Hot Firm Speakers
As founder and CEO of Blinds.com, Jay was an early mover in e-Commerce, in 1993 bootstrapping his website built in his garage for just $1500 into the world’s #1 online window covering store. In January 2014, Blinds.com was acquired by The Home Depot. Jay is still active as CEO, driving and integrating the Blinds.com platform into Home Depot’s interconnected retail strategy. Jay earned a BBA in Accounting with Honors from the University of Texas in Austin, after which he worked as a CPA for KPMG Peat, Marwick. His next seven 7 years were with the national franchisor, Meineke Discount Mufflers as Vice-president of Finance. In 1987, following the sale of Meineke, he and his wife started a small brick and mortar retail store selling custom window coverings. They sold their store in 2001 and went online full-time.
Blinds.com has been awarded 50 Most Engaged Workplaces in America, Top 5 Workplaces in Texas, Houston’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work, Best Customer Service Department of the Year, among many other others. Jay has served on numerous charitable organization boards, and is currently on The XPRIZE Innovation Board. He is an Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, has earned a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Houston Technology Center, and writes a column for Inc. Magazine entitled Chief Effective Officer. Jay is an advocate and frequent speaker on how company culture and authentic core values drive profitable growth.
Most likely you were an entrepreneur before you had ever heard the term, or even understood what it meant. Prepare yourself for a fascinating talk on the philosophy of entrepreneurship by Jack Portman, architect and developer whose father was the most successful architect turned developer in the nation’s history.
Entrepreneurs are creators and forces of nature; Portman’s talk will reference historic entrepreneurs, their beginnings, successors, and visit “entrepreneurs denied” as sons of entrepreneurs.
John C. (Jack) Portman, III is the Vice-Chairman of Portman Holdings, the land and property development company, and is Vice Chairman for John Portman & Associates (Portman), the architectural and engineering firm. Mr. Portman has structured the priorities of Portman to reflect the organization’s values: client service, world-class design, and creating successful environments in which people succeed.
Mr. Portman has led the companies’ international endeavors in the design, development and management of overseas projects. He is responsible for the firm’s entry into China and has initiated projects in other countries in the Pacific Rim.
As Founder and CEO of Knowledge Architecture, Christopher is responsible for research and development, sales and marketing, and corporate operations. He is the executive producer of KA Connect, our annual knowledge management conference for the AEC industry. Christopher has been a technology leader in the AEC industry since 2002, including serving as the Chief Information Officer for Steinberg Architects and the Information Technology Director for SMWM (now Perkins+Will).
Christopher has a degree in History from Wake Forest University. He’s an avid reader, hiker, birdwatcher, and cook.
Vice President of Business Development and Co-founder
Corporate Tax Advisors, Inc.
Dawson Fercho is a partner-founder of Corporate Tax Advisors, Inc. He is also an IRS Enrolled Agent admitted to practice before the Internal Revenue Service and licensed by the US Department of Treasury. Dawson brings over 20 year of consulting experience, 15 years exclusively focused on the Federal Research Tax Credit, working with small to mid-size manufacturing, technology, engineering, architecture and construction clients.
Mark Enos is a Senior Application Specialist at Bentley Systems and is primarily focused on Bentley’s Solutions for Buildings and Facilities. Mark has spent almost 20-years at Bentley Systems, with 10-years previous industry experience as a Project Architect and CAD Manager at several leading design firms. Duties at Bentley Systems include certified product demonstrations, training, deployment and project coaching at variety of design and engineer firms, owner operators, and government agencies.
Jim is responsible for managing a portfolio of national, ESOP-owned and closely held, privately-owned companies. Jim also supports new business growth by developing creative and competitive financing structures, as well as for providing counsel to existing and potential clients on a range of business decisions, including succession planning and other M&A activity. Jim is a member of the Illinois and National ESOP Association and the National Center for Employee Ownership (NCEO), and holds his Bachelor of Science in Finance from University of Illinois, Urbana- Champaign.
Pat leads Wintrust’s national ESOP lending practice, providing competitive financing solutions to ESOP-owned companies. Pat has 26 years of commercial banking experience and a proven track record of developing and building relationships, financial analysis and risk management, and development of his staff. Throughout his career, Pat has been responsible for leading a team of bankers tasked with generating Middle Market opportunities in the Chicagoland area, and new and mature ESOP opportunities across the country.
Pat holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Ball State University and a M.B.A. from Loyola University Chicago.
Matt Jordan is the Regional Sales Director for Project Delivery in North America. Matt has been with Bentley for 11 years, primarily focused on the Utility industry working with clients in the generation, transmission and distribution segments of electric, gas, water & waste-water networks. Currently he leads a team of account managers in support of key partners within the engineering, procurement, construction, maintenance and operations industries. His team is responsible for developing and supporting digital transformation strategies through the provisioning of integrated project delivery applications, in an effort to advance the world’s infrastructure
Mark Little is the Chief Technology Officer of ProjectBoss. Mark has nearly 20 years of experience in the software development field, primarily focused on building web-based solutions for companies such as JPMorgan Chase, IBM, ThermoFisher Scientific, and Oracle.
Matt is Managing Director of Wintrust Construction, Engineering & Architecture (CE&A) Group. Mr. Doucet leads the Bank’s national CE&A lending practice, providing competitive financing solutions to the firms who support the Construction Industry.
Matt has spent the last 28 years working with CE&A firms in the Surety and Banking Industry. He spent the first 15 years in the Surety Bonding Industry working with CE&A firms of all specialties and sizes, covering the Midwest, West and Southeast territories of the country. Over the last 13 years Matt has been in the Banking Industry partnering exclusively with CE&A firms regionally and nationally providing financing solutions to help achieve their operational goals and objectives. Matt is an active member of the CFMA, Illinois Road Transportation & Business Association, Surety Association and has been the Treasurer of the Chicago Building Congress for the past 6 years.
Mr. Doucet holds a bachelor’s degree in Management from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
June R. Jewell, CPA, is a business management consultant to the Architecture and Engineering industry and author of the best-selling book, Find The Lost Dollars: 6 Steps to Increase Profits in Architecture, Engineering, and Environmental Firms. For over 25 years she ran a successful business and Deltek consulting practice, and is now focused on working with A&E firm leaders to help them improve their processes and systems, and give them the tools they need to be able to hold their employees and managers accountable to increase profitability. June is President of AEC Business Solutions, offering business assessment tools and business management training programs designed to help A&E firms increase profits and groom their project managers and future leaders for success. You can learn more about June and her company at www.AECBusiness.com