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08 Sep, 2015

Introducing the 2015-2016 SMPS DC Board of Directors

Chapter Announcements   Member Spotlight  
Blog Types

Read time: 17 minutes, 1 second

The 2015 - 2016 SMPS DC program year officially kicked off on September 1st. As we have just enjoyed the 2015-2016 Kickoff festivities, we thought everyone should get to know this year's Board of Directors. We will be profiling a different Board Member (or two) each day! Stay tuned for more updates.

Say hello to

Headshot Klg

Katie Garrett, President

Account Director, RepEquity

A native Washingtonian, Katie joined the Account Management Team at RepEquity as an Account Director in 2015. Prior to RepEquity, Katie served as the Director of Marketing & Communications for David M. Schwarz Architects, and she has over ten years of marketing, communications and business development experience, with expertise in digital marketing, content strategy, brand development and relationship management.

Katie serves as Director of Sponsorship for Digital District, on the Community Action Committee of CREW DC, and is the President for the DC Chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services. She previously served several years on the Board of Directors of the Washington Building Congress. Katie is also an avid sports fan who has written about the Washington Redskins for several sports news sites in addition to hosting a national sports radio show. Katie graduated from the University of Virginia with dual majors in Art History and Foreign Affairs. She currently resides in Columbia Heights with her rescue woof, Percy.

What something we might not know about you?

If I could have a super power, it would be to fly.

I used to host a national sports radio show.

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

I joined the AEC industry about 10 years ago after graduating from UVa. I've always had an interest in the built environment and responsible development. I had two job offers in the same building and selected the architecture firm. I joined SMPS at the suggestion of one of my Principals. Like most marketers in this industry, I didn't have any training in AEC marketing.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

Use your network. Whether for compiling a superior project team, seeking advice on a particular subject area or a shoulder on which to cry (though hopefully not the latter), a good network will give you all the support you need to knock things out of the park time and time again. View your peers as a resource, not as the competition.

Twitter: @klg2a (@hailtotheredhead for sports)

Instagram: klg2a

Laura Ewan E1476915712403

September 23rd, 2015

Say hello to

Laura Ewan, President-Elect

Manager of Communications and Culture, MGAC

Laura is a marketing and communications professional passionate about advancing the profession within the architecture, engineering and construction industry. Specializing in creative internal and external communications practices that reinforce corporate brand and culture, Laura’s work strives to build community through the integrated use of strategic content and online platforms.

An active member of SMPS since 2007, Laura currently serves as President-Elect on the SMPS DC Chapter Board. A background in education, she has taken a strong interest in professional development, earning her CPSM in 2011, teaching the DC Chapter’s CPSM Bootcamp, and graduating with the inaugural class of SMPS University.

What something we might not know about you?

I LOVE CARTOONS. If I’m not watching Game of Thrones or Walking Dead (my most recent binges), I’m probably watching cartoons. Lost about two weeks of my life to FX’s Simpsons marathon last year and I’m not ashamed to admit it. My favorite show right now is Bob’s Burgers. If you want a good laugh, look up Bob’s Burgers gifs on Tumblr.

I recently launched a marketing and communications blog and (upcoming) podcast with fellow SMPS DC member, Kate Erdy, called Communiqueso. Grab a chip and dig in! www.communiqueso.com

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

I was introduced to the AEC industry by my dad, who is an architect turned facilities director turned executive coach who now works with AEC firm leaders. He had worked at Skanska for a year and met a marketing coordinator who he admired and thought I might be interested in a similar job after graduation. In my first coordinator interview, the marketing director asked me if I knew Ken Ewan and when I explained he was my dad, she informed me she used to work with him as a coordinator at Skanska. Her name is Catherine DeWitt, CPSM, and she gave me my first job, introduced me to SMPS, taught me the value of the CPSM, and is currently serving as the President of the SMPS Maryland Chapter. Small world, huh?

