SMPS Board Nominations are OPEN for 2020-2021

Dear SMPS Oklahoma Member,
You have the opportunity to be a leader, grow personally and professionally,
expand your network and influence, and give of yourself to an awesome
organization full of great people. This is the chance push yourself and gain
leadership experience.
Every spring, your SMPS chapter plans for next year’s officers and committee
leaders, officially taking their positions in September. The time has come to
help plan for our new leadership group at SMPS Oklahoma. The Nominations
and Elections Committee of SMPS Oklahoma is now accepting nominations for
the 2020-2021 Oklahoma Chapter Board of Directors and volunteers for our
committee positions.


The president-elect stands ready to fill in for the President in his/her absence. In
addition, the President-Elect shall have all the powers and be subject to the
same restrictions as the President. The President-Elect assists the President in
overseeing the Board and serves as an additional resource for all positions and
committees. The president-elect also serves on the Executive Committee of the
chapter. Nominees must have served as a committee chair for at least one year
to be considered for this role. This is a three-year commitment.

The treasurer is primarily responsible for accurate and timely keeping and
reporting of financial activities of the chapter. The treasurer also serves on the
executive committee of the chapter. Responsibilities include management of
the board’s review of and action related to the board’s financial responsibilities,
financial reporting at monthly board meeting, presentation of the annual
budget to the board for approval, reviews of the annual audit, preparation of
IRS tax forms/reports and the SMPS Headquarters’ chapter financial report.
This is a two-year commitment.

Director-at-Large – Programs
The director of programs is charged with the planning and implementation of
chapter programs. The programs chair drafts a budget and conceptual plan of
programming initiatives for the upcoming year; secures or oversees planning for
chapter programs which include location, speakers, food, handouts, audiovisual,
etc.; prepares program announcements and ensures timely marketing of
each program; works closely with the director of education to ensure that local
programming and education needs are met. This is a two-year commitment.

Membership Chair
The membership chair serves as the contact to SMPS Headquarters on all issues related to membership and is responsible for the recruitment and retention of SMPS chapter members. The membership chair drafts a budget and conceptual plan of membership initiatives for the upcoming year, provides membership information to prospective members, coordinates communication with members and prospects, conducts new member orientation, and tracks membership reporting data (expirations, new members, renewals, drops) through the SMPS Extranet for chapter leaders. This is a one year commitment.

Communications Chair
The Communications Chair is charged with raising the awareness and visibility of SMPS both internally and externally within the architecture, engineering, and construction industry and in the local region. This includes announcing meetings/events, election of new officers, special programs, chapter/member items of recognition, awards and special events. Responsibilities include: website and social media management (job bank, layout, listings and links, updates, etc.); preparation and distribution of all press releases, announcements and news items; interfacing with SMPS headquarter’s for national updates; takes photos at all chapter events; maintains chapter mailing lists; and maintains the SMPS Oklahoma brand standard across all publications. This is a one year commitment.

Sponsorship Chair
The sponsorship chair is responsible for establishing a sponsorship campaign for the year and meeting revenue goals to enhance our chapter’s ability to deliver benefits and resources to our members. Responsibilities include identifying possible exposure and promotional opportunities for sponsors, including events, venues, and merchandise; defining accountability and financial goals; contacting potential sponsors; sponsorship recognition (chapter website, sponsorship banners, promotional emails, etc.); and follow-up with sponsors. This is a one year commitment.

Striving for Excellence (SFE) Chair
Each year, SMPS headquarters hosts awards programs to recognize excellence in marketing in the design and building industry. The Oklahoma chapter competes annually for the Striving for Excellence (SFE) Award, which recognizes chapters for excellence in their management and service to members. The award program’s objectives emphasize a chapter’s program/education goals, membership, communications, financial health, and leadership. The SFE chair is responsible for coordinating the collection of content, design, and production of the final chapter award submittal. This is a one year commitment.

Not ready to serve on the Board of Directors? Join a committee! Open committee positions abound, including: Sponsorship, Communications,
Programs/Education, and Membership. Full position descriptions are available to all interested. Just contact me.

