Welcome Letter from Nicole Apel, the New SMPS San Diego Chapter President!

Nicole Apel, SMPS San Diego Chapter President 2017-2018

Hello SMPS San Diego members and friends!

I am honored to serve as your chapter President for the 2017-2018 fiscal year. I’m looking forward to seeing all of you at the many great events we have planned, including our first luncheon, held jointly with Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA),  on September 14. Info here!

I am pleased to announce two big pieces of news for the upcoming year: first, Build Business, the SMPS national conference, is coming to San Diego August 15 through 17, 2018! We are excited to be the host chapter and show off America’s finest city. I haven’t been to a national conference since 2006 in Los Angeles, so I’m curious about all the new features like MAX talks (similar to a TED Talk) and the Digital Skills Lab. The call for speakers is out now, so feel free to spread the work, if you know of anyone who has something interesting to present. We’re hoping to get San Diego local and chapter favorite, Jenni Prisk, to the conference to share one of her funny and poignant presentations with the rest of the country.

The second piece of big news is the revamping of our chapter website, smpssd.org. David Lecours of LecoursDesign, will be working with our Communications Committee Co-Chairs to provide us with a modern look that is easier to navigate. We’re looking forward to a forthcoming launch in January 2018.

Lastly, I want all of you to know I have an “open door” policy for members and non-members alike. If you have any questions or concerns, or you just need to be connected to the right person, please feel free to call me at my office (760) 931-7700 extension 113 or email me at nicolea@odayconsultants.com.

Looking forward to a great year!

Nicole Apel

SMPS San Diego Chapter President 2017-2018

Marketing Coordinator,

O’Day Consultants

Posted in News, President's Messages

SMPS San Diego Donates $8,000 to Hope for a Cure Foundation

Hope for a Cure Foundation Board of Directors (L-R) Matt Liedle, Olga Bastiaannet, Maryjo Highland, and Renae Farley

By Olga Bastiaannet, Associate Principal, Randall Lamb Associates, Inc.

On August 24, 2017, SMPS San Diego’s Charity Partner, Hope for a Cure Foundation, received their check in the amount of $8,000 at the Member Appreciation end of year party at Fireside Patio, located in Liberty Station. The check represented partial proceeds from SMPS San Diego’s very successful Golf Tournament that took place in June.

Hope for a Cure Foundation (HFAC) is a small, local organization whose mission is to passionately advocate for San Diego area researchers/physicians who need extra equipment to adequately conduct their cancer research. Since 2004, they have donated over 17 pieces of state-of-the-art equipment for influential researchers at UCSD Medical Center, Salk Institute, Burnham Institute and Sidney Kimmel Institute, among others. HFAC purchases the equipment directly from the manufacturers.

SMPS San Diego’s 2017 donation benefitted Dr. Jason K. Sicklick, a physician, researcher, and professor at UCSD Medical Center, who needed a benchtop instrument for his clinical lab. The “Dissociator” equipment separates tissues into single-cell suspensions for his clinical research on gastrointestinal and liver cancers. The equipment will benefit other UCSD labs as well.

HFAC is unique in that all of the money raised goes directly to the equipment purchases. The Board is made up of volunteers who all have busy careers in various industries. SMPS San Diego is proud to support such a worthy cause.


Posted in News

Principals Tackle Major Issues at Roundtable

By Beth Bateman, SMPS San Diego Chapter President, 2016-17
Marketing Director, SMR-ISD Consulting Structural Engineers

Principals Roundtable @ PRAVA Construction Services

What’s your CRM (Client Relationship Management system)?

That was the question Kamala Kuresman of NV5 posed to a group of principals attending SMPS San Diego’s Second Principals Roundtable last week at PRAVA Construction Services.

The principals at the Roundtable represented a diverse set of firms in terms of size, number of office locations, and services offered.  Surprisingly, only four of the firms said they have a CRM, with the most popular being Deltek Vision and Cosential.  Several principals said they have developed their own in-house systems in Word or Excel to track proposals and some marketing and business development efforts, but not necessarily to use as a client relationship tool.  The principals questioned the value of having an expensive CRM system because of the lengthy amount of time it takes to input data and keep it current. As a result of the discussion, chapter leaders at the meeting said they will discuss SMPS programs for the upcoming year to address the pros and cons of various CRM systems currently on the market.

The second half of the Roundtable was moderated by Roger Ball, President and CEO of Rick Engineering, who focused the discussion on California Senate Bill 496.  The bill, which becomes law on January 1, 2018, provides some relief to design professionals by bringing indemnity on public and private projects to more reasonable and insurable levels.  Under current law, a design professional can end up being 100% responsible for another party’s legal fees even if that design professional did nothing wrong.

