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Engineering Influence from ACEC

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Engineering Influence: The Podcast of America's Engineering and Design Industry


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Engineering Influence: The Podcast of America's Engineering and Design Industry





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Unlocking the Future: ACEC's Digital Transformation Series for AEC Professionals

Welcome to the ACEC's Engineering Influence Podcast. As we approach the holiday season, we want to take a moment to introduce our upcoming education series presented by the Technology Committee, focusing on digital transformation for AEC professionals. This initial three-part online series is tailored to guide professionals through the transition from traditional business practices to advanced technological approaches. We will cover essential change management principles, harnessing big data for informed decision-making, and delivering projects digitally with precision. Our first session, "Technology Management 101," will take place on July 17th at 1:30 p.m. Eastern. Raj Arora, CEO of Jensen Hughes, and Claire Rutkowski, CIO at POWER Engineers, will provide a foundational overview of change management principles for technology adoption in engineering firms. The second session, "Unlocking Big Value with Big Data," is scheduled for September 18th. Ryan Beckman, VP and Innovation Lead at Olson, and Marcus Widener, Chief Innovation Officer at Pennoni, will discuss leveraging big data to drive innovation, efficiency, and sustainability across firm operations. Our final session, "Digital Delivery," will be held on December 4th. Dave Mulholland, Chief Technology Officer at VHB, will explore technology solutions used in ambitious projects across the United States and the basics of digital project delivery. Register for all three classes at once and receive a 10% discount, or choose the individual session that best meets your needs. All sessions will be recorded and available for later viewing.


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Navigating Election Challenges and Potential Reforms

Welcome to Engineering Influence, a podcast from the American Council of Engineering Companies. In this episode, we delve into the complexities of the upcoming election year, featuring a discussion with Kevin Kosar, a senior researcher at the American Enterprise Institute. Kevin Kosar explores the structural aspects of government and elections, focusing on the dissatisfaction with the current two-party system and the challenges it poses. He highlights the impact of primaries, gerrymandering, and the extreme polarization of candidates. The conversation also touches on potential reforms, including ranked choice voting and open primaries, and the importance of voter education and election security. Join us as we navigate the intricate landscape of American elections, the incentives driving political behavior, and the prospects for meaningful reform in our electoral system.


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The Benefits of Design Build with Keith Molenaar

Join host Allison Schneider as she sits down with Keith Molenaar, Dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Colorado in Boulder, on the latest episode of the Engineering Influence podcast. Together, they delve into the intricacies of design-build contracts and their role in the accelerated effort to rebuild the Key Bridge in Baltimore. Keith shares insights from his extensive research, highlighting the benefits of design-build, such as faster project delivery and cost certainty. They also discuss the challenges and risk allocations faced by design-build teams, and the importance of collaboration and innovation in modern engineering projects. Tune in to learn how design-build contracts are shaping the future of engineering and construction, and what ACEC members should consider when engaging in these complex projects.


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Transforming AE Firms: Deltek's Innovative Solutions for Small and Medium Businesses

Welcome to the latest episode of Engineering Influence, a podcast from the American Council of Engineering Companies. In this episode, we are joined by Warren Linscott, the Chief Product Officer for Deltek. Warren dives deep into how Deltek is positioned as a leading technology provider within the Architecture and Engineering (AE) space, focusing on their ERP software solutions tailored for project-based businesses. Warren elaborates on how Deltek's solutions help small and medium-sized firms succeed by providing comprehensive project accounting, CRM, and opportunity identification tools. The discussion also covers Gov1IQ, an information solution tracking over $2.5 trillion worth of federal, state, and local opportunities, assisting firms in identifying lucrative projects. Compliance is another critical area where Warren explains how their ERP solutions aid firms in adhering to FAR compliance and managing ITAR-controlled information. The episode also explores the integration of emerging technologies like AI, and how Deltek's digital assistant, Della, is set to revolutionize operational efficiency within engineering firms.


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AI Update with BST Global

Join us on this episode of Engineering Influence where we speak with Javier Baldor, president and CEO of BST Global. We dive deep into the future of technology in the engineering sector, with Javier sharing fascinating insights into the growing prominence of General Artificial Intelligence (Gen AI) and its transformative potential. In this podcast episode, recorded at the 2024 Spring Convention and Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C, Baldor speaks about his recent AI Summit and how businesses across the industry are preparing for an AI-powered, data-driven future. He also discusses the strategies that firms across the engineering sector are implementing to leverage AI, from mining data for proposal creation to defining a data-focused strategy for organizational growth. We delve into the significant growth in the appointment of chief data or digital officers, highlighting the importance of data in modern businesses and the need for strong leadership to navigate new technological trends. Baldor’s insights also touch upon the future engineering consultancy landscape. He predicts a shift towards a combination of traditional engineering roles and new-age software engineering roles, facilitated by low-code/no-code platforms. With automation set to redefine various work tasks, this episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in the future of AI in engineering. Whether you’re intrigued by the future of AI in engineering or are keen to hear more on the latest trends and tech developments, this episode is a valuable source of knowledge and insights, straight from the heart of the industry.


