Conferences weathering the storm

August 2010 » Features » EVENTS
The Best Firms To Work For Summit and StormCon conference showcase successful business and stormwater management practices.
Stephanie Hildebrandt

If there’s anything the Great Recession has taught us, it’s that successful teams and working relationships are more important than ever. And the engineering industry is no exception. This year’s Best Firms To Work For Summit — presented by CE News, Structural Engineering & Design, The Zweig HR Letter, and the Environmental Business Journal — showcases the initiatives companies are taking to retain talented employees, keep them motivated, and run successful businesses.

At the same time, firms continue to realize the importance of keeping up-to-date on the latest in civil engineering. In this case, that means stormwater management, the focus of StormCon.


Best Firms To Work For
A company can’t have innovation or talent alone. It’s the combination of the two that makes a firm successful. And in times like these, a strong workforce is everything. So how can leaders in the engineering sector make sure they have the “best in the business” to keep their companies propelling forward? That’s what the 10th annual Best Firms To Work For Summit will answer.

The two-day symposium, held Sept. 28–29 at The Palazzo hotel in Las Vegas, was designed to deliver critical tips, strategies, and tactics to architecture, engineering, and environmental consulting firm leaders, as well as human resource professionals. Last year’s event brought more than 100 attendees from presidents, principals, and other executive-level professionals to human resource directors, business development managers, and other leaders looking to learn the essential elements for attracting and retaining top talent in the industry. This year’s program will be centered around the following themes:

  • Leadership & Innovation: Tactics to Move Your Firm from Surviving to Thriving
  • The Talent Pool: Staffing Strategies in Preparation for Market Recovery
  • Training & Development: Engaging and Cultivating Top Performers
  • Human Dynamics: Transforming Groups into Highly-Effective Teams
  • Best Practices: Lessons in Maintaining Motivation, Productivity, and Profitability

Attendees can customize their agenda with a range of concurrent focus sessions. The first day of the conference will feature sessions, such as “Keeping Employees Engaged in an Age of Disruption,” “Balancing Benefits and Your Firm’s Bottom Line,” “Business Growth Lifecycles: How Successful Leaders Adapt at Each Stage,” “Generation X/Y and the Aging Workforce: Optimizing Collaboration,” “Improve Your Firm by Improving Your Value to Clients,” “Using 360 Feedback as a Strategic Tool: The Dos and Don’ts of 360 Style Performance Evaluations,” and “Dollars & Sense: The Business Case for Making Training a Core Competency,” among many other sessions. There will even be a session about how the TV show “The Office” is affecting your office.

The keynote session of the day, presented by Mark Young, managing director, Future Considerations, is called “Unleashing Bright People’s Potential: Building a Powerful Organizational Culture and Boosting the Bottom Line Using Authentic and Democratic Principles.” This session calls out the importance of attracting and inspiring quality employees, and introduces key principles and practices for building a high-authenticity, high-engagement organization which can generate superior commitment and performance among employees.

And on the first night of the conference, after much assessment and deliberation by a judging panel, the 2010 Best Firms To Work For ranking will be announced. Based on responses to both corporate and employee surveys, finalists will learn their final rankings on this prestigious list. This honor proves that the winning firms have discovered a successful combination of benefits, compensation, management style, work environment, culture, perks, and professional development that effectively serves clients and wins acclaim from employees. Even in these challenging times for AEC firms, more than 150 sought this accolade and applied. It will be a night of fun and celebration for all attending the summit, but especially for those whose firms made the list!

The second and final day of the conference will feature the following sessions: “Differentiating Your Business Through Strategic Talent Management,” “Leadership Development: It’s Not Just for the Senior Leaders,” “Not About the Money: How Creative Social Responsibility Drives Recruitment and Retention (case study), “Plan, Process, and Tools: Leading a Learning Organization to Drive Performance and Engagement,” “Social Media and the AEC Enterprise,” and “Collaboration: Value Change and the AEC Organization.”