Principals Roundtable @ PRAVA Construction Services

Roger, who has worked for several years to bring this legislation into law, provided the group with the history of the existing law and heretofore unsuccessful efforts to have it overturned. There are many nuances to the new law which A/E/C professionals should understand before signing any contracts.

SMPS San Diego’s Principals Roundtable was formed earlier this year in response to an expressed need for A/E/C principals to discuss marketing and business development issues affecting their firms.  The Roundtables are held four times a year at the offices of different sponsoring firms.  Attendance is limited 12-15 principals who are SMPS members or have an SMPS member on staff.

The next Roundtable will be held on Nov. 7. Watch the SMPS San Diego website and weekly e-blasts for more information about the topics to be discussed.




Posted in News, President's Messages

Mid-Term Letter from SMPS San Diego President Beth Bateman


Beth Bateman SMPS San Diego Chapter President 2016-2017

San Diego is on the verge of a Renaissance. How do we know? Just take a look downtown and you’ll see construction cranes punctuating the skyline, construction fences surrounding plots of land, traffic cones warning drivers there’s construction ahead, and lines of cement trucks waiting to pour concrete.  And that’s just in Little Italy and downtown!

A new, revitalized Seaport Village is on the drawing board, the City Council approved plans for our first Ritz Carlton Hotel at 7th and Market, and talk is getting more serious about a Convention Center expansion to accommodate Comic-Con and other large groups.  For the first time in many years, the City of San Diego has a strong CIP budget – as do San Diego County and other local municipalities. SANDAG and Caltrans continue to be active with infrastructure projects.  K-12 bond measures passed last November, opening the door for an array of school projects.  And of course, there’s the Big Q – Qualcomm Stadium. What will happen with that? Will the empty stadium attract a new NFL football team to town?  Will San Diego State University take it over for a new complex with a football stadium, classroom buildings, undergraduate housing, parking, and more?  Or maybe there will be a professional soccer team taking over the site, or a world-class medical research center.  All of those options are good news for those of us in the A/E/C industry, because each option requires a team of A/E planners to help bring those ideas to life so they can win approval from the proper jurisdictions.

The news keeps getting better and better because this is just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more exciting projects springing up throughout the region.

And what’s good for the industry is good for SMPS San Diego. Each segment of our industry has its own professional association, but where can you go to meet key people in all of those industry segments? SMPS San Diego, of course! We have architects, civil / structural / mechanical / electrical / and fire protection engineers, general contractors, landscape architects, environmental / geotechnical and soils engineers, cost estimators, planners, program managers, construction managers, and more.  SMPS San Diego is the one place where everyone in our industry can get together to share ideas, build professional and personal relationships, network, find out about upcoming opportunities, and learn more about best practices in marketing and business development for our firms.

And the kicker is, we all have a lot of fun while doing this! At our annual planning meeting last summer, the incoming Board of Directors adopted “Striving for Excellence” as our theme.   It sums up who we are in our personal lives, our businesses, and our Chapter – we are people who are always striving to be better.

But it doesn’t stop there. We want to strive to be better and we want to do it with fun and with flair, just as we do with our proposals, SOQs, and presentations. There are many images which reflect the special city that we are, but we’ve chosen only one to incorporate into our message this year.  Comic-Con.

That’s right. Comic-Con.  Already we have seen the emergence of some Super Heroes as our Board of Directors and their committees unleashed their Super Powers over the past six months to bring you the best, “can’t-be-missed” luncheon programs, educational workshops, Leverage Your Beverage events, and other networking opportunities.

Our Super Heroes have an even more exciting agenda for the next six months. Here are just a few of the programs we have lined up for you:

March 23: Leverage Your Beverage:  Networking after work at Quartyard San Diego in the East Village.

Date TBD: Principals’ Breakfast Roundtable:  A series of breakfasts designed for A/E/C principals from a broad cross-section of the industry to discuss marketing and business issues facing their firms.

April 19: Luncheon program: “Cool Streets” featuring retail wizard Garrick Brown on the design of shopping malls in the future.

May 17: Luncheon program:  The Federal Market, featuring speakers from NAVFAC Southwest, the L.A. Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Veteran Affairs.

June 2:  SMPS San Diego Annual Charity Golf Tournament:  An opportunity to boogie down with SMPS San Diego for a groovy round of golf at the Vineyards Golf Course in Escondido – an event not to be missed!

June TBD: Bark-itecture:  SMPS San Diego teams up with AIA San Diego for the Second Annual Dog-House Design Competition – woof, woof – who let the dogs out?

July 19: Luncheon Event:  Our favorite public speaking coach and mentor, Jenni Prisk, shares tips and techniques for making winning presentations to our clients.

Aug. 24: SMPS San Diego Marketing and Communications Awards Gala Event:  Party like Rock Stars at San Diego’s  Main Library downtown to celebrate the winners of our Biennial Marketing and Communications Awards competition.

