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: Tulsa Metro Area Civic Panel - May 2020

Meet the Host & Panelists

Cassie Reese Tipton, CEC – Host/Moderator

Alexis Higgins, CEO - Tulsa International Airport

Anna America, Director for Parks and Recreation - City of Tulsa

John Feary, Executive Director - CIEDA

Kiam Kamas- Chief of Economic Development - City of Tulsa

Moderated Questions Session

Q1: Tell us about your current role – about your organization and what are your specific responsibilities.

AH: At Airport for 20 years, in the current role for 14 months. Main focus is recruiting airline activity to Tulsa. Oversee how the airport operates. Provide opportunity to continue to grow Tulsa aviation. Providing the necessary support, we can to our tenants.

KK: Manage a team of 10 people. Chief of Economic Development. Focus on helping to facilitate development in Tulsa. Lot of work with private development in Tulsa. Work with businesses who are considering moving to Tulsa.

JF: Focus is creation, attraction and enhancement of expansion of jobs in the manufacturing industry. We partner with Claremore and Rogers County. Lot of emphasis in talent development as we continue to bring in outside clients.

AA: Manage 135 parks and 8,000 acres, 94 playgrounds. Over the last couple of months, we’ve realized how important parks and open spaces are to help bring the kind of business and workers we want into our city.

Q2: How has your organization changed daily operations in response to the pandemic? Do you expect any of these changes will impact your organization in the long term?

JF: Realize that we don’t need as many meetings as we would normally have. Invested in Zoom. We can be just as resourceful from afar and get as much accomplished. We’ve been fortunate not to see a slowdown.

AH: Activity has decreased by 95-96%. Activity is picking up, but it’s night and day compared to what it used to be. We aren’t sure how long it will take for us to get back where we were before COVID. Construction in the terminal is continuing. Our staff has split shifts and we will be continued to move forward.

AA: It’s impacted operations quite a bit. We opened some spaces last Friday. Everything is kind of a wait and see approach. We have internal plans but we’re just waiting to see how that progresses. This has forced us to think in creative ways. We’ve done a lot more virtual programming. Some programming outside in the parks that gets kids ways to be involved. We’ve been able to take advantage of not having to work around people. Projects getting done.

KK: We’ve had a lot of larger projects already started and those projects are continuing to move forward. We did see a decline in permits issued, but it wasn’t that noticeable. It was between a 15-20 percent drop. The long-term concern is the drop-in oil prices and the impact that will have long term. We face some significant head wins.

Q3: Has your organization canceled or postponed any projects in response to the pandemic? If so, do you have any idea when they will go back online?

KK: Projects are still moving forward. We’re trying to get permits done quickly and back out the door. We don’t want to be the reason to slow down activity.

AA: We don’t have anything that is delayed. We’ve got lots of projects going on. More than a dozen playground and park projects that are in the design phase currently.

JF: The city is looking to spend several million dollars in infrastructure needs. No real slowdowns.

AH: Really taking a hit in our operating capital needs. Our

Q4: What’s next for your organization? Are there any upcoming projects or initiatives you are excited about?

AH: Excited for our Schwabb Hall project (Rental car, security checkpoint, etc.). Will be a new experience for customers when they come through the facility.

KK:  Excited to continue to work with American Airlines and moving that process forward. Massive projects like that just take a ton of work and lots of moving parts. We’re continuing work on redevelopment of PAC lot, which is planned to be redeveloped into a grocery store, mixed use development. Working with a developer on that project right know.

JF: We haven’t really slowed down a lot. Lots of RFPs coming through and we’re still responding to some projects. A couple of retail developments that have been wanted by the community. We’re excited about those developments. We’re looking towards those retail developers that are still spending money.

Q5: You all lead large, complex organizations. What is the best way for our membership to stay connected with you or who would be the most appropriate person on your team for us to connect with?

AA: I really appreciate people reaching out to me directly and passing along cool things or ask, ‘why aren’t we doing this in Tulsa?’

JF: $20 million spending in next couple of years on projects. City Engineer is the best contact person for those.

AH:  Email is the best. Airport contacts:

Frank Relja:  [email protected] - Director of Engineering and Planning OR Jonathan Gobbo - Director of Real Estate - [email protected]

KK: Engineering Services handles a lot of the big projects. If I can’t give you an answer, I’ll find an answer for you.

Q&A Session

Terminal changes – We already have designed our facility so that there are minimal touch points. We will continue to think about how to make everything as touch free as possible. The entire process for air travel will change. How long will that last?

April Sales Tax – They are down, about on par with what our expectations were, but still a dramatic drop. Another source of revenue that has taken a huge hit is our Hotel/Motel tax. We’ll be watching both revenue streams and trying to figure out “what does the rebound look like?” With the reopening, we could see some shifts to sale tax collections, but the overall hit will not be short term.