To be part of this relevant and inspiring event, register online at www.bestfirmssummit.com/registration.html, or call 224-632-8212 (Monday-Friday, 8:30-5:30 CT). Registration fees before Aug. 31 for conference attendees are $895 for the first attendee and $795 for additional attendees from the same firm. After Aug. 31, the fees are $995 for the first attendee and $895 for additional attendees from the same firm. Registration fees before or after Aug. 31 for Best Firms entrants are $795 for the first Best Firms entrant and $695 for additional Best Firms entrants. Any questions should be directed to Stagnito Media at 224-632-8212 or bestfirmsummit@stagnitomedia.com. For more information about the event, visit www.bestfirmssummit.com

StormCon
As highlighted in last month’s issue of CE News, StormCon — the North American Surface Water Quality Conference & Exposition — will be held Aug. 1–5, 2010, at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort & Spa in San Antonio, Texas. The conference attracts thousands of stormwater and environmental services professionals from state and federal regulators, researchers, and municipal managers to construction contractors, consultants, and engineers.

Pre-conference workshops will allow attendees to earn continuing education (CEU) credits; and exams focusing on stormwater and erosion control will enable certifications including Certified Professional in Storm Water Quality (CPSWQ); Certified Professional in Erosion and Sediment Control (CPESC); Certified Erosion, Sediment, and Storm Water Inspector (CESSWI); and Certified Inspector of Sediment and Erosion Control (CISEC). Plus, for the first time at StormCon, the American Public Works Association (APWA) will offer its Certified Stormwater Manager exam.

The conference’s five-track course curriculum focuses on best management practice (BMP) case studies, low-impact development, stormwater program management, water-quality monitoring, and advanced research topics. Plus, Texas A&M University–Kingsville, in cooperation with the Lower Rio Grande Valley TPDES Stormwater Task Force and the South Texas Environmental Institute, will be presenting a supplemental educational track. The following is a selection of the many presentations of interest to civil engineers:

  • BMP case studies — Ultraviolet Disinfection for Stormwater Treatment in Coastal Carolina — Ronald Geiger, HDR Engineering; Tom Garigen, Horry County, S.C. (Tuesday, Aug. 3, 8:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m.)
  • Low-Impact Development — Denser Is Greener: Higher Density as a Stormwater BMP — John Jacob, Texas A&M University (Tuesday, Aug. 3, 8:00 a.m.–8:30 a.m.)
  • Low-Impact Development — Low-Impact Development vs. Light Imprint: What is the Difference? (Tuesday, Aug. 3, 8:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m.)
  • Stormwater program management — Deconstructing the Construction Effluent Limitation Guidelines — Adrienne Boer, PBS&J (Tuesday, Aug. 3, 8:30 a.m.–9:00 a.m.)
  • Stormwater program management — An Adaptable Process for Identifying and Qualifying Stormwater Retrofits — Jennifer Zielinski, Biohabitats Inc. (Tuesday, Aug. 3, 4:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.)
  • Water-quality monitoring — Considerations for Designing an Automated Regional Water-Quality Monitoring System — Oliver Galang, Los Angeles County Flood Control District; Lisa Skutecki, Brown and Caldwell; Nancy Gardiner, Brown and Caldwell (Tuesday, Aug. 3, 8:00 a.m.–8:30 a.m.)
  • Advanced research topics — The Porous Pavement Curve Number Conundrum — Thomas Ballestero, University of New Hampshire Stormwater Center (Tuesday, Aug. 3, 2:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.)
  • Texas A&M — Adopting Roadside Filtration Media BMP for Dissolved Metals Removal at the End of Pipe — Alan D. Black, HNTB Corp.; Robert P. Armstrong, Huitt-Zollars Inc.; Angela Deardorff, Washington State Department of Transportation (Tuesday, Aug. 3, 8:30 a.m.– 9:00 a.m.)
  • Texas A&M — The Kensico Action Plan: An Innovative Integration of Watershed Modeling and BMP Design — Sumant Mallavaram, HDR Engineering; Laura Csoboth, HDR Engineering (Tuesday, Aug. 3, 4:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.)

Registration for the full 2.5-day conference is $525 for attendees, $450 for speakers/sponsors/exhibitors, and $125 for students. For more registration packages and to register online, visit www.stormcon.com/register.shtm


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