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

The best advice I ever received was to “ask for the job.” I heard this in a presentation and interview coaching session with my firm’s technical staff, but I think it applies equally to us in our careers as marketers. For me, it represents taking action. If you see a gap, fill it. If you have an idea, share it. If there’s a position or project within your firm that you want to be considered for, ask for it. Volunteer your talents and time (even outside office hours) to things outside your job description. It’s how you’ll get to explore different aspects of the profession, and prove yourself. If you wait for people to give you opportunities, you could be waiting a long time. Speak up for yourself. Ask for the job.

Twitter: @laura_ewan Twitter: @hotcommuniqueso

Headshot Debbie Chen

Debbie Chen, LEED AP, Secretary

Proposal Development Director (Acting), Louis Berger

Debbie Chen is a professional services marketer with more than 13 years of marketing experience for the architecture, engineering, and construction industry. She has been a member of SMPS DC since 2007 having volunteered on the Special Events committee and now as board secretary. She is a huge design nerd having graduated with a bachelors in architecture and architectural history.

What something we might not know about you?

I was an insomniac in late high school years. I picked up playing guitar with the extra hours and thought I would be the female version of Jimmy Page. Architecture studio won out though.

Having skated competitively along the east coast for 3 seasons, I am now coaching a recreational roller derby league, FairFox Roller Derby based out of Northern Virginia Jewish Community Center

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

Started out as an architectural intern working on the Museum of the American Indians.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

As someone from the technical side, having a principal tell me to join SMPS helped me grow my marketing knowledge and business practice. I now have a network of peers and mentors who I can go to for advice ranging from government forms to work life balance.

Twitter: @debbiechenva

Amy Cuddy Headshot

September 22nd, 2015

Say hello to

Amy Cuddy, CPSM, Director of Career Advancement

Associate, Marketing and Business Development, Ayers Saint Gross, Washington, DC

Amy manages marketing and business development for the Washington, DC office of Ayers Saint Gross. Her previous experience includes similar work at architecture firms specializing in housing, higher education and federal government commissions. She has presented at the Build Business and Deltek Insight and has written for the Zweig Letter and Marketer on various marketing and business development topics. Amy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in digital communications from Lebanon Valley College and earned her Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) certification in 2013. She lives in Silver Spring, MD with her husband and daughter.

What something we might not know about you?

I love disaster movies. The Foo Fighters are my absolute favorite band

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

I happened upon the industry by accident taking one of my first jobs serving multiple roles for a small architecture firm. Once I learned about the creative side of architecture, I was hooked. I joined SMPS DC in 2009 and its all history from there.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

Work hard and be yourself first.

Twitter: @amypcuddy

Tom Strandberg

Tom Strandberg, PMP, PSP, CCP, LEED AP, Treasurer

Vice President, O'Connor Construction Management, Inc.

Tom is Vice President of O’Connor Construction Management, Inc. and the responsible manager for O’Connor’s east coast operations. As a project and construction management professional, Tom focuses most of his time in the field working on jobsites in DC and throughout the east coast. Tom specializes in project and construction management, cost estimating and engineering, scheduling, constructability reviews and value engineering.

He has been involved in SMPS since 2007 and a member of the Washington, DC chapter since 2012. Tom was on the membership committee for 3 years, including a year as membership co-chair and co-chair of guru guidance, and most recently assumed the position of Chapter treasurer. With a degree in international business, Tom joined SMPS to improve and learn more about marketing and how it applied to the construction industry.

What something we might not know about you?

We have two dogs, a Border Collie / Hound rescue named Nash (he looks like a giant Jack Russell Terrier) and a Pit-Mix named Hope. We try to get outside as much as possible, walks, runs, hikes, camping, etc. Anything dog friendly really. We’re big sports fans, so when we’re not working we’re typically watching something sports related.

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

When I graduated from business school, I didn’t have a lot of direction but always liked construction and decided to interview with O’Connor, the company my Dad worked for. I guess things worked out. For SMPS DC, quite literally the 2nd day I was in town there was an SMPS event in Bethesda and I met a lot of great people. I had previously been involved in the SMPS San Diego chapter and knew it was a great organization to be a part of.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

Everyone deserves respect. It’s kind of the whole, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” conversation.