Send your nominations to me, Paige Criswell, no later than Friday, June 12 at [email protected] Nominations may be made by individuals (self nominations are allowed) or by petition and must be received by the Nominations and Elections Committee by June 12th. All nominations must include the nominee's personal data, verification of eligibility and a statement outlining the candidate's views on current Chapter issues and special areas of interest. Individual nominations will be screened and evaluated by the committee according to parameters and procedures established by the Chapter Board of Directors, and a slate of candidates selected that the committee believes represents the best balance for the board.

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Recap 2020 Spring Training Webinar Series

Thank you to everyone who participated in this week's Spring Training Webinars. We have one more webinar session to go! Below is a recap of each session is below:

Recap for Tuesday, May 19th @ 10:30am - Chris Rickman "Finance Matters! Planning and Performance Equals Profitability.” 

Why do I need to know this “Finance” stuff?

  • More effective in assessing which clients or projects to pursue
  • Some owners are requiring it during the RFP or shortlist process
  • Understanding of basic principles can help you climb the success ladder


Can I create more value?

  • For my firm?
  • For myself?
  • For my profession


Basic Terminology

  • Accrual Basis Accounting – Most commonly used. Revenues/expenses
  • Cash basis Accounting – Don’t hit the books until the clients pays the bill. Same for expenses.
  • Percentage-of-completion
  • Complete Contract – used when estimates cannot meet the “reasonably dependable” date
  • Direct Job Costs
  • Indirect Job Costs
  • G&A (Overhead) Costs
  • Reimbursable Costs
  • Income (Profit & Loss) Statement – Summary of company’s profit or loss
  • Net income (bottom line)
  • Balance sheet – Snapshot of a business’ financial condition


Return on Investment (ROI)

  • Difficult to measure in AEC industry
  • Every firm can calculate differently
  • Overall analysis
  • Not very effective, but good for a general look at ROI
  • If not by revenue, think about measuring by Hit Rate
    • Leads to wins
    • Proposals to wins
    • RFPs to shortlist
    • Shortlists to wins
  • Analyze your clients
    • Cost of pursuit
    • Client profitability


 Performance – Important Formulas

Overhead Rate

  • Total overhead costs, including indirect salaries, divided by total direct labor
  • Average of 1.60 (160%) in 2018


Net Labor Multiplier

  • Net revenues (generated by in-house labor only without reimbursable expenses) divided by total direct labor (without benefits)
  • Key measure of efficiency, actual results
  • Average of 3.01 in 2018


Staff Utilization Ratio

  • The firm’s total direct labor divided by its total labor
  • Will vary depending on staff type (80-85% for doers, 0-10% for admin
  • Industry average if 59.8%


Profitability – Ways to help be profitable

  • Define your firm
  • Don’t pursue clients that don’t match your services
  • Help establish client expectations


Don’t become a commodity

  • Familiar pricing strategy?
  • Stay on brand to who you are


Improve fee strategy

  • Don’t use past fee proposals without some analysis
  • Calculate overhead rates yearly
  • Don’t estimate what the client wants to spend. Reduce scope before reducing fee



Future profitability? Pay attention to backlog, FMI reports



Recap for Thursday, May 21st @ 12:00pm - Lauren Brookey "Crisis Communication" 

Take the Offensive and Plan. Opportunities can take shape.

  • Opportunities can take shape
    • Reinforce your organizational strengths
    • Test Internal Systems
    • Evaluate Current personnel
    • Reevaluate the marketplace, adjust strategies
    • Accelerate growth

Essentials for Success in a Crisis:

  • Commitment
  • Discipline
  • Evaluation

What you need:

  • Culture of respect for crisis planning and practice
  • Crisis Teams (A & B)
  • Potential Threats
  • Actions for each scenario
  • List of necessary resources
  • Necessary Relationships
  • Timeline for implementation
  • Collection of industry resources


How you prepare:

  • Regular team meetings, including CEO or COO
  • Timeline for elements (acquisitions of resources, scenario planning, training and financing
  • Accountability for milestones, training and drills
  • Celebrate milestones, achievements
  • Use every small crisis to evaluate and debrief on how to adapt the plan
  • Create templates for repeat events in your business


How to Succeed:

  • Culture and messages match your values and performance
  • Response is “slow and fast” (Think through the decisions you are making)
  • Employees feel training, prepared and protected to make critical decisions
  • Make sure business/community relationships support any changes in strategy, demands and temporary support
  • Current reputation is strong enough to inspire respect and confidence
  • Communication plan must reflect concern and engagement, control, commitment to work toward solutions not blame or excuses
  • Prioritize stakeholders based on nature of crisis and involve them, they are engaged and properly communicated with
  • Keep a running list of what needs to be improved or added for next crisis – post evaluation
  • Manage issues in a way that keeps CEO free for strategic decisions and key communications


Case Studies:

Explorer Pipeline

  • 10 years of planning and learning from mini-crises, helped develop that strategy

University of Oklahoma

  • Crisis issue team with executive involvement, charter, report outs, advance planning

Texas A&M

  • Two teams running simultaneously


Money Slide:

  • It Will happen to you. It’s only a matter of time
  • Your organization will be changed. No question. How will it be changed, for the better or for its demise?
  • Commitment, disciple and evaluation win every time.



False information – 50 percent of information turns out to be incorrect. Investigate further. Buy yourself time to gather as much information as possible. Gather it, confirm it.

Engaging an expert outside the company? Adding an outside firm can help you prepare, bring an objective plan and evaluate your plan.


Recap for Tuesday, May 26th @ 1:00pm Brad Thurman and Dana Birkes "Picture. Plan. Perform. - Ideas for Successful Business Development"



                        Internal Company Analysis

  • Skill sets: experience and past performance history
  • Staffing Situation: are we properly staffed? Experienced?
  • Capacity for growth: backlog and availability of staff
  • Quality client: what does a good client look like?
  • Quality Project: what does a good project look like?
  • Economic engine: what measurable drives us
  • Human Resource Strategy: recruiting, onboarding, training
  • Resiliency: remote working, strategic partners, procurement


Company Strategic Plan

  • Vision Statement: an aspirational statement of the future
  • Mission Statement: what we do today for who and how
  • Core Value: guiding beliefs and behaviors
  • SWOT analysis: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats
  • Long-Term goals: three to five with a 3-5 year view
  • Yearly objectives: three to five for each goal.
  • Action Plan: details how objective will be achieved



         Plan the Work

                        Business Development Plan

  • Logistics: annual, champion, strategic, revenue goal
  • Market research: players, predictive measures
  • Available resources: staff, relationships, experience
  • Chief competitors: who owns the market
  • SWOT analysis: focused on market sector
  • Targeted: prioritize sectors, prospects, current clients
  • Marketing Plan: budget, collaterals, ads, ect.
  • Accountability: measurables, champion, review assess


Client Capture Plan

  • Client Info: names, contacts, decision makers, key issues
  • Client research: decision makers, influencers, good client?
  • Competitive analysis: key players, strengths, weaknesses
  • Pursuit Strategy: differentiators, goals, issues to solve
  • Go/No Go: how do we evaluate the relationship?
  • Resources: Staff, alliances, consultants, materials
  • Accountability: meetings, follow-ups, firm-wide reporting
  • Goals: strategic, measurable, actionable, realistic, timely



            Work the Plan

            Learn everything you can upfront

  • Tap Network: professional organizations, alumni groups, friends
  • Go Social: if you don’t have a linkedin profile, GET ONE
  • Understand their business: Don’t expect to learn from them
  • Differentiate: features vs. benefits
  • Warm up the Call: how can you make a connection first?
  • 1%, 15%, 55%, 80%: Cold call, lead, referral, introduction.


