An entrepreneurial event

Jul 23, 2023

Chad Clinehens, PE

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This year’s ElevateAEC Conference is an opportunity for you to drive personal and professional growth.

Forget the clichéd and buzzwordy uses of the term “entrepreneur” and focus on the simple definition – one who generates economic value through the creation and development of business. This is an important role in our profession and represents the attendees of the annual ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala. The current and future leaders of the highest performing AEC firms will gather in Frisco, Texas this year to network, learn, and celebrate at the Omni PGA Frisco Resort, the newest and most innovative venue in recent history. This year’s event is themed around the value-generating power of the award-winning entrepreneurs and entrepreneurial firms that comprise the ElevateAEC audience.

Return on investment is another important aspect of entrepreneurial success and we understand that taking three to four days away from the office must provide a great return on your time and investment – and this year, the pillars of network, learn, celebrate, and recharge will deliver. Along with our ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala (September 13-15) starting Wednesday evening with a reception and continuing with a full day Thursday and a half-day Friday, we’ve got our M&A Next Symposium (September 12-13) as a pre-conference add-on starting Tuesday evening with a full day on Wednesday. Come in a day early and you can gain incredible insight into an industry force that affects all firms: mergers and acquisitions. Whether you are looking to grow through acquisition, sell your firm to drive opportunity for employees, or just learn more about something that is affecting the value of every firm in North America, M&A Next will be a valuable add-on for all firm leaders.

At both events, we have an extra special line-up of speakers, sessions, and experiences to foster the entrepreneurial spirit. At ElevateAEC, there is something for everyone with breakout sessions covering every area of the business from board governance to chief executive leadership to ownership and leadership transition to AI to recruiting and more. Panel discussions on the main stage with our top winners will include subjects like the workforce of the future and the implications of AI on design and production. Our ElevateHER® cohorts from previous years will participate in a unique, fast-paced presentation/competition where attendees will vote for the best recruiting and retention solution. Last but not least, we’ve got an incredible line-up of general session keynote speakers including:

  • Harry Clark. The best-selling author of Mistakes Millionaires Make, a book that stands apart from the rest with its fortune-saving recommendations and insights into the risks that all entrepreneurs face every day. You don’t have to have millions to walk away with practical advice for living a better financial future in whatever business venture you undertake and to maximize value in your firm.
  • Bolanle Williams-Olley. She is CFO and co-owner of Mancini Duffy and author of best-selling book BUILD BOLDLY: Chart Your Unique Career Path and Lead with Courage, and her talk on “BOLD Leaders, BOLD Firms: Igniting Personal and Organizational Growth with BOLD Leadership” will explore the power of bold leadership and give attendees actionable insights to ignite both personal growth and organizational change, and understand how to leverage her B.O.L.D. framework.
  • Bill McConnell. The CEO of Vertex, Bill will help kick-off the conference with his insightful, macro-level look at the industry, along with current and trending economic conditions expected to impact the AEC industry.

Additionally, we have a special leadership coaching program that will kick off at the conference this year. The program is aimed at top leadership of AEC firms with the goal of improving social and cognitive skills through strategic self-awareness. The special program is funded through a research grant and will be offered free of charge to ElevateAEC attendees (excluding a $195 fee for an online assessment). The program will be limited to 35 participants and will include a group kick-off session during the conference followed by three individual debrief/coaching sessions over the following two months (three one-hour virtual sessions). Click here to sign up for the program.

Finally, we added “recharge” to the goals of this event last year and the Omni PGA Frisco Resort provides an incredible opportunity for attendees and their guests to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience at Omni’s newest resort, which features four onsite pools, including an adults-only rooftop infinity pool, rejuvenating treatments at Mokara Spa, and inventive fare at 13 on-site dining destinations. At the heart of modern golf culture, Omni PGA Frisco Resort delights with 500 thoughtfully-appointed guestrooms and suites and 10 exclusive ranch houses. Attendees will have access to two 18-hole championship courses designed by acclaimed golf course architects Gil Hanse and Beau Welling, will be able to practice on a two-acre putting course, and continue after dark at The Swing, a lighted 10-hole, par-three short course where we will host our Wednesday night activity. We’ve got special tee times reserved for attendees who want to stay Friday afternoon and get a round in before heading home.

An important aspect of entrepreneurship is growth. M&A Next and the ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala is an opportunity for you to drive personal and professional growth, giving you dedicated time away from the office to work on yourself and your firm. Join us in September for an inspired and highly curated event aimed at elevating yourself, your firm, and the industry

Chad Clinehens, P.E. is Zweig Group’s president and CEO. Contact him at

Elevate AEC Conference & Awards Gala This is the largest in-person gathering of industry leaders and award-winning firms, all interested in evevating the industry. This year’s conference has a jam-packed agenda designed to help you network, learn, and celebrate like never before. Join us in Frisco, TX, September 13-15. Click here to learn more!

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About Zweig Group

Zweig Group, three times on the Inc. 500/5000 list, is the industry leader and premiere authority in AEC firm management and marketing, the go-to source for data and research, and the leading provider of customized learning and training. Zweig Group exists to help AEC firms succeed in a complicated and challenging marketplace through services that include: Mergers & Acquisitions, Strategic Planning, Valuation, Executive Search, Board of Director Services, Ownership Transition, Marketing & Branding, and Business Development Training. The firm has offices in Dallas and Fayetteville, Arkansas.