Melissa  Blum Headshot

September 21st, 2015

Say hello to

Melissa Blum, Director of Community Outreach

Marketing and Communications Coordinator, Affiliates Engineers

Born and raised in Southern Maryland, I am a product of a loving family and have wonderful parents to thank for my strong work ethic. My professional background has spanned a variety of “marketing” roles in different industries, with AEI being my first A/E/C experience. I enjoy being able to utilize my creative side while simultaneously assisting in developing the technical components of each project proposal. There is nothing more exciting to me than digging for details and creating the perfect alignment of information for a winning project pursuit.

When I'm not working, I enjoy my pets (Fiona & Bella), reading, traveling, live music and, if you've met me in person, you probably already know how much I love giving back to the community. I have a special interest in The Children’s Inn at NIH and I also spend my time volunteering with JDRF, DC Public Schools, and numerous veteran support organizations.

What something we might not know about you?

I am a die-hard Baltimore Ravens fan. I absolutely hate raw tomatoes and tea.

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

Random luck brought me to Affiliated Engineers and the A/E/C industry about four years ago. My boss and counterparts in other offices encouraged me to join SMPS almost immediately. Participating in the networking events, educational programs, and community outreach have helped me better understand the industry, make lasting connections, gain confidence and grow as a professional.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

Doing work under pressure equals mistakes or brilliance - it all depends on your attention to detail and ability to quickly adjust to change.

Twitter: @blummelissar

Instagram: blummelissar

Ashley Campbell 300X300

September 18th, 2015

Say hello to

Ashley Campbell, Director of Education

Director of Marketing at HITT Contracting, Inc.

Ashley Campbell, Director of Marketing for HITT Contracting, has more than 10 years of experience in the construction industry as a marketing and business development professional. Her primary responsibilities at HITT are to manage the pursuits and graphics efforts; provide strategic direction for the brand and proposals; oversee corporate events; and develop and manage the marketing team. Her numerous professional affiliations include: speaker and committee chair of ABC Virginia; Developing Leader in NAIOP Northern Virginia; former Board member of SAME Northern Virginia Post; and active committee member of CREW DC. She was named Young Member of the Year by the Northern Virginia Post of SAME in 2010 and chaired the DBIA National Design-Build Awards Jury in 2011. Ashley has contributed to various industry publications and holds a BBA in Marketing from James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va.

What something we might not know about you?

I’m a NoVA native and a JMU grad (’05). I have two kids, a son (5) and a daughter (3). In my free time I enjoy spending time with my husband and kids, reading and running. I don’t watch any TV, and I’m an avid reader! I belong to two book clubs, and I typically read a book a week.

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

I interned and was given an opportunity to sell new homes for Pulte. I was looking for a new opportunity, but wanted to stay in the construction industry, and while considering Centex Homes, I found a wonderful opportunity as a marketing coordinator for Centex Construction (now Balfour Beatty Construction). A wise manager and friend advised I join SMPS, and I have been a member of the DC chapter since 2006.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

Grow your bowl – look beyond your role and try to understand the bigger picture. The more you know about the real estate industry, A/E/C, and your firm’s offering, the better a marketer you will be. Always ask why!

Twitter: @ashmcampbell Instagram: ashmcampbell

September 17th, 2015

Say hello to

Seth Takoch, Director of Lunch Programs

Associate, Woods • Peacock Engineering Consultants Inc., Alexandria, Virginia

Seth TokachSeth has been managing and designing the structural aspects of building projects for over 12 years and has taken on the additional role of assisting in the marketing and business development for the firm for the past four years.

Continued involvement in industry groups such as ACEC, SAME, and SMPS has provided personal and firm success including having the opportunity to serve on the current SMPS DC board.

Recent project accomplishments includes the structural design and construction management for the major renovations of the, soon to reopen, Smithsonian’s Renwick Gallery.

What something we might not know about you?