So join the fun. If you are not a member, sign up right away – many of our programs are for members only.  If you are a member – sign up for a committee to help out.  Let us know if you want to be considered for the Board of Directors – selections will be made in July.

And that’s not all folks – there’s much more coming up over the next 6 months and beyond. So join in and have some fun. Stay tuned for updates on our website, our weekly eblast, Facebook, and Twitter.

It is truly an honor to serve as your president during these exciting times!


Warm regards,


Beth Bateman

SMPS San Diego Chapter President 2016-2017

Marketing Director,

SMR-ISD Consulting Structural Engineers, Inc.

Please contact me: Elizabeth@smr-eng.com




Posted in News, President's Messages

The Future Ain’t What It Used to Be

By Peter J. Kienle, FSMPS, CPSM, MBA, and Judy Kienle, MPH, CPSM, Kienle Communications; and Sean Omitt, MBA, Naval Information Forces Command

The Journal of Marketing Professional Services – Marketer – Volume 35, Issue 4

Recently, we were asked to talk about business development aspart of a panel of A/E/C marketing professionals conducting an executive training program for SMPS Northeast Ohio. With that charge, we decided to poll some of the top A/E/C marketers and business developers in the country about the future of business development. We sent 20 marketers this question, “Give me your opinion. What are the three biggest business development challenges facing A/E/C firms today?” We received 15 responses from SMPS Fellows, SMPS past-presidents, SMPS Business Development Institute (BDI) presenters, and senior marketers— totaling more than 450 years of industry experience. The information was priceless. With all the changes in our industry over the past 10 years, we think the most notable is probably that A/E/C principals/firm leaders can no longer make enough rain to maintain and grow their businesses themsleves. Sean Omitt worked with us to distill and summarize the information collected. The major themes and observations were consistent across the board. In no particular order, the information fell into three major groupings: Differentiation/brand Focus and commitment Business development training Differentiation/brand. According to BusinessDictionary.com, differentiation is “the result of efforts to make a product (or service) or brand stand out as a provider of unique value to customers in comparison with its competitors.” As Randle Pollock, FSMPS, succinctly put it, differentiation is “… standing out from the crowd.” Most firms’ business development efforts center around the telling of features—we have this, we do that, we know that. A prospect wants to know more and understand how it will benefit from hiring you over the competition. Some firms do not even recognize competition, believing instead that no one competes with them. If all firms are simply touting features, the clients see no real difference. According to Robert G. Trout, CPSM, “Clients are treating design services as a commodity, to be purchased on price, regardless of discriminators and value that can be brought to a project.” As an industry, we have not gone deep enough to articulate and provide discriminators on why our firm is better than another. In short, we have created this situation and continue to support it. The American Marketing Association defines brand as, “A name, term, design, symbol, or other feature that identifies one seller’s goods or services as distinct from other sellers.” Without discriminators, a brand is practically impossible to develop. Focus and commitment. Most sellerdoers have a goal of scheduling 10 percent or more of their time for business development activities. In our experience, very few firms reach this goal. The most often cited reason is that they are too busy with projects. Michael T. Buell, FSMPS, CPSM, offered another reason, “…it is often just general complacency.”


SMPS Luncheon

Keeping up with seller-doer responsibilities is a matter of priority. Nancy Usrey, FSMPS, CPSM, commented, “One of the biggest business development challenges is sustaining the effort, including relationship development, discovery, positioning, influencing project definition, and procurement processes.” R. Tim Barrick, FSMPS, once spent four years of continuous effort with a client in North Carolina before his firm was awarded its first project. In the case of business development, patience and persistence is required. Carla D. Thompson, FSMPS, CPSM, remarked, “The phone will not call your contacts on its own. You have to make business development and reaching out to clients and prospects an intentional part of each week.” Many technical professionals start sweating when they have to call someone they do not know. As marketers, we can help make it a warm call by teeing them up. Then the call becomes less daunting. Business development training. When we’ve asked architects and engineers if they had any marketing or sales training in college, almost 100 percent say no. One engineering principal said the class schedule requirements would not permit it. Even if schedules permitted it, we doubt many would have taken these courses as we often hear, “I did not go to engineering school to be a salesman.” Times have changed. Little did they know they would need to sell. Scott D. Butcher, FSMPS, CPSM, said, “We rely on the seller-doer model, but don’t provide adequate sales training to technical staff with business development responsibilities.” Most technical professionals think selling is telling, whereas marketers know selling is listening and then working to meet your prospects’ wants and needs. Business development best-practices resources are abundant. As technical professionals learn, understand, and implement business development best practices, they build confidence and steadily improve their rainmaking abilities. If you have a well-trained business development professional in-house who has a successful sales program and knows how to train, he or she can do the training for your firm. If you don’t have the in-house resources, hire an experienced A/E/C business development professional for training. Since “the future ain’t what it used to be,” be proactive and invest the necessary resources to commit to these lessons learned. The payoff for this investment is in staying ahead of your competition and winning more work.