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From MMA to Humanitarian: Justin Wren's Fight for the Forgotten

Join us at the American Council of Engineering Companies' 2024 Spring Convention in Washington, D.C., where we are inspired by the remarkable journey of Justin Wren. Known as a world-class MMA fighter, Justin has transitioned into a dedicated humanitarian, working tirelessly to provide clean water and opportunities to the forgotten Pygmy people in the Congo. In this episode, Justin shares his heartfelt story, from his early days in the UFC to founding "Fight for the Forgotten," an organization committed to bringing life-changing resources to indigenous tribes. Listen as he discusses the challenges and triumphs of his mission, the vital role of engineers in societal development, and the collaborative efforts needed to create sustainable solutions. Discover how small changes, like access to clean water, can have an immeasurable impact on communities and learn how you can contribute to this noble cause at


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Michael Maslansky on De-Weaponizing the Conversation on ESG

In this episode, communications expert Michael Maslansky expounds on his unique approach to simplifying and depoliticizing the complex vocabulary surrounding ESG. Michael strategically crafts his narratives to soothe all stakeholders, stressing non-contentious verbiage and the de-weaponization of ESG language to keep communication politically neutral. We delve into the various motives that prod corporations to embrace Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and discuss the backlash these initiatives often face, prompting a thoughtful risk-reward analysis. As some organizations shy away from controversial issues, Michael believes in the power of neutral language to keep the dialogue flowing. Packed with valuable guidance on handling sensitive topics, Michael stresses the use of terms such as 'responsible business' that serve as common ground during dialogues and instigate open conversations in an increasingly polarized political climate.


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Update from the DEI&B Committee

In this episode from the 2024 Spring Convention and Legislative Summit, we discuss the initiatives of ACEC's DEI&B Committee, how it functions, and the importance of its roles. The conversation revolves around the ongoing efforts to provide reliable tools and resources, fostering diversity and inclusivity within the engineering community. Guest speakers include Eric Madden, the CMO from JMT, and Michael Cooper, president of HED. Together, they explore the creation of infographics aimed at simplifying the understanding of ACEC's organization, charting leadership paths for members, and how leaders could truly benefit from the organization. The infographics serve as a tangible tool, inviting broader participation at both national and MO levels. The dialogue moves towards discussing effective strategies for increasing organizational involvement, highlighting the necessity of diversity. They discuss how crucial it is to educate individuals about ACEC, cultivate comfort within the organization, and promote efficient networking. Whether you're an employer, industry professional, or an aspiring engineer, this podcast episode provides thoughtful conversation and insights into the world of engineering, leadership, and the core values that guide ACEC.


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A Conversation With Halff's CEO, Jessica Baker-Daily

In this episode of the Engineering Influencer Podcast from the American Council of Engineering Companies, we feature a candid conversation with Jessica Baker-Daily, the present CEO of Halff. Jessica shared her journey from being an intern to the CEO of the firm, reflecting on the challenges, opportunities, and experiences that shaped her growth. Throughout the discussion, she emphasized the importance of fostering a flexible work environment to boost employee productivity and satisfaction. Jessica's focus on people, culture, and empathetic leadership was a key aspect of the conversation. She emphasized the impact of investing time in communication and feedback, dubbing it as the backbone of understanding employee needs and optimizing decision-making. Interacting with employees, understanding their daily challenges and triumphs, and being open to critical feedback were points she stressed.


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The Power of ACEC/PAC

ACEC's VP of Political Affairs, Dave Bender sat down with Lee Lennard, President and CEO of BGE Engineering to discuss the importance of political involvement as part of ACEC's larger advocacy program.


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Beyond the Stage with Broadway’s Hamilton Star, Miguel Cervantes

In this episode of the Engineering Influence Podcast brought to you by the American Council of Engineering Companies, we engage in a fascinating conversation with Broadway performer, Miguel Cervantes. Noted for playing the main role of Alexander Hamilton in Lin-Manuel Miranda's iconic 'Hamilton', Miguel not only shares captivating insights on performances, venue designs, and the elemental human aspects but also his moving personal journey. We also discuss Miguel's life dealing with his daughter's epilepsy, leading him to become a staunch advocate for people dealing with seizure disorders. His wife's touching book on grief and their foundation's initiatives towards epilepsy research underscore their dedication. Understand how personal tragedies can propel actions for societal change. Watch the music video for his song 'Till the Calm Comes. All proceeds go to CURE, Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy.


