Annual ElevateAEC Conference

ElevateAEC Conference & Awards Gala

Frisco, TX | September 13-15, 2023
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Stay tuned for updates about next year's ElevateAEC conference!

“This conference is the best in the industry. With great networking opportunities, valuable learning sessions, and access to the best advisors, this conference is a must-attend for any AEC professional.”

– Past attendee feedback

2023 ElevateAEC SPEAKERs

Amy Matsushima
Human Resources Director
About The Speaker
Beverly Williams
Chief Human Resources Officer & Principal
About The Speaker
Bill McConnell
About The Speaker
Blake Godwin
About The Speaker
Bolanle Williams-Olley
Chief Financial Officer and Co-Owner
About The Speaker
Brandon Blackberg
Director of IT, Civil Engineer
About The Speaker
Brian Bowers
About The Speaker
Chad Clinehens
President & CEO
About The Speaker
Chad Coldiron
Principal & Director of Development
About The Speaker
Dan Williams
Executive Consultant
About The Speaker
Darin Anderson
Chairman & CEO
About The Speaker
Debbie Warner
Principal and Senior Vice President
About The Speaker
Edward Renenger
About The Speaker
Gordon Greene
Executive Vice President
About The Speaker
Harry Clark
Managing Director
About The Speaker
Jamie Claire Kiser
About The Speaker
Jeremy Clarke
CEO | Founder
About The Speaker
Jesse Kropelnicki
Chief Executive Officer
About The Speaker
Kevin Honomichl
President & Owner
About The Speaker
Kit Miyamoto
Global CEO
About The Speaker
Kristin Kautz
About The Speaker
Laura Nick
Communications Director
About The Speaker
Mailena Urso
Chief Marketing Officer
About The Speaker
Michael Graves
Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer
About The Speaker
Oleg V. Petrenko
Associate Professor in the Strategy, Entrepreneurship, Venture and Innovation Department
About The Speaker
Ryan Suydam
Chief Experience Officer
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Steve Lucy, PE
About The Speaker
Stuart McLendon
Chief Financial Officer
About The Speaker
Tom Godin
Director, Strategic Planning Services
About The Speaker
Tony Mirchandani
About The Speaker
Tracey Eaves
Valuation Services
About The Speaker
Will Swearingen
Principal & Director of Ownership Transition
About The Speaker
Ying Liu
Advisor, Strategy
About The Speaker

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

8:00am - 4:00pm
M&A Next Symposium
3:00pm - 5:00pm
Check-In for ElevateAEC
5:00pm - 7:00pm
ElevateAEC Welcome Reception
6:00pm - 9:00pm
Evening Golf at The Swing

Lighted Walking Course with Limited Capacity - First Come, First Serve

thursday, september 14, 2023

Welcome & State of the Industry

with Chad Clinehens & Bill McConnell

Hot Topic Roundtables

2-15 Minute Discussions

Elevate Keynote

with Best Selling Author - Harry Clark

Rising Stars and Top New Venture Awards Luncheon
Breakout Session One

A: Beyond Culture: Compensation Strategies to Drive Recruiting and Retention Performance
- with Jeremy Clarke

This session will explore the latest employee data from the Best Firms To Work For and compensation assessments and discuss how successful firms are navigating the increasingly competitive recruiting and retention challenges. It will include valuable insights from inside a successful AEC recruiting agency. The session will be a blend of presentation and roundtable discussions. 

B: Using Fractional Chief Officers to Boost Leadership and Organizational Performance
- with Mailena Urso (Facilitator), Stuart McLendon, Tom Godin, Ying Liu, and Dan Williams

Explore the power of utilizing fractional “C-suite” executives and external board members to boost organizational performance. This session is ideal for firms interested in getting high-level expertise without the commitment of hiring full-time Chief Operating Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Strategy Officers, Chief Marketing Officers, etc. Join this roundtable discussion to gain practical insights on how fractional leadership can optimize operations, financial strategies, marketing endeavors, and overall corporate strategy to drive growth and impact.

C: Strategic Planning that Strengthens Culture: Insights from a 10-year Best Firm Champion
- with Michael Graves and Laura Nick

This session will provide attendees with a behind-the-scenes look at how nationally-ranked #1 Best Firm To Work For Garver uses strategic planning to help drive a culture that has helped the firm maintain top ranking for the past decade. This session will be a blend of presentation and audience Q&A. 

Breakout Session Two

A: Beyond the Business: Impacting Lives Through Purpose-Driven Work
- with Kit Miyamoto

This session will discuss how to operationalize a powerful purpose and mission to inspire employees, clients, and the community. This session will be a blend of presentation and audience Q&A.

B: DEIB is a Work in Progress: a Panel Discussion with AEC Leaders
- with Steve Lucy, Jesse Kropelnicki, Kevin Honomichl, and Amy Matsushima, moderated by Jamie Claire Kiser

The work of DEIB in the workplace is never "complete." Join these AEC leaders on different paths and at different stages of bringing diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging to their firm and the industry as they share their experiences and advice.

C: Strategic Employee Ownership Strategies to Facilitate Successful Internal Leadership Succession
with Ed Renenger

This session will provide attendees with various strategies and tactics they can use to facilitate internal ownership transition, with the primary focus on using an employee stock ownership plan. The session will also cover considerations such as management and leadership success. This session will be a blend of presentation and audience Q&A.

Breakout Session Three

A: AI and the Implications on the AEC Industry
- with Kristin Kautz

This seminar will explore AI 101, what it is, and what you should know, including its inherent problems and emerging opportunities. We will outline the most significant ways that AI will affect your business from top to bottom, in every corner of your organizational chart, through design, leadership, management, HR, accounting, legal, and marketing. This session will be a blend of presentation and audience Q&A.

B: CEO Roundtable (an Encore)
- with Will Swearingen

Calling all CEO Roundtable alumni, as well as anyone interested, for another round of facilitated roundtables.

C: Strategic Leadership Coaching Program for Entrepreneurs Kick-off (Pre-registration required)
- with Oleg Petrenko, Ph.D

This session will be the in-person kick-off session for the Strategic Leadership Coaching Program, a two-month program. 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 Elevate attendees (excluding a $195 fee for an online assessment).

Networking Break
Red Carpet Cocktail Reception

Sponsored by OpenAsset

Awards Gala

A celebration to honor the 2023 winners of the Hot Firm list, Best Firms To Work For, Marketing Excellence, Excellence in Client Experience, Rising Stars, Top New Ventures, and the Jerry Allen Courage In Leadership Awards.

Celebratory Night Cap

Friday, September 15, 2023

Opening Keynote - "BOLD Leaders, BOLD Firms: Igniting Personal and Organizational Growth with BOLD Leadership"

with Bolanle Williams-Olley

Best Firms Panel Discussion: Workplace Flexibility – Beyond the Hybrid Work Model - How to Engage Remote Staff

with Brian Bowers, Gordon Greene, Beverly Williams, and Debbie Warner

Hot Firms Panel - Impact of Technology and AI on the Future of the Design Industry

with Brandon Blackberg, Chester Ney & Kristin Kautz

Sustainable AEC Workforce Solutions

presented by ElevateHER®

Hot Topics Roundtables

4-15 minute rotations

Conference Concludes
Optional Golf Experience

Book a tee time with your resort reservation!

Contact Chad Coldiron at to join other conference attendees for a round on the green.