Make the Call

  • Listen: don’t start out asking for work
  • Follow their lead: pay attention to voice clues
  • Be mindful of their time: Don’t blow it by continuing to talk
  • Ask for a meeting: Goal is to get in the door / on their screen
  • Follow-Up: if they can’t meet, ask their preference
  • Close: recap to make sure you have everything correct

Make the Visit

  • Prep…again: review your intel, decide on materials
  • Be on time: not too early, never late
  • Follow their lead: pay attention to voice and body clues
  • Be mindful of their time: Don’t blow it by continuing to talk
  • Smile! : be polite and act like you want to be there
  • Talk second: let them talk, then respond
  • Don’t Gush: overselling is as bad as underselling
  • Follow Up?: ask their preference for subsequent contacts


Virtual Considerations in a Covid-19 world

  • Yes, prep: just as you would for a face-to face meeting
  • Be Intentional: background, appearance, body language
  • Send Information in advance: agenda, collateral materials, ect.
  • Sharing Content: prep like a project interview.
  • Have a plan B: plan alternate platform if tech fails
  • Eliminate distractions: mute phones, pets, kids
  • Be Early: call in and be ready before they join
  • Be present: don’t multitask, look at camera, focus on them.


After the Visit

  • Document: enter information into CRM or tracking method
  • Send a note: use a handwritten note saying thank you
  • Follow-Up: use method and schedule discussed in visit
  • Research…again: look for information on topics covered
  • Look to help: pass along things that might be useful
  • Don’t be a nuisance: be respectful of their inboxes



Question 1: How do you encourage and hold PMs and principals accountable for BD efforts. Do you tie bringing in business to performance reviews? Do you incentivize?

Answer: Tasks should be assigned with deadlines. Decide how you will enforce…tied to metrics possible based on structure of company or some companies use “peer pressure” holding team members accountable by communicated what has been completed and what is left to be done to all team members. Make sure that when you assign a task to someone, you have their buy in for the project and the task.

Question 2: Is it possible to regain a positive perception of your company after your company's reputation has been diminished at one of the locations? How should you handle clients that are unhappy with previous services rendered?

Answer: Find out WHAT the issue is! If there is a problem with staff member and client, send another team member along with current point of contact. Might need to reassign point of contact going forward.

Question 3: Any recommendations for the engineer that doesn't listen to the client? They are a good engineer but the client doesn't like them. Do you send another person with them to the client meeting?

Answer: Capture Planning…PR/BD and marketing all work together. Identify what good looks like and measure it.  Identify the problem in a non-defensive way. Discover the who/what and why of problem.


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Event Recap: Marketing Resolution 2019

2019 Marketing Resolutions | Nailing the Interview

What it takes to really win and win big! Bringing together the right message, the right team, and the right pitch

Frank Lippert, FSMPS, CPSM and Kathryn Ness, CPSM, Go Strategies

Great coaching skills are one thing, but there is so much more to a winning interview. The message must resonate with the client, but, almost as important, it must resonate with the team presenting it. The team has to gel, come together, support each other, and sometimes save one another. That doesn’t just happen. Marketers don’t just put the right people in a room, coach them to like each other, and believe a message they crafted – it’s much more, especially when you really nail it! Come learn how to craft a message for the interview that everyone believes in and wants. Learn how to pull a team together and develop chemistry that triumphs over those dreaded interview scenarios. Come learn how to sell it by just being real, being the best you can be, and by being on point. This is not about interview coaching – there are a lot experts that teach that – this is about creating a story and telling it so that everyone buys in and votes “yes!”

How do you win work?

By standing out amongst the rest. 

What does an rfp look like?

10-12 pages, 1-2 pages about the project  , Several pages of Legalese, 1-2 pages of instruction, Due date

In reality, it's this

2 inch binder, Lots of meeting notes, Several pages of Legalese, Maps, drawings, sketches, diagrams, Due dates, plural

winning firms have this

Volume of data:

2 inch binder, Lots of meeting notes, Teaming agreements, Maps, drawings, sketches, diagrams, Due dates, plural

what the client really wants: an apple

The apple that continues to deliver and “feed” the community and growth that will come from project.