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Managing Small Projects Successfully

In this engaging episode, we host Jared Jamison, Senior Consultant with PSMJ where we spotlight an upcoming ACEC/PSMJ course, "Managing Small Projects Successfully." Jamison, a former structural engineer who transitioned into business consulting, shares his insights into the course creation. He elaborates on the course's value, especially for those stepping into the realm of project management. Jamison explores the unique challenges of managing small projects, such as limited time and budget, juggling multiple assignments, and receiving less focus from upper management. He gives invaluable advice on maintaining consistency in project management aspects regardless of the project size and effectively scaling strategies for small projects. Towards the end, we delve into the complexities of transitioning engineers from the technical side to the business side, highlighting the importance of resources that bridge this significant gap. If you are a project manager dealing with constant attention demands and tight deadlines, this episode is a must-listen! Tune in to gain insights from experts on mastering the art of managing small projects. Listen as we discuss helpful strategies, practical tools, and firm-level big-picture strategies—all aimed at helping you navigate the world of project management with confidence!


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A Looming Crisis as Cities Sink and Seas Rise

In a concerning discovery, cities across the US are steadily sinking due to practices such as groundwater extraction, oil extraction, and fracking, exacerbating the impacts of sea-level rise. This article, which originally ran in Engineering, Inc., delves into the severity of the situation, highlighting how a considerable number of American and global cities, housing 10s of millions of people, are dropping at an alarming rate every year. Land subsidence – the sinking of ground level – is largely irreversible and carries serious repercussions, including increased flood risk and potential relocation of affected communities. As experts emphasize, the primary culprit is the over-extraction of groundwater, which is responsible for more than 80% of U.S. land subsidence occurrences. Despite elemental damages like floods, earthquakes, or landslides being resolvable over time, loss of elevation due to land subsidence is permanent and difficult to notice until it's too late. Therefore, it's vital to comprehend that land subsidence amplifies all other environmental impacts, including relative sea level rise, essentially characterizing the intersections of sinking land and rising seas. Though land subsidence can't be reversed, stabilization is possible through processes like managed aquifer recharge. Some cities are already testing such solutions with the hope to slow down and stabilize ground subsidence. Nonetheless, considering the increased storm surges and rainfall, the real challenge is to rethink how cities use stormwater to naturally replenish groundwater resources, which currently is not the case in most urban areas. Plans to effectively manage stormwater and allow it to seep back into the ground to recharge groundwater reserves are discussed. However, the graveness of the issue also extends to climate gentrification. With the rising sea levels and decreasing land, neighborhoods sitting above sea levels are becoming prime real estate, forcing locals out. Experts advocate for infrastructure with multiple functional benefits and a balanced approach that takes into account all members of the community. As cities sink and sea levels rise, engineers are called to action to ensure sustainable futures and reevaluate the relationship between the built environment and nature.


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Previewing the Upcoming Business Development and Marketing Forum

dalexander@acec.org Join Diana Alexander, the Director of Private Market Resources for the American Council of Engineering Companies, in this episode of the 'Engineering Influence' podcast, as she provides an anticipatory glance at the upcoming third annual Business Development and Marketing Forum. Learn why the forum serves as the perfect platform for networking and understanding the latest trends that are shaking up the business and marketing industries. Listen about what's new for this year, including the shift of the annual meeting to fall, an increase in available seats to up to 100, and a three-day format that includes a series of insightful sessions featuring industry experts. Gain knowledge about the exciting array of attendees and the invaluable experience they bring to the forum, from CEOs and Vice Presidents to Marketing Directors and Client Service Managers. Delve into a detailed schedule of the daily event, including keynote talks about the current state of AI in the AEC, proposal creation, go-no-go processes and more. Get a sneak peek into the ‘Thought Leadership’ panel and meet the eminent personalities that will share their esteemed perspectives on key topics such as AI integration, digital marketing, and talent retention. The forum promises a packed agenda with enlightening speaker sessions and interactive panels, all with a view to helping you and your firm grow. This podcast episode also highlights two upcoming events, capturing the themes of Adaptive Reuse in the office sector and a local D.C. Developer panel at Land Development Coalition Roundtable. As listeners eagerly anticipate these occasions, this podcast provides both the practical information and exciting teaser of what's in store. Press play and get all the details you need about ACEC Business Development and Marketing Forum in this comprehensive preview. To always stay updated, be sure to like and subscribe. Prepare to be inspired and empowered!


