Chief Effective Officer. Steinfeld is an advocate and frequent speaker on how company culture and authentic core values drive profitable growth.

    Another keynote speaker is Christopher Parsons, founder and CEO of Knowledge Architecture. Responsible for research and development, sales and marketing, and corporate operations, Parsons is the executive producer of KA Connect, an annual knowledge management conference for the AEC industry. He has been a technology leader in the AEC industry since 2002, including serving as chief information officer for Steinberg Architects and information technology director for SMWM (now Perkins+Will).


    During four sessions, the following speakers will provide expert advice on a range of business topics relevant to AEC firms.

    Dawson Fercho, vice president of business development and co-founder of Corporate Tax Advisors, Inc., is also an IRS Enrolled Agent admitted to practice before the Internal Revenue Service and licensed by the U.S. Department of Treasury. He has more than 20 years of consulting experience, 15 years exclusively focused on the Federal Research Tax Credit, working with small to mid-size manufacturing, technology, engineering, architecture, and construction clients.

    James Swabowski, senior vice president, Wintrust ESOP Financial, is responsible for managing a portfolio of national, ESOP-owned and closely held, privately owned companies. He also supports new business growth by developing creative and competitive financing structures, as well as providing counsel to clients on a range of business decisions, including succession planning and other merger and acquisition activity.

    Patrick Stoltz, managing director, Wintrust ESOP Financial, leads the company’s national ESOP lending practice, providing competitive financing solutions to ESOP-owned companies. He has 26 years of commercial banking experience and a proven track record of developing and building relationships, financial analysis and risk management, and staff development.

    Matt Doucet is managing director of Wintrust Construction, Engineering & Architecture (CE&A) Group. He leads the bank’s national CE&A lending practice, providing competitive financing solutions to the firms that support the construction industry. Doucet has spent the last 28 years working with CE&A firms in the surety and banking industry, partnering exclusively during the last 13 years with CE&A firms regionally and nationally, providing financing solutions to help achieve operational goals and objectives.

    June R. Jewell, CPA, president and CEO, AEC Business Solutions, is a business management consultant to the AE industry and author of the book, Find The Lost Dollars: 6 Steps to Increase Profits in Architecture, Engineering, and Environmental Firms. For more than 25 years she ran a successful business and Deltek consulting practice, and is now focused on working with AE firm leaders to help them improve their processes and systems, and give them the tools they need to be able to hold their employees and managers accountable to increase profitability.

    Matt Jordan, regional sales director for project delivery in North America, has been with Bentley Systems for 11 years, primarily focused on the utility industry, working with clients in the generation, transmission, and distribution segments of electric, gas, water, and wastewater networks. Currently he leads a team of account managers in support of key partners within the engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance, and operations industries. His team is responsible for developing and supporting digital transformation strategies through provisioning integrated project delivery applications.

    Mark Enos is a senior application specialist at Bentley Systems and is primarily focused on Bentley’s Solutions for Buildings and Facilities. He has spent almost 20 years at Bentley Systems, with 10 years previous industry experience as a project architect and CAD manager at several leading design firms. Duties at Bentley Systems include certified product demonstrations, training, deployment, and project coaching at a variety of design and engineering firms, owner operators, and government agencies.

    The Hot Firm + A/E Industry Awards Conference culminates Friday evening, Sept. 21, with a black-tie awards reception, banquet, and ceremony, recognizing firms and individuals for the following Zweig Group awards:

    • 2018 Hot Firm List (https://zweiggroup.com/2018-hot-firm-list),
    • 2018 Best Firms To Work For (https://zweiggroup.com/2018-best-firms-to-work-for-winners), 
    • 2018 Marketing Excellence Award (winners not announced as of press time),
    • Top New Venture (winners not announced as of press time),
    • Jerry Allen Courage in Leadership Award (winner not announced as of press time), and
    • 2018 Rising Stars in Civil + Structural Engineering (https://csengineermag.com/article/2018-rising-stars-civil-structural-engineering). 

    More information about the Hot Firm + A/E Industry Awards Conference and registration options are available at https://zweiggroup.com/2018-hot-firm-conference.

    Information provided by Zweig Group (www.zweiggroup.com), publisher of Civil + Structural Engineer.