knowing the pursuit

pursuit planning basics

  • Scalable, get in front of 3-6 months in advance
  • Develop a schedule and get commitment early
  • Hold to budget and schedule
  • Living documents
  • Probably means less proposals, but more winning proposals 
  • Quote me on it: “Investing upfront = less investment, more wins

decision maker breakdown

See spreadsheet, collect the facts, read the news etc., figure out what those connections are. How will you approach them?

decision maker breakdown

Social Styles:

  • Driver
  • Expressive
  • Amiable
  • Analytical

decision maker breakdown

See provided Decision Maker Breakdown spreadsheet

key point discovery template

How those people will fit into the project:

  • Management
  • Technical
  • Partnership / Agency  > getting to know other agencies influencing project
  • Public > how this will affect the public, controversy
  • Environmental > Impacts on the surrounding environment etc.
  • Political >
  • Psychological > The “weird” stuff that happens during a project

key point discovery template

Put together an excel spreadsheet (See provided spreadsheet), How much experience does your team bring, education styles etc.

winning team qualifications analysis

See provided Team Qualifications Analysis Spreadsheet

What type of experience does the client want?

ie: “project manager has to have a degree in a certain study”

  • Availability of your team
  • What info needs to be gathered?
  • Qualifications form > separate meeting with team
  • Think about current projects in the office as they may impact this project

winning team qualifications analysis


Management Structure > ie: One person in charge, not a large team

winning team qualifications analysis

Compare winning team and your team strengths and weaknesses

Team > Have honest conversations with team, Gap analysis

Strengths ie: List major abilities

Weaknesses ie: bad listener etc.

winning team qualifications analysis

The Home Team Stack-Up

  • Competition
  • Game Plan
  • Consider bringing competitor’s branding visuals into your team meetings. This will most likely trigger a different head space for your team.
  • If you hire on people who used to work for clients, potential clients, or competition, within the first week, pick their brain about their experience there.
  • If game plan is weak, it's okay to call it a no-go – proposals are expensive and time consuming
  • Why should we bother de-briefing after a proposal? To narrow down what went wrong or what went right. The client typically won't tell you if you lost.

pursuit planning basics


  • 3-6 month lead time
  • Develop a schedule and get commitment early
  • Hold to your budget and schedule
  • Living Documents
  • Reduce “clone” proposals and make your approach more strategic


Storyboarding a great message

Walt Disney pioneered this process

Bring in items that inspire creativity ie: box of crayons, sharpies, change up the space – consider standing, not sitting


  • Defines the problem and solution (big picture)
  • Lays out your specific approach
  • Memorable, but not always catchy
  • Succint, but not always “aha!”
  • Don’t over think it

key messages:

  • Identify the key messages: Acquired through listening to the client
  • Differentiator messages start here!!!
  • Challenges of the project
  • Important aspects of the project

There must be:

-       From the client’s mouth

-       Triangulated

-       Tested

Storyboarding – Concepts, gains, evidence

  • Concepts > How will you relieve each pain point?
  • Gains> What does the client gain?
  • Evidence> Where have you done it before?


Storyboarding – Concepts (A)

This is where problem-solvers thrive, let the team talk it out because they are actually practicing the interview Q&A portion

It's the “how” part of the story

  • Get geeky
  • Spend time here
  • Let the technical professionals talk this out at length


Storyboarding – Gains (B)

  • Juicy Stuff
  • Clients eat this up
  • This is where the client goes “aha!”
  • It’s the “why!”
  • You CANNOT teach the client something new in your proposal


Storyboarding – evidence (c

  • The proofs
  • Photoraphy and stories
  • Testimonials
  • Video (a plus when submitting electronically)
  • Captioning “This is why we are doing this”


Storyboarding – Conclusive pitch

  • Tell them what you told them!
  • Tell them why you are the best team to do the job!
  • Sell them with your knowledge AND your enthusiasm
  • Ask for it



  • Alignment with their vision.
  • Moving together.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
  • Creativity – problem solving in new ways.

What’s out?

  • Regurgitation of the proposal.
  • “Dog and pony show”
  • PowerPoints
  • Hard sells

What’s in?