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Optimistic Economic Outlook and Challenges for Q1 2024

The latest episode of the Engineering Influence Podcast, produced by the American Council of Engineering Companies, highlights the Q1 2024 Engineering Business Sentiment Study from the ACEC Research Institute. Download the new report here: The report indicates an upbeat start to 2024 with a significant positive US economic sentiment. Recession fears have eased, and robust macroeconomic indicators, such as high GDP and low unemployment rates, reinforce the optimistic industry outlook. However, political uncertainty around election year remains a significant worry for future expectations. The episode delves into the appetite for infrastructure work and the recovery signs in the Commercial Real Estate sector. It also highlights hiring challenges currently dampening industry expansion but indicates increased hiring anticipation amongst firms. A lack of sufficient workers, however, is driving firms to reject business offers and calls for immediate solutions. The role of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as a potential solution to labor shortage also gets spotlighted in this episode. With a significant number of firms using or developing AI strategies, the overall sentiment is positive about the impact of AI in the year ahead. Lastly, the episode discusses the importance of effective forecasting and modeling, using a decade’s worth of data. Despite workforce concerns, other indicators suggest a shift towards positivity in the economy, providing a promising glimpse into what lies ahead in the engineering industry.


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Introducing Adam Jones, Incoming NAECE President

We sat down with Adam Jones, ACEC SC Executive Director, and incoming NAECE President on what he expects to accomplish during his tenure in the position.


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Introducing the Market Briefings Intel for Engineers

The Engineering Influence Podcast from ACEC National is thrilled to announce a new series called "Market Briefings for Engineers." Scheduled to be launched online on February 21st, this series was crafted after thoughtful feedback from our engaged member community. We designed it to provide relevant market intelligence, focusing on significant trends, legislation, and opportunities impacting today's markets. Register for our first event here: The Market Briefings Engineers will delve into crucial areas like vertical infrastructure, construction spending, AE revenues, and more, all the while offering expert interviews, insight into our industry, and comprehensive five-year forecasts. Our series aims to deliver valuable insider intel, zeroing in on growth markets using data derived from extensive ACEC research. We will explore major growth areas anticipated for the next five years, including energy, office, healthcare and life sciences, data centers, and telecommunications. Our inaugural session on February 21st will discuss trending topics in the energy market, including renewable alternatives, power plant development, and more. Future sessions will cover topics such as adaptive reuse, trends in healthcare and life sciences, and the growth of data centers and telecommunications. Each session is expertly curated to deliver information about robust market sectors by presenting panels of clients, developers, and industry experts. We aim to benefit our members by highlighting opportunities, trends, and areas set for growth. To further the cause, we also plan to offer recordings of each session so that you can catch up whenever you want. We encourage you to join us on this enlightening journey and look forward to your participation this year. If you need more information, please don't hesitate to reach out to us directly.


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Catching up with our Board Chair, Jay Wolverton

We sat down with our Board Chair Jay Wolverton to catch up on a busy year of activity at ACEC. We discussed the results of the recent Executive Committee meeting, the work of the new workforce committee and more.


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Introducing 2024-2025 Chair-Elect John Rathke

John A. Rathke, PE, SE, FACEC – Wisconsin Vice President and Principal, Mead & Hunt, Inc. Chair-Elect, 2024-2025, Chair 2025-2026 John Rathke is a Vice President and Principal at Mead & Hunt, Inc., in Wisconsin. He completed his term as Vice Chair on the ACEC Executive Committee at the Annual Convention in June 2023. John was previously inducted into the College of Fellows in 2019. He has served on the Planning Cabinet from 2021 to 2023, responsible for determining metrics to measure progress in achieving the ACEC Strategic Plan Goals and to explore whether ACEC is devoting enough resources to the water and energy markets. The latter ultimately resulted in the forming of a new Energy Committee to focus on the engineering business of the energy market. John is active on ACEC’s Transportation Committee and Risk Management Committee. He has served as National Director and ACEC/Wisconsin Chair-Elect, Chairman of the Board, and Nominating Committee Chair. He holds a BS in Civil Engineering from the University of Wisconsin–Platteville.


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A Conversation with Rodney Chester - Chair of ACEC's new Workforce Committee

We sat down with Gresham Smith's Rodney Chester, Chair of the ACEC Workforce Committee, to discuss his plans for the new group.