KK: We’re thinking internally about how not to slow projects. We’re trying to do as much as possible, if anything, to accelerate projects that we have going on.

JF: We’re kind of hoping to accelerate those projects. We’re in a fantastic position because we can go out and get 2% loans. Our budget will be affected, but not as much as the City of Tulsa. We hope to recover from that quickly.


Click below to access webinar recording: Password: 0M!n**e7

SMPS Municipal Panel Webinar Recording

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Event Recap: Education Panel with Tulsa Metro Area Schools OCT 2019


  • Charlie Bushyhead - Associate Superintendent, Union Public Schools
  • Jeff Buyer - Executive Director of Construction and Community Services, Jenks Public Schools
  • Michelle Bergwall - Chief Operating Officer, Broken Arrow Public Schools 
  • Chris Hudgins - Executive Director of Bond and Energy Management, Tulsa Public Schools


  • What new trends in education are affecting the way you plan, design, and build facilities?
    • CH - Collaboration learning, interactive, multi-use, small groups instead of standard lecture style classrooms. Really taking advantage of everything in school building.
    • MB -With storms and school shootings focus on safety – looking at the design of entries and storm shelters
    • JB - Look at the learners and include students in the design planning. Different learning platforms.
    • CB – Student concerns, including them more. Safety and security, Flexible space opportunities for shared spaces.


  • When selecting design and construction partners, what are some of the most important attributes you consider?
    • CB – accountability – we understand there are problems but we need our partners to step up and take responsibility – all 3 parties – Oz principal – see it, own it, do it
    • MB – trust you and enjoy problem solving and designing with you – click with the team – accountability is important but “do you get us?”
      • Talk at a design meeting then meet again in a few weeks and you delivered what we wanted, we know you get us
      • Connection and trust - we spend a lot of time together
    • CH – team, problem solving, and learning from mistakes
    • CB – acceptance of kids – career connect programs – mentorship of kids and mean it


  • Many educational projects are delivered with the CM-At-Risk delivery method. What benefits and challenges do you realize with this method?
    • JB – benefit - preconstruction process because of the timelines. Hit timelines. Build relationships so when there are challenges, we deal with them in a strong team setting – challenges – cost, however we know that you get what you pay for.
    • MB – Can be more expensive, but benefit – can control project cost and timeline, competitive bid
    • CB – leverage so if it doesn’t go well there won’t be a future relationship so there is pressure to fix it and make it right. You can do that with CMAR
    • CH – quality improved and it’s worth it to add cost
    • We don’t have time to manage it our self
    • Only downside is cost


  • How can A/E/C companies better serve the education industry?
    • JB -as the education field changes and evolves stay up to speed and deeper understanding. Help us stay ahead of the trends. This adds value.
    • CB – because there is a labor shortage, set up programs where you bring kids in and teach what you do and mentor
    • MB – Be available to make a phone call for situations other than design/construction and be a resource
    • CH – be creative to bring more efficient designs (sustainability) to save resources for the school


  • What’s the best way to “market” to your institution? In other words, how should companies that are interested in working for you approach you?
    • CH – send an email and get on the RFP list
    • MB – don’t go to board members. Answer RFP and get to know team
    • JB – Invite us to a project you are proud of, especially ones with a similar scope. Brochures are nice but seeing a finished project is a good way to know you and your work. Use the school’s colors and not a competitor’s colors. Do your homework. Knowledge of team and projects etc.
    • CB – invite me to a project. Connect when we don’t know the answer. If you aren’t already a partner, bid our projects. Had they not been on the bid they wouldn’t have been contacted.


  • What kind of visualization technology do you want to see during the design process?
    • CB -Virtual walkthroughs. Sometimes biggest change orders came from not being able to visualize correctly.
    • MB - 3D modeling and virtual – stakeholders need help to visualize.


  • Can you give a list of examples of sustainable solutions that are working for you? How is sustainability influencing your design choices?
    • MB - Design for long-term. Tile and block. Easy to maintain. Maintenance costs. Would like to do solar and wind but too expensive.
    • JB – Think about a school’s resources and capacity. Low cost, low complexity for maintenance.
    • CB -Water 2nd highest utility, double what gas is. Stay current with trends to help us. We look to designers to know.
    • CH - Dual use spaces – storm shelter and education space and look nothing like storm shelter.