I’m a proud father of my 2 year old son, Lindon, and I have a great wife Tara, who is a bigger Pittsburgh Steeler fan than I am. My hometown, Uniontown, PA, is the birthplace of the Big Mac. To date, I’ve only had one once.

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

My general interest in math and science, the inspiration of Frank Lloyd Wright’s nearby Fallingwater, and the guidance of my parents led me to Penn State where I obtained my Bachelor of Architectural Engineering with a specialization in structural engineering. So, from day one, I’ve been part of the AEC industry.

My involvement in SMPS came at the urgings of ownership to get involved in the organization as a way to develop and foster profession and person industry relationships, further develop my non-technical skills, and develop business opportunities.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

“Garbage in; garbage out.” In its essence, this applies to everything you do. If you don’t put forth quality and effort you can’t expect anything of value in return.

Twitter: @WPECsethtakoch

September 16th, 2015

Say hello to

Joe Monahan, CPSM, Director of Principal Roundtable

Business Development Manager, Alpha Corporation, Dulles, Virginia

Joe Monahan_headshotJoe has been working with Alpha Corporation since May 2003. With over 15 years’ experience in A/E/C marketing and business development, he has had the opportunity to be extensively involved in the pursuit of several major multi-million projects. Joe’s primary role at Alpha Corporation includes identifying new business opportunities and working with project managers in the development of marketing efforts. He is a CPSM and is actively involved in two professional organizations - SMPS Washington, DC Chapter and ACEC / MW. He has been a member of SMPS since October 2000 and is a Past President of the Washington, DC Chapter and recent recipient of the Ginny Solomon Golden Tuba Award. Joe is also the 2006 and 2010 recipient of the ACEC / MW Impact Award and 2011 recipient of the ACEC / MW President’s Award.

What something we might not know about you?

I attended George Mason University. I also serve on the board of my local Little League and coach my son Max’s baseball team.

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

I began my career in the AEC industry and SMPS DC in October of 1999 when I was hired by Joann Petillo at Schnabel Engineering.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

To join SMPS. This advice was given to me by Joann Petillo.

Twitter: @joemonahan16

September 15th, 2015

Say hello to

Kyle Veater, Director of PR/Communications

Kittner_20140916_4572Marketing Coordinator, David M. Schwarz Architects,

Kyle Veater is the Marketing Coordinator for David M. Schwarz Architects. A 2012 graduate of George Mason University, he is a Virginia Beach native and current Vienna resident. Kyle has been in the AEC marketing industry for almost two years and will be beginning his second year as PR/Communications Committee Chair for SMPS DC.

What something we might not know about you?Kyle Veater_dog_Riley

I am an avid golfer – I try to play at least once a week during the warmer months.

I have a 1 year old Berner-Collie (Half Bernese Mountain Dog, half Border Collie) named Riley that my girlfriend and I rescued in January. He is about 85lbs and growing – country sized, as many of the people in the office have told me.

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

I met my former boss, 2015-16 SMPS DC President Katie Garrett, while doing radio at the NFLPA. As someone with a marketing degree, I was looking to get into something more in line with my formal education. She mentioned that she had an opening and it seemed like a great opportunity.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

Persistence and perseverance are key to success, internally and externally.

September 14th, 2015

Say hello to:

Alexandra Hallheimer, Co-Director of Special Events

Marketing Coordinator, Keast & hood Structural EngineersKittner_20140916_4418

Alexandra has 6 years of marketing experience in the A/E/C industry with Keast & Hood Structural Engineers. Her responsibilities include all marketing, communication, and business development efforts for the DC office. Currently serving her second term as a member of the Board of Directors and co-chair of the Special Events Committee, Alex is responsible for providing member opportunities to build relationships with peers and potential teaming partners through networking events.

What something we might not know about you?

When I'm not at work, I spend most of my time playing sports and working out, learning to cook, and spending time with my family and friends.

My older sister, who recently relocated to London, somehow convinced me to run a half marathon in Paris with her next year.

