Member Spotlight Archive

Member Spotlight Archive

R Carlson mugshot

Name: RACHEL CARSON
Title: Anchorage Marketing Manager
Firm: PND Engineers, Inc.
SMPS Member Since: 2011
Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 6.5

Rachel, who has been with PND Engineers since early 2008, leads the marketing and proposal-writing efforts for the firm’s Anchorage branch. Before PND, she worked as the copy editor and occasional writer for a weekly newspaper in Missoula, Montana. Prior to that, she was employed as an editorial intern and copy editor for a newspaper in Fort Collins, Colorado; a construction company office manager in Santa Barbara, California; and an administrative/marketing assistant for a software company in Scotts Valley, California. Rachel holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