Posted in News

October 19th Luncheon Recap: Architecture in San Diego

by Amanda Eva Jungles, Marketing Coordinator, Delawie

(L-R) Eric Naslund, FAIA of Studio E, Frank Ternasky, AIA, LEED AP of Delawie, Ben Dalton, AIA of Miller Hull, Jonathan Segal, FAIA, and moderator Marvin J. Malecha, FAIA, President of the NewSchool of Architecture and Design.

On October 19th, a panel of renowned local San Diego architects discussed the trends shaping America’s Finest City. Moderated by Marvin Malecha, FAIA, President of the NewSchool of Architecture and Design, the panelists led the audience of SMPS San Diego Chapter members through brief presentations, all of which harmonized on central themes of community, authenticity and regeneration.

The relationship between thought leaders and various voices in the community struck a chord with a few panelists, as many of them design highly visible structures that are subjected to public scrutiny by various community review boards and advocacy groups. This process may inadvertently diminish a design’s authenticity through repeated requests for revisions from citizens who may lack professional architectural credentials, ultimately frustrating architects pursuing these project types.


The panelists noted that as architects and ultimately as stewards of the built environment, they should be more authentically engaged in the design process, through honesty and simplicity.  Malecha believes authenticity should be paramount, from the way a building interacts with its users, to the way it is embraced by the community. The structures that architects design become longstanding and contributing landmarks and should be designed as a nod to the values the community members embrace. The architect’s ultimate gratification lies in seeing how people become transformed as the building takes shape—from the first pour of the building’s foundation to the first glimpse of the building’s features lit at night.

Continuing the discussion, Malecha politely requested that architects think more about repurposing and reusing existing structures. He noted the change in our values, where we once bulldozed buildings instead of preserving them. The panelists agreed that the catchphrase “sustainability” has been used to the point of ineffectiveness and irrelevance. The word “regenerative” could be an amicable synonym for the aforementioned buzz word. Marvin ended the luncheon with a challenge for society. He said, “perhaps we could be a society that cleans instead of pollutes, a world that generates instead of expends. As architects, we must think about natural systems and be the foremost advocates for regenerative design.”

Don’t forget to sign up for November’s luncheon, Post Election Wrap-Up: What Comes Next for San Diego and the Rest of California?

Click Here to Register Today!


Posted in Events

Archtoberfest: San Diego Architecture + Design Month


Image Courtesy of 2016 Archtoberfest San Diego

By Amanda Eva Jungles, Marketing Coordinator, Delawie

In October, all architecture and design aficionados happily clutter their calendars with a myriad of free or low-cost events centered on Archtoberfest, an annual, month-long collaborative program celebrating design excellence. SMPS San Diego has many architects as members, and we’d like to take this opportunity to highlight Archtoberfest! Check out the events below and meet architects, interior designers, architectural critics, design professors, and most importantly, future stewards of this great profession!

Archtoberfest kicks off on Thursday, September 29th, with San Diego Architectural Foundation’s PechaKucha Night, a presentation of 8 creative minds showcasing 20 curated slides in 20 seconds increments.

Interested in seeing which local projects will win San Diego Architectural Foundation’s coveted 2016 Orchid & Onion Awards? On October 13th, celebrate 40 years of friendly, engaging and provocative architectural criticism with a reception at Horton Plaza followed by an awards ceremony at Sprekles Theatre.

See just how artfully San Diego architects are shaping San Diego’s built environment at SMPS San Diego’s October 19th luncheon, “Architecture in San Diego: Trends Shaping the Future of America’s Finest City”, featuring a panel of leaders from prominent local architecture firms, moderated by Marvin Malecha, FAIA, President of NewSchool of Architecture + Design. Confirmed Speakers include Jonathan Segal, FAIA, of Jonathan Segal FAIA & Development Company, Eric Naslund, FAIA, of Studio E Architects, Frank Ternasky, AIA, LEED AP of Delawie, Ben Dalton, AIA, of The Miller Hull Partnership LLP, and Kotaro Nakamura, AIA, LEED AP of Roesling Nakamura Terada Architects, Inc.

On October 27th, towards the tail end of Archtoberfest, the American Institute of Architects (AIA) San Diego Chapter will host its annual Design Awards Program. This event will recognize outstanding architectural design by AIA San Diego Chapter members, San Diego-based architects in any location, and work in San Diego by architects around the globe.  

If you’re an architect or simply inspired by design, October is the month to celebrate San Diego’s architecture scene—from the visionaries to the built environments they create.

Archtoberfest | www.archtoberfest.com

Orchids & Onions | www.orchidsandonions.org

AIA San Diego Design Awards Program | www.aiasandiego.org

Posted in Events
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