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

Been part of the A/E/C industry for 6 years after graduating from James Madison University with a degree in marketing and minor in computer information systems. My boss, Mat Daw, an advocate of SMPS, encouraged me to join since I was the first marketing professional in Keast & Hood’s DC office. I started attending a number of SMPS events and became involved in the guru guidance mentor program and special events committee.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

Never stop learning and growing. Learn everything about your company. Don’t dwell on failures. Learn from them, grow from them, and accept them.

Twitter: @hallheam

Instagram: Hallheam

September 10th, 2015

Say hello to:

Mary Noonan, Co-Director of Special Events

Marketing Coordinator, Wiley|Wilson


As the SMPS DC’s Special Event Chair, Mary works to plan and execute all special events for the chapter. She has been involved with the Special Events Committee since 2011 and in 2013 became Special Events Co-Chair.

Mary began her career in the professional services industry in 2005 working for a land development firm, learning the ins and outs of the industry. Since 2009, she has been with Wiley|Wilson, a full service multi-discipline A-E firm, acting as the lead Marketing and Business Development contact for federal pursuits.

Mary received her Bachelors of Arts degree in Public Relations from Oswego State University in Oswego, NY.

What something we might not know about you?

I have a rescued pit bull, named Lionel.

I also aspire to travel to every state in the US!

Mary Noonan_dog_Lionel

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

Fell into a job in land development. My boss at the time, Sylvia Montgomery, encouraged me to join and I have been a member ever since.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

Check and recheck your work! Your eyes will do crazy things after reading the same thing too many times.

September 9, 2015

Say hello to:

Justin Jacobs, Director of Sponsorship

Director of Business Development, GORDON


Justin is the Director of Business Development and Marketing at GORDON, a multi-discipline design firm in Chantilly, Virginia. He started his career in the Defense industry managing national tradeshow programs, branding initiatives, and graphic communications for some of the nation’s largest government contractors. Additionally, Justin has worked as a Project Manager for a private marketing firm managing vendors and a wide range of print, branding, and web/multimedia projects for clients such as the U.S. EPA. In his current role, he oversees all business development and marketing efforts across multiple divisions and 2 offices in the mid-Atlantic. Justin is an active member of SMPS and serves on the DC Chapter Board of Directors.

What something we might not know about you?

I’m a Triathlete and participate in 3-4 races per year (taking on my first full ironman in 2016).


I used to raise, breed, and show Holstein cattle as a kid. Started with borrowing calves from my grandfather’s farm and eventually began traveling to events across multiple states and received All American class nominations.

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

I was looking to leave the DoD/Aerospace industry, as there was not much growth opportunity in the MARCOM role; and business development opportunities were limited if you were not former military or did not have a clearance. So, I applied to GORDON in 2007 and instantly loved the accessibility of everyone in this industry (by comparison). My first boss was an active member of the DC Chapter and encouraged me to sign up for SMPS - the rest is history.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

Never underestimate the power of a strong network. Never pass up an opportunity to “pay it forward” – it will come back to you.

September 8, 2015

Say hello to:

Ashley Kimery, Director of Membership

Business Development Coordinator, Walter P. Moore

Ashley Kimery

Ashley grew up in Los Angeles, California and graduated from Vanderbilt University with a double major in Psychology and Spanish. After graduation, she decided to abandon sunny LA days for good, and move to Washington, DC. Shes been working as a Business Development Coordinator for Walter P Moore for a year and a half. Ashley notes she is so fortunate to work for a company that has supported SMPS from the start, and encourages her to take on leadership positions, first, running Guru Guidance, and now as the Director of Membership.

Whats something we might not know about you?

I love experiencing new cultures and places. I’ve traveled to 23 countries; lived in Yokohama, Japan; and studied abroad in Sevilla, Spain.


On the weekends, I teach the SAT & ACT to high school students.

How did you get started in the AEC industry and SMPS DC?

I previously worked as a Development Associate for United Way, and managed a portfolio of corporate accounts. It was a very client-focused position dependent on quickly developing relationships. Walter P Moore was one of my clients, and offered me a position. I went to an SMPS event my first day of work!

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given for marketing in this industry?

Your network is your net worth.