  • What projects is your district currently working on?
    • CH – two construction projects – Rogers Stadium and Library addition at Patrick Henry. Under Design-
    • MB – bidding new STEM facility. 4 years into a 12 year bond. Middle schools and auditoriums upcoming
    • JB – collaborative project – 2 elementary schools – dealing with the wetlands and water and green land between two schools. 2 schools cannot work together. Freshman academy, turf projects and new buildings.
    • CB – 3rd year of 5-year bond and new 5 year coming. Bleachers and demo of west bleachers and stadium, fine arts, wrestling, baseball turf, leveling off so upgrades needed


  • What projects does your district have planned long term?
    • CB - 5 year – replace elementary – make old buildings new
    • MB – finish 12 year then look at high school to possibly split. Keep up with growth so new elementary schools
    • CH – improve all schools and security


  • When an RFP is out what is a do or don’t do on a proposal and what do you want to hear from us in the interview?
    • MB - Don’t just bring VP – bring who will be on project and answer the questions so she can compare apples to apples.
    • JB - Interview – be honest and upfront and come as you are. We want to know how you are going to be day to day not just a presentation mode. Don’t make a disconnect and dress the way you are and be authentic.
    • CB – don’t give up. He wants to give others an opportunity, and sometimes you might lose but maintain the relationship so you can have one in the future.

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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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Event Recap: Personal Branding

Personal Branding – What, Why, How
Xavier Neira, Manhattan Construction Company (presenting for Rachel Mann, American Fidelity)

Marketing professionals spend their days supporting the brands of their companies but can struggle with creating their own personal brand. Having a personal brand will aide in our success both personally and professional. To create your personal brand, you must first understand the difference between a brand and a label. A brand proceeds you, a label follows you. Your brand although may align with your companies, will be a representation of you, not your company. These six easy steps will assist in you finding your personal brand.
Most importantly, BE YOU!

Ask yourself:

-What do you cherish?
-What do you support in the community?
-What do you value for yourself?
-Do you value your rest?
-What hobbies do you want to make time for outside work?

-What do you bring to the table?
-What can you offer that makes you unique?
-Helpful websites:
How to Fascinate?

How do you distinguish your brand from your company’s? Share with important people in your life. Gather feedback. Peers may recognize different strong suites than you might.

It’s okay to say NO. Ask yourself if the opportunity aligns with your brand? Stand with your values and filter everything through your brand values.

Attend and engage in events and groups that support your values. When someone asks what you do, share your brand statement (keep it natural). Don’t forget to use business cards. Promote your personal brand through an online presence. Photos and posts should be professional but reflect your personality. It’s great to share your passions and values but don’t only self-promote. Remember to post with purpose. What you had for breakfast doesn’t promote your brand!

-Use Canva to create your brands look and feel.
-Get a memorable headshot -professional but fun!

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Event Recap: Local Media Panel


On Tuesday, September 11th we had the pleasure of hearing from some of the most well-known news outlets in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. Panelists Molly Fleming from The Journal Record, Jason Collington from The Tulsa World and Meagan Farley from Newson6 told the audience what it takes to get our stories publicity. Detailed questions and answers can be found below.

Is the press release dead?
• Building relationships are very important
• Press releases are welcomed but if you have a personal relationship it will help your story get heard
• They are always looking for stories so send everything
• Building a relationship and talking to someone over phone or coffee will communicate story better than a press release
• Clearly communicate what the news is and be sure to find the right person to get it to – reporters are clearly labeled on websites.

Other than companies reaching out, where else do you get your story ideas?
• Paying attention to trends
• Getting lost in our own cities and seeing signs around town
• AIA meetings
• Leasing transaction from brokers
• Bills from legislators
• Tulsa World has a software for social media for certain words and people that will notify them of alerts
• City Council agendas/meetings
• By approaching developers to try to get to them for stories before actual groundbreaking

What are your thoughts on saying “no comment” when approached by reporters?
• No comment is a bad idea. You are just saying you don’t want to say anything right now but are delaying it which makes the reporter know they just haven’t found everything out yet, which makes them dig more
• Goes back to relationship building. Let the reporters know what is going on and explain why it can’t get out yet. They will sit on the story until you are ready as long as you tell them why and let them know when they can release it
• “Off the record” is just as bad as “no comment.” Reporters are not here to make anyone look bad, just communicate like normal people.
• If anything is public record it is going to be talked about so you might as well talk about it.
• No comment = what are you up to

What time should we contact you with a lead or press release? What is your deadline? What is the process?
• Editorial meetings at 9:30am and 2:00pm. The list has been made by the time that meeting happens.
• If you have already reached out at a different time, Meagan suggests reaching out again at 9:00 or 9:15 to refresh their memory.
• Make sure press release explains the benefit that will make it stand out and be seen.
• Send by email directly to reporter.
• Stories will not be aired unless there is a rendering.
• Timing is constrained so have everyone ready and someone who can communicate the message well when interviewing.
• Make it as visually entertaining as possible
• Editor meetings 9:15 and 3:15.
• Don’t just give words but if you have visuals that will help be seen and will give a leg up.
• Tulsa World has a gallery for upcoming projects so there are no time or spaces constraints. Submit everything.
• Workforce Series is a new series about people who actually do labor outside and not in an office.
• If it’s still a few weeks before you want to release the story, still send it.
• Phone calls are great to talk it all through.
• Send everything. Maybe the story you are pitching won’t work how you are thinking but they can figure out a different way to share your story.
• Don’t call between 2-4pm as they are working on deadlines.
• Don’t overthink press releases (don’t stress out and wait for a quote because it likely won’t be used).
• If reporters request something and you can’t get it in time then just tell them so they can move on

What is the biggest misconception about your job?
• We are not the enemy. We are not secret spies.
• We won’t be here forever. You want your story in there but you don’t read it or watch it and they can tell that you don’t. You need to support and subscribe to journalism so that it doesn’t go away.

No audience means no business.
• They do this because they care about the community are passionate about it.
• They are genuinely interested in the stories and really want the stories to benefit the viewers.

What do you see happening the next five years in the reporting business?
• Everything has moved strongly into digital. The demand is on the reporter to do Facebook Live, tweets, etc. all day long, maybe before it even airs. – NEWSON6
• Newsworthy stories get read no matter what.
• Largest audience reads stories online.
• They keep putting relevant news online that people care about.
• People get the app or breaking emails.
• News outlets are working to conform to our lifestyle. If its important it will get to you.
• They try to get stories to people that others follow who will share it so it reaches larger audiences
• People seek the truth so they strive to tell the truth to people. That is their reputation.
• All the news outlets can complement each other to get the big picture across.
• Stories that have a challenging piece are great.

Jason Collington shared helpful links for Tulsa World.
Beat info and contact info:

Download the app to get free push notifications:



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Event Recap: Measuring Your Marketing ROI

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Event Recap: Change Management


On June 12th, SMPS Oklahoma had the pleasure of hearing from speaker Jeff Wilkie on the subject of Change Management. Jeff is leader of Human Capital and Organizational Strategies for Hogan Taylor Advisory Services. Jeff is also a faculty member for the University of Tulsa’s ELITE Program. He Is an engaging speaker who has spoken at SMPS Nationally as well as recently speaking at SMPS-SRC.

Jeff spoke about the relevance and application of change management in which he compared change to a stream. Much like change, a stream is always moving, it has obstacles and it modifies the environment. He then spoke about the impact that change has on people as it is often times a new beginning which can be hard to accept for some. In addition, typically after change occurs, performance goes down because of resistance. There are four strategies for personal change: be a role model, use the grapevine, encourage each other and practice “intrapeneurship”. (All four of these strategies can be found on the attached card for more details.) The best thing to do when change is happening is to help people see how they could do things differently and give them tools and opportunities to do so. We all need to know how we are affected by chance to be able to help others. Change is a process and when there is an emotional connection to change transition is required. It is best to apply personal strategies when times of uncertainty occur.

 For more information on managing transitions, coping with periods of uncertainty and strategies for personal change management see attached handouts from Jeff.

Jeff Wilkie Handout 1

Jeff Wilkie Handout 2

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Event Recap: Marketing/BD Leadership Panel


Want to transform your business? Let Marketing have a seat at the table.

  • Be strategic about your time. Sometimes you can’t get where you want to be in one organization and may have to make a change.
  • Ask for what you want from your company/peers but you must be prepared to deliver.
  • Educate yourself and share information with others. This will help you gain respect.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Call mentors.
  • Get involved. Being involved in groups like SMPS will help give you confidence and will build leadership skills.
  • It is difficult being a woman in a male dominated industry. People want employees who are aggressive but it can be seen in a negative light compared to men. You need to understand the financial drivers of your organization. Educate yourself in what you do to move to the top.
  • Educate others of the importance of what you are saying. Whatever you do give your reason for why you are doing it.
  • Women have to work harder and longer to move up. Be more strategic than who you are working against. Use blocks as motivators. Earn respect by working hard and proving yourself.
  • You succeed when you go with the firm’s business style.
  • Find a mentor outside of the company and make it someone who will encourage and help you succeed.
  • Understand all facets of the company brand.
  • Be seen as a trusted advisor on a topic that you are good at.
  • Think of yourself as a leader of the organization, not just of marketing. Be seen as more than just your job title. If you see a need somewhere, fix it yourself.
  • Recommended Books:
    • Inside the Magic Kingdom – book about customer service
    • EQ vs IQ
    • Simon Sinek TED Talk “Superchickens” – about how to tell a story and gain emotional connection.

Marketing at the Table_Roadmap V2

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