ACEC Coalitions Update

Engineering Influence sat down with Matt Murello and Kevin Peterson to get an update on ACEC Coalitions.


Host: Welcome to another edition of Engineering Influence, a Podcast by the American Council of Engineering companies. Today we are very happy to bring you an coalition update and to give us an update on what's happening in coalitions we welcome coalitions Chair, Kevin Peterson. He's president and CEO of P2S Incorporated out of long beach, California and coalition Chair-elect, Matt Murello, president of Louis S. Goodfriend and Associates. He's out of Chester, New Jersey. So welcome to you both and one of who, kind of start off with a update on advocacy and the coalitions, what's happening in advocacy.

Kevin: Thank you, Jeff. This is Kevin. And currently we're developing our 2020 coalition advocacy agenda in consultation with the ACEC advocacy and external affairs department. We're happy to report that our coalitions continue to be strong contributors to the ACEC PAC. Last year we were represented 55% of the total PAC dollars from our members, up a couple percentage points from the previous year.

Host: And that's really good news. The PAC is one of our strongest tools to advocate our position so that is good news. From the membership side of the coin, where are things looking at coalitions?

Matt: Thanks Jeff. This is Matt Murello. And so every year, one of our coalitions or sometimes too, we have a recruitment drive, which is steered by the the ExCom of that coalition. And this year we started a new drive for the geo professionals coalition in November, netted 16 new members. And we also implemented a recruitment drive for both CAMEE, COPS and Land Development, which got us six more community volunteers. So we're looking forward to continuing to increase our numbers. I believe we're up by another 2% this year. And continuing to spread the word of the value of coalitions.

Host: That's fantastic. That's, that's, that's key because membership into the coalitions, it's easier than people think. And we need to get the word out there for ACEC members that it doesn't take much to join. And recruitment efforts like that, recruitment drives are critically important to start getting more people involved. And one of the benefits one of the benefits once you are a member is education which is another big area that we're looking to work on. So what's happening with education sessions with coalitions and events?

Kevin: So let me, let me update you on what we did in the 2019 fall conference in Chicago and coalition sponsored seven education sessions. We had also had five member round tables during that conference. In terms of, in between conferences. At the end of this week we have our 2020 small firm coalition winter meeting, taking place in Dallas focusing on leadership at all levels. We expect that to be a very successful event and later this month we'll have our 2020 coalition winter member meeting that's going to be held February 27th and 28th in New Orleans. And it really will be exploring the future of design software technologies. And a lot of our coalitions are also doing ExCom meetings. At that meeting. So it should be a very successful event right after Mardi Gras.

Host: Ah, that's, that's a perfect time to be down there right after the party stops. When you can actually move around and registration, I understand us is now open for that winter meetings, is that correct?

Kevin: It is. And, and they can find the registration link on, on the ACEC website.
Host: Fantastic. Publications are another area that we really focus in on. It's, it kinda builds off of the education piece. Have there been any updates on publications in the coalitions?

Matt: Yeah, there has. And you know, you hit the nail on the head when you talk about one of the distinct advantages to being a member of the coalitions and with all the coalitions being in one group a membership to any one of the coalitions allows you access to all of these documents. And if anyone from ACEC were to purchase them and were not a member of the coalitions, it would cost thousands of dollars. And the, the documents are constantly being updated since July 1st we have a seven new or seven documents, four that have been updated and three new ones. The new ones are come from our CASE and new Geoprofessionals Coalition on lessons learned as well as commentary of the ASCE design procedures and health and safety plan checklist. So this is a process that's always going. We usually have between five and 10 updated or new per year and we're continuing moving in that direction. We also have in November-December Engineering, Inc., we featured our coalition leaders talking about prospects in resiliency, changes in leadership and climate change. So we're, we're out there our leaders are out there and talking about industry trends.

Host: Yeah, that's a really good point Matt, because like you said, if you went off and you tried to source these publications on your own and you tried to buy them or, or just find them somewhere it would get expensive really quickly. And being a member of the coalitions gives you that amazing library of content that if you are a sole practitioner or a small firm and you're trying to get your leadership educated and you're trying to figure out, you know, different business strategies or contracts, you know, the coalitions just gives you a treasure trove of material that you can just get access to, which is just so beneficial.

Matt: Yeah. And Jeff, I mean, most of our most of our publications that come from the coalitions may be practice oriented. So you know, if they're for structural engineers or for the mechanical electrical group but a good chunk of them, I would say probably close to a quarter of them are business centered. So if you are, like you said, a small firm and you're looking for that HR document or you're looking for a basic on how to basic contracts and setting up a new office or some employee handbook issues, chances are somebody has already spent the time and capital in putting something that you might be able to at least make as a starting point as opposed to trying to reinvent the wheel. And it's, it's an invaluable resource for coalitions we find.

Host: And then I guess the last part is operations and how everything's being structured. Have there been any operational changes within the the coalition structure to note?

Kevin: One thing to note is when we started out coalitions years ago, some of those were councils to begin with. And we decided late last year that we wanted to have our, a consistent branding across our coalition. So the ones that had council in their name, we've, we've officially now renamed them to coalitions. So coalitions will appear everywhere in our branding and counsel is now being put to put the rest. We also last year recognized Mike Snyder from Dewberry as a recipient of our sixth annual Coalition Distinguished Service Award. That's something that we give out every year at the fall conference.

Host: All right. So that was kind of the top list of materials and things going on with coalitions. Is there anything else going on you guys want to add? A kind of free fire zone here about coalitions or, or anything you want to get across to our audience? Being our, our the leaders of our ACEC coalitions?

Kevin: This is Kevin and I, I would just recommend that anyone who's a member of ACC and especially new members who join, if they have any questions related to coalitions that they please reach out and they can find our contact information on the website. They can also contact Heather at ACEC headquarters. We're more than willing to share some of our personal experience in dealing with coalitions and how it's benefited our own organizations.

Host: Wonderful. Well, I want to thank you both for taking some time out of your day. And thanks again for giving us an update on ACEC Coalitions. It's all good news across the board and we're looking at growth and expanding our footprint of our coalitions in 2020. And thank you for being on the show and look forward to having you on again soon.

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