Jim Calvo Outdoor 2

29 Oct, 2018

Member Spotlight: Jim Calvo

Anne Morris

Member Spotlight  
Blog Types

Read time: 4 minutes, 49 seconds


Name: Jim Calvo

Company: Clark Construction Group, LLC

Title/Role: Vice President, Marketing

Hometown & Current town: Passaic, New Jersey (home) + Gaithersburg, Maryland (current)

Alma Mater(s): Pace University, Lubin School of Business – New York City Campus (ever hear of it?)

Family/pets: One Great Dane, three cats, and a cockatoo

Favorite DC-area restaurant: Inferno Pizzeria Napoletana (yes, great pizza in Maryland!)

Favorite DC tourist destination: National Archives

Favorite travel destination: Costa Rica

Favorite book – business and/or pleasure: "Purple Cow" by Seth Godin

Food you always crave: Cheese (any, and all)

Favorite celebrity/brand to follow on social: Nancy Duarte and Richard Branson

Favorite app: TED

Favorite movie: One? Really? Let’s go with two: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Goodfellas

Currently binging on Netflix: Master of None and Mad Men

When I’m not at work you’ll find me: Foundry Fitness or playing baseball

Dream job: Creative Director at an Advertising Firm (see Mad Men / Don Draper)

Let’s Get To It…..

What got you into the AEC industry and what keeps you here?

Put simply, my ‘dream job’ wasn’t paying well enough. I was seeking out internships in New York City and had two offers on the table… Morse Diesel International (construction) offered me $25 p/hour and Ogilvy (advertising) did not. So, my carefree/careless young self decided to follow the money instead of the dream. Little did I know that decision would change my life and ensure that I would never win that coveted CLIO Award. Following a few recurring internships, I officially joined A/E/C marketing in a full-time capacity before my final semester began and never looked back.

Why have I stayed?

Despite the many negative stereotypes surrounding life as an A/E/C marketing professional, that is an easy response. First is the thrill of the chase and the diversity of the work. Those who know me will say I can be highly competitive – and they are right. I hate to lose, and revel in the opportunity to dissect a new pursuit and its unique requirements, develop the strategy and story that will help us be successful, and work with diverse teams to prep for the big show. This leads to the next two areas that I love… working with diverse teams on an equally diverse range of project types. The cynics say that our work is repetitive and boring. I say that on any given day I am looking at an office building, a courthouse, a hangar, and a wastewater treatment plant, and each of those requires a completely different approach and a different level of creativity (an SMPS MCA Award is my new CLIO). Furthermore, each one of them is led by a completely different team of industry experts that I get to work alongside and not only grow and learn from but also collaborate with… including senior management (no other position I know has such access to and interaction with leadership). Finally, it’s the people I meet. This industry offers you the opportunity to meet (and work with) a wide range of people from many different walks of life – all of whom have something new and interesting to share. I’ve learned so much from just meeting new people. Honestly, why would you want to do anything else?

When and why did you first join SMPS, and what keeps you coming back?

I joined SMPS in 1994 before some of our newer members were likely born. At that time, I joined the New York City Chapter because as I was growing up in the A/E/C industry and expanding my network of industry peers I learned quickly that SMPS was the industry organization for people just like me. After attending several events, growing my rolodex (we didn’t have smart phones) and learning new things about the industry and a slew of topics that directly impacted my ability to be a better marketer, I was hooked. And, this is the reason why I keep coming back. As the industry has evolved, so too has SMPS. It really is amazing to look at an SMPS Marketer magazine from 10 years ago (yes, I still have them) and see how some things are still applicable today while other areas have evolved and advanced beyond what anyone likely ever envisioned. If you are a professional services marketer in the A/E/C industry, SMPS is frankly the single greatest collection of talent, training, and resources available to you.

What advice do you have for our newer SMPS DC members about getting the most out of their membership?

Don’t make some of the same mistakes I have made: become actively involved in one of SMPS’s many committees as they are literally shaping the evolution of how A/E/C marketing professionals think, act, and work; attend as many events as you can because the knowledge gained and networking opportunities are invaluable; and, take full advantage of the plethora of training resources available to members as you will not find more directly applicable continuing education anywhere else. Also, LEARN THE BUSINESS. You can’t effectively sell what you don’t know. Your value to your organization will grow exponentially if you truly understand the business you are in.

What has been your favorite SMPS DC or SMPS event?

It’s all about timing. Just a few weeks ago I attended a VIP Member event that brought together local marketing professionals (and guests of their choosing from their respective firms) and some of DC’s heaviest hitters in the development community. What I enjoyed most about this event was not the impressive nature of the guest list; nor was it the fact that it afforded very casual interaction with some of industry’s top clients. What I truly appreciated was that the event positioned SMPS as an industry-leading organization and its members as valuable members of their companies that contribute in more ways than the traditional and often stereotypical and limited view of Marketing professionals and their role.

What part of the SMPS mission to Advocate, Educate, and Connect most resonates with you and why?

This is difficult because I find so much value in each, but advocate is one that has always been a motivator for me in my own career. I am a firm believer that you are only ever as good as those around you and because of that should always be an advocate for your team, especially in an industry where we are always seeking ways to add value and be viewed as trusted partners. I never pass up an opportunity to push a team member into the spotlight.

What is your favorite SMPS DC memory?

Becoming a sponsor and supporting the next generation of Clark’s Marketing professionals to become active and engaged members of SMPS DC.

Best work-related advice you’ve ever gotten?

No one works for me – everyone works with me. These words have molded my leadership style. We are only as good and as successful as the people around us, so if we are all in it together, and all working towards common goals and successes then everyone is moving up personally and professionally, which reminds me of one of one of my favorite quotes… “it is amazing what you can accomplish if you don’t care who gets the credit.” (Harry S. Truman)