  • Collaboration
  • Strategic Surprises
  • Interactive discussions with interviewers
  • Problem solving strategies


Questions to ask when you make the shortlist


How did we rank?

How many firms submitted and how many were shortlisted?


            What can we expand/improve on?

            Why were we selected?

            Any specific concerns?


            Was there anything specific you would like us to cover in the interview?

            Has anything changed since the RFP?


            How many selection committee members?

            Where will the interview be and can we come see the room?


            How creative can we be with the interview?

            Can we rearrange the room?

            Can we make the interview interactive?

            Can we bring someone to observe/run PowerPoint (Marketing person)

Interview Prep

It is all about building relationships with interview members.

-       Grab coffee, lunch, dinner – anything to get out of the office.


-       Work together like a sports team.

o   Focus on goals, not individuals

o   Recruit the right players

o   Celebrate EVERY success!

-       Start training as early as possible.

-       Provide clear roles to each person

-       Expectations should be clearly defined


Visit the site together as a team. Envision the project! Provide food during prep meetings (people relax while they eat). Let people tell their stories, and LISTEN intentionally.

Fixing Broken teams

  • Be direct. Talk it out.
  • Be all-inclusive to team members.
  • Be empathetic when having difficult conversations.

Signs that you’ve got it

Laughter, fun, high fives, social media connections, increased empathy.

Signs that you need to keep working on it

  • The meetings drag on, and on, and on….
  • Eye rolling
  • Lack of interest (checking email, opening laptops)
  • Showing up late for prep

Starting Interview Prep

  • Go back to your storyboard! Put it on the wall, and start making talking points based on your proposal.
  • There should be 3 to 5 scheduled rehearsals before every interview. Start early!
  • Visit the site as a team, to envision the project.
  • Set deadlines – graphics, wording, info, etc.


People – them

  • Map out who you know/think attends the interview.
  • Show the team LinkedIn pictures for the people who will be interviewing.
  • Where are the influences who won’t be in the interview?

People – us

  • Map out team members who will have chemistry with their team members.
  • Who do you think our competition is bringing?
  • Introduce your neighbor, not yourself.
  • (Interviewer women should be matched with interviewee women, interviewer minorities should be matched with interviewee minorities, etc.)


Know the interview room layout! Taylor your presentation based on the room layout.

Talking points

Rough it out… but keep it simple. Use what works best for each team member.

Know the material! You can’t fake it.

Rehearsal #1

  • It will be hard to listen to/sit through. That’s ok!
  • It will drag on.
  • Schedule for double the allowed time-limit.
  • EVERYONE must be there.

Rehearsals to follow:

  • They should get smoother with each rehearsal.
  • Transitions and words get smoother, more natural.
  • EVERYONE must rehearse.
  • Time yourself at every rehearsal.
  • Ask the team about their attire – make sure it’s cleaned, pressed, ready to wear!
  • Use evenings wisely – help the team unwind and bind.
  • Talk to team members about their crutch words/awkward tendencies (nicely)

*Use a mock-panel with other co-workers. Have them ask real questions, without warning the team what they will be. Make the interviewees uncomfortable, so they will feel comfortable at the real interview.

Final rehearsal

  • Morning of, if possible.
  • Come dressed in your interview attire.
  • Time it!
  • Practice your eye contact and smiling.
  • Cheer each other on!


  • Be a giver, not a taker.
  • Be genuine.
  • Pause after key statements.
  • Short and sweet answers
  • Engage the interviewers

After the interview

  • Debrief with the team.
  • Write down Q’s and A’s that were asked.
  • Critique the interview *before* you get feedback from the interviewers.

Six lessons learned

  1. Keep the win-messages at top of mind
  2. Set daily agendas with goals (what by when)
  3. Be flexible, adjust to energy levels (work/life balance) (bend with the team)
  4. Build team chemistry (laugh/encourage)
  5. Technical expertise is important, but needs to mix with human side (empathy).
  6. Practice, practice, practice!
  7. Your competitors are!

Handout 1

Handout 2

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