May 2018 Print

President's Message

The Power of Teamwork and Collaboration

As I look back at the last month or so, I am amazed at everything our chapter has accomplished, and I’m so excited by all the things yet to come this year.  I guess I really shouldn’t be surprised, because we have such an incredible team of volunteers working tirelessly to bring more and more value to our members.  We’ve also benefited from collaborating with other organizations.  As a matter of fact, our last three chapter events were all done in collaboration with other groups.  If you weren’t able to attend the Higher Ed panel in April where we teamed up with SMPS Maryland, you missed a fantastic program.  Over 100 people were there to hear the latest trends in design and construction on college campuses, from Penn State to Gettysburg College to the University of Maryland.  Last week we co-hosted two events with other organizations, the first being our annual spring networking mixer with nine other A/E/C groups.  Café 1500 in Harrisburg was abuzz with lively conversations, and I even overheard some project teaming arrangements being made!  Two days later, we joined the Keystone Contractors Association and the Public Relations Society of America’s Central PA chapter to present another panel discussion, this one focused on building stronger media relations.  Questions from the audience kept our esteemed panel on their toes, and the positive feedback I received from both the attendees and the speakers during the networking hour was awesome.  I attribute the success of these programs to the power of teamwork and collaboration.  A big THANK YOU to all those involved in planning and executing these events!


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Board News


It's time to elect the SMPS Central PA Board of Directors for the 2018-2019 Program Year

Planning for the 2018-2019 chapter year is underway and I’m happy to announce our Board of Director nominations. The following board positions are already established, based on past elections:

  • President – Cristina Barnes, Stahl Sheaffer Engineering
  • Immediate Past-President – Shawn Barron, RETTEW

Nominees for the 2018-2019 Board of Directors are:

  • President Elect – Ann Mark, McMahon Associates
  • Treasurer – Todd Stager, P.E., Pennoni
  • Secretary – Melissa Yost, NTM Engineering
  • Director-at-Large – Kristen Troxell, Benchmark Construction
  • Director-at-Large – Sara Crimmel Miller, Warfel Construction

The survey link is below. You will need your SMPS Central PA ID and password to access the survey as a member of SMPS Central PA. These may be different than your SMPS National username and password. If you have problems logging in to vote, please contact me.

Voting closes on May 15, 2018.

No position has more than one person running for it, but we do need your vote to make it official according to our Bylaws!  

Thank you, and as always, please feel free to contact me if you have any questions!

Cristina Barnes

Election Ballot: SMPS Central Pennsylvania 2018-2019 Board of Directors (click here to access)


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Upcoming Events

We have a lot of exciting events coming up this year and we hope to see you there! Click on the hyperlink for registration details and visit our website often for updates!


Upcoming Events



Your Clients are on Social Media. Yes, yours!

Your clients are on social media. Yes, yours! And, oh by the way, they are talking about YOUR brand and YOUR projects!

Register Now


Get your feet wet and your hands dirty...We're building a reef!

SMPS Central PA is bringing our AEC industry together for an impactful Chesapeake Bay enhancement and oyster restoration project.

Register Now

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Welcome New Members

Brittainy Adams, Business Development Manager
RGS Associates

Olivia Perry, Manager of Communications
AIA Pennsylvania

Shaun Shea, Business Development Manager
CCS Building Group

Shaun Shea is the Business Development Manager at CCS Building Group. He graduated from the University of Pittsburgh with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree, with a focus on Marketing and Human Resources Management. His career has evolved from working in the commercial roofing industry as an Estimator and Project Manager, to then working as a Project Manager for a General Contractor and now in Business Development at CCS Building Group. He lives in Mountville with his wife Julie and  2-year-old son Brady. They enjoy anything that gets them outdoors including boating, kayaking and hiking just to name a few.



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Sponsor Spotlight of the Month


Founded in 1969, RETTEW began as a small, local firm; today, we have a national presence and employ more than 350 professionals across 11 offices. Our long list of technical expertise includes civil, transportation, environmental, and structural engineering; site planning and design; surveying; safety consulting; subsurface utility engineering; and design-build services. Spanning so many disciplines allows us to connect all the dots, to see how every piece of a project affects the other. RETTEW brings our clients’ goals and dreams to life on time and on budget, with an emphasis on quality and safety. We strive to understand our client’s vision for their project, and we anticipate needs to stay ahead of emerging trends. Our innovative approach means discovering solutions that may not have been thought of before — and finding more effective, efficient ways to put them into action.

RETTEW has continued to evolve year after year, embracing changing trends and adding new services to meet client needs. This commitment to growth has landed us on Engineering News-Record’s annual list of the Top 500 Design Firms almost every year since 2000. Other accolades, such as the Quality Achievement Award and the Quest for Business Excellence Award, affirmed our quality work and gave us confidence to continually expand our expertise year after year, while keeping our focus on what we do best: supporting our communities. RETTEW’s corporate culture provides a warm and welcoming work environment where employees can thrive, grow, and make a difference in their company and community. This positive atmosphere — and commitment to safety and excellence — contributes to our success in the field.

RETTEW Awarded Diamond Award for its Natural Gas Virtual Pipeline Terminal Design Project

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Pennsylvania (ACEC/PA) awarded RETTEW a Diamond Award for its Natural Gas Virtual Pipeline Terminal Design project.

The criteria used in selecting winning projects includes uniqueness, future value to the engineering profession, public perception, sustainable development considerations, and complexity. Collectively, the winning firms and owners have strengthened the country’s infrastructure, enhanced public safety, raised the profile of the engineering profession and offered sustainable, economic solutions for clients and taxpayers.


“This project is one of many that required out-of-the-box thinking to develop an innovative solution for our client,” said Mark Lauriello, President and CEO of RETTEW.  ”We helped a client achieve a first for the state – a virtual pipeline delivering affordable natural gas to rural areas without access to natural gas otherwise.”

The project, completed in December 2015, is in Lycoming County, Pennsylvania. Businesses in rural areas do not have access to the stable prices and supply of the state’s plentiful natural gas. Without any underground pipeline infrastructure, these companies must rely on other, more expensive forms of fuel to power their operations. RETTEW and its client, Compass Natural Gas Partners, developed a plan to connect to available natural gas pipelines, and then refine, compress, and transport the gas to local businesses via over-the-road trucking.

RETTEW designed piping, buildings, electrical systems, roadway improvements, and safety systems for the project, as well as managed construction. The high-pressure piping ensures the compressed natural gas can be transferred safely to delivery trucks – as much as 2 billion cubic feet per month. RETTEW used special materials and design considerations to manage thermodynamic interactions for the piping delivery system, which operates with 100 times more pressure than other natural gas pipelines. The firm also engineered systems to ensure the right level of compression to fuel Compass’ fleet. The project site includes a small power plant that uses the natural gas to produce electricity for operations.

“Our engineers are at the forefront of many industry developments,” Lauriello said. “This award recognizes the visionary thinking RETTEW has become known for.”


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Member Spotlight

Name: Todd Stager
Title: Office Director
Firm: Pennoni
# of years in the A/E/C industry: 25
Role with Central PA SMPS: member, nominee for Treasurer

  1. How long have you been a member of SMPS? A big whopping 3 months.
  2. Why did you become a member?  I attended a few events before becoming a member and discover that you guys are crazy – just like me. And advance my marketing knowledge.
  3. Who, if anyone, invited you to your first meeting? Brooke Wenger
  4. Do you have a mentor or guide (or have you had one in the past)? Brooke Wenger
  5. What quality does that person possess that you wish you did? She has great ideas. And she has a great smile. She is always smiling.
  6. What is your favorite SMPS memory? NERC was great. I was able to meet a lot of people and network.
  7. Of the other regular educational/networking events you attend, which would you recommend to SMPS members? SCAEC
  8. What is one thing that everybody knows you for? I like to have fun with everything I do.
  9. What is one thing that might surprise people to know about you? When I am not doing business, I am a complete redneck. Nobody would recognize me.
  10. If you could change one thing about yourself what would it be?  Learn to say “NO”; especially to Cristina Barnes.
  11. What did you study in college?  Who studied??? But I do have a BS in Environmental Engineering.
  12. What would you study in college now?  Something with finances so I could make easy money. This consulting stuff is for the birds.
  13. What are your hobbies & interests outside of the office and SMPS? Being in the outdoors. Fishing, hunting, camping, foraging, etc.
  14. What is the one movie you have to watch if you run across it on your TV? Braveheart. Love that movie. FREEDOM!
  15. Do you have any advice, secrets to success or guiding thoughts?  Don’t be afraid to meet people. Everyone needs human interaction.

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Help Wanted!

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The SMPS Central Pennsylvania Chapter is pleased to announce a new way to promote your business and support our chapter! Our new program sponsorship levels allow you to choose your level of support for whatever program you wish:

Your commitment as a Program Sponsor will help ensure we offer our member firms, and the broader A/E/C community, the valuable business development, networking, and educational opportunities throughout the year to help them TRANSFORM their business. Please consider promoting your firm and supporting SMPS Central PA! 

For information about how to become a program sponsor, please contact Shawn Barron,



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SMPS Central PA DVD Library

Attention CPSMers!

All those late nights reading the Marketing Handbook/MARKENDIUM and taking sample exams before work have paid off. You passed the Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) exam and added those coveted CPSM initials after your name on your business cards and email tagline. Yippee! You are set for three years until you have to renew the certification. Three years to earn 50 continuing education unit (CEU) credits to maintain that CPSM status. Piece of cake, right?

But, it is amazing how fast those three years fly by. Even if you attend many of the SMPS Central PA educational events, you typically only earn one CEU credit per event. So, what is that, maybe 10 CEU credits a year? You could go to an SMPS regional or national conference and earn CEUs. Sure, that helps. But attending the national SMPS Build Business conference only earns you 10-12 CEUs.

We have a solution to your 50 CEU credits dilemma. Earn CEUs by watching the DVDs in our DVD Library. All you have to do is watch one of the DVDs, have a third party (your boss or subordinate) verify that you watched the DVD, and then forward the CEU form that comes with each DVD to SMPS National for credit. Each DVD in our collection earns you 1.5 CEUs. So, make this the summer of CEUs and start earning now! To borrow a DVD, just email Available titles include:

  1. The Art & Science of Proposal Leadership

  2. Become a Creative Superhero: How to Boost Your Creativity

  3. Beyond Proposals: Marketing Practices that Pay Off in a Down Market

  4. Beyond Strategic Planning: Competitive Strategies to Build

  5. Capitalizing on Referrals in Your Marketing Plan

  6. A Dozen Surefire Tips to Keep Your Audience from Tuning You Out

  7. The Introvert’s Secret to Networking

  8. It Takes a Village: Building Collaboration on Project Data Management

  9. Leveraging Client Needs in Marketing Sustainable Design

  10. Leveraging Your Skills: Building Value for Your Firm (and Your Career) Beyond the Marketing Role

  11. Making the Cut! A Key to Understanding the Unspoken Requirements of an RFP

  12. Marketing Research – What Does Your Competition Know that You Don’t?

  13. Mastering the Hidden Web: Uncovering Valuable Data about Clients and Competitors Us

  14. Natural Networking: 10 Tips to Increase Your Face-to-Face Mojo (Excellent for Introverts, Shrinking Violets, Geeks, and Shy Guys) Us

  15. Pitch to Win: A Complete Approach to Pursuing Business, Making the Shortlist, and Winning When Opportunities are Scarce

  16. Project Staff Getting Repeat Work

  17. Relationship-Based Business Development

  18. RFPs Suck! How to Develop Winning Proposal Strategies

  19. Selling Has Nothing to Do with Selling

  20. Strategizing Winning Proposals from Value Proposition to Differentiation – on Deadline s

  21. Using the Web to Brand Your Firm: Client and Consultant Recount a Major Website Overhaul

  22. Win Federal Contracts in an Uncertain Economy: SF330 Form Secrets to Getting Shortlisted

  23. Winning Strategies for Powerful Project Interviews, Q&A Sessions, and Owner Debriefings

  24. How to Write a Winning Proposal for Government

Consider gathering a group to watch the DVDs, as they serve as excellent professional development and skill building resources for all marketing professionals.


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Committee Schedules

Want to get involved with our chapter? Whether you are a new member or have been one of our treasured members for years, we welcome anyone and everyone that would like to help out in our chapter in some way! Not sure where you would like to assist? Attend one (or all!) of the committee meetings and see where you might be able to put your skills to use! We are now posting our committee meeting schedules on our website under the About Us>Committees and Chairs section, found here. If you would like more information, contact any of the committee chairs. Their information can also be found on the Committees and Chairs page.

Current Committee Meeting Schedule

Membership Committee: Conference call on the second Monday of each month, 1:30. For conference call information, please contact Membership Chair Heather Sweitzer,

Programs Committee Meeting: The Programs Committee will meet directly following the board meetings. For more information, please contact Programs Chair Brooke Wenger at

Communications Committee: Conference call, first Monday of each month, 1:30 pm. For information, please contact Communications Chair Melissa Yost,

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Career Advice

A/E/C Online Learning

Focused exclusively on marketing and business development for the A/E/C industry, MARKENDIUM: ONLINE LEARNING CENTER brings you the best of both worlds: e-learning and professional development.

The current catalog features a variety of courses, from content marketing and client-building to return on investment (ROI) and social media. When you participate, you can even earn SMPS CEUs, AIA LUs, and PDHs.

Consider sharing the course catalog with your bosses and telling them you have access to this training, because of their support of your SMPS membership. Another idea? Consider hosting a brownbag with your office and leading a follow-up discussion. If you have other ideas for taking advantage of the ONLINE LEARNING CENTER offering, be sure and share them with the rest of us!

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Expert Advice

The SMPS Central PA Chapter’s Board and Committee Chairs are always striving to improve and provide our members with more value through targeted, relevant programs and the latest industry information. One idea that we had was to ask you for your BIG IDEAS – what could we start to do or do better? What industry trend or challenge would you like us to explore? Could we communicate with you better or add a new section to this newsletter? No BIG IDEA is too small…the collective knowledge and creativity of our Chapter is truly tremendous, and we want to hear from you. So come on, share your BIG IDEAS with us. Send your BIG IDEAS to

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Cancellation/Refund Policy

We kindly ask that you adhere to our cancellation/refund policy to help us avoid unnecessary costs due to program no-shows. Even if a program is free, there are still costs involved with refreshments that we provide to attendees. The policy, which can be found under each program description on our website, states that cancellations made 24 hours prior to the event will be fully refunded. All other cancellations or no-shows will be invoiced for the full cost of the event.

Photos are frequently taken at our chapter events. The SMPS Central PA Chapter has the right to use photos from our events for any purpose, including but not limited to use in publications, on social media, in the newsletter, promotional materials, on the website. 

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Thank you to our 2018-2019 Annual Sponsors!