By Chad Clinehens

At this year’s ElevateAEC Conference, we’ll celebrate and show the world what a successful career in AEC looks like.

What makes the Elevate AEC Conference & Awards Gala different? The mission and the energy behind it. Launched in 2018, the rebranded event reflects Zweig Group’s vision to “elevate the industry.” “Elevate the industry” means a lot of things. At its core, it is a recruiting and retention revolution, and it is a logical, yet magical evolution of Zweig Group’s long-standing mission to drive performance and purpose in AEC firms. The value creation and transformation of firms through Zweig Group’s numerous resources over the past 34 years has elevated the industry. When we launched this new big idea in 2018, I used John F. Kennedy’s quote, “A rising tide lifts all ships,” to paint a picture of what we are trying to do – work together to show the world the incredible impact this profession has on every human, and that you can make a good living doing this important work. Since 2018, the Elevate AEC Conference & Awards Gala has been the platform for people to gather to network, learn, and celebrate – all important pillars of the event and the vision.

There have been a number of things inspired by “elevate the industry,” but there’s one in particular that we know is going to change the world: ElevateHER. ElevateHER, as the manifestation of our belief that diversity brings about positive change, is an initiative to better the future of the AEC industry. This movement is a commitment to embrace, promote, and ensure equal opportunities for everyone in the AEC industry regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnicity, and thus recruit and retain the best in the industry, and I am thrilled we’ll be able to kick off ElevateAEC this year with the first in-person symposium for ElevateHER.

Overall, the ElevateAEC Conference will facilitate the largest in-person gathering of industry leaders, the ElevateHER cohorts, and award-winning firms, all interested in advancing the “elevate the industry” vision. Here is more about what we have in store September 14-16 in Las Vegas:

ElevateHER Symposium – September 14. This program was launched in 2020 with virtual symposiums for the first two years. The virtual platform provided access to a much larger audience, however, we know the value of meeting in-person and this year we will welcome all three years of cohorts. The 2022 ElevateHER Symposium will be a combination of inspiring talks, roundtable discussions, and presentations from the 2022 ElevateHER cohorts. The 2022 ElevateHER cohort members met at the program kickoff in April, and received resources such as presentation coaching, training, Zweig Group research, and networking opportunities. They have since been working on smaller project groups on self-chosen topics, creating a focused deliverable to be shared with the rest of the industry at the symposium on September 14. Project topics run the gamut, and include a variety of methods to increase interest in AEC career paths, support for those at all stages of their career, resources for those looking to improve their workplace environment, diversify their firm, and so much more.

This pre-conference symposium is the perfect complement to the ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala to be held in the same space the following two days, September 15-16.

ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala – September 15-16. The Elevate AEC Conference & Awards Gala is going to be better than ever. We are taking the “best of” from our events and putting it all into a big bash in Las Vegas. The pillars of the event – to network, learn, and celebrate – will stand tall this year through an expanded and packed agenda that includes the following:

Keynotes and “ZTalks.” We’ve got a dynamite line-up of speakers including Pete Hinojosa of Insperity, J.D. Enright of TMGcore, and Michael Renshaw of Trilon Group.

Panel discussions. There will be a panel of the No. 1 Best Firms To Work For and the top three Hot Firms. Hear the strategies and tactics they use to achieve the top of these prestigious lists.

Breakouts. We’ve got 16 sessions to choose from covering every area of the business from project management to marketing to ownership transition to recruiting and retention and more.

• Roundtables. Back by popular demand, we’ll have time in roundtable sessions where you’ll rotate every 20 minutes, selecting the topics you want to discuss with peers. Facilitated by industry leaders, these sessions will focus on hot industry topics from our AEC Executive Roundtable in June.

Awards ceremonies and after party. Similar to last year, we’ll present our Rising Stars and Top New Venture winners during an awards luncheon on Thursday and present our Courage in Leadership, Best Firms To Work For, Hot Firms, Excellence in Client Experience, and Marketing Excellence Award winners during our black tie awards gala on Thursday night. Friday after the conference, we will have an optional after party experience seeing Blue Man Group at the Luxor Hotel & Casino.

We as an industry must tell the world how important and valuable our work is. If we won’t, nobody else will. That is what it means to “elevate the industry.” We’ll celebrate and show the world what a successful career in AEC looks like. Join us from September 14-16 at Green Valley Ranch Resort for a rich experience that will be chock full of valuable takeaways. Spend some time with your peers, investing in yourself and your company as we celebrate success and “elevate the industry” together. Viva Las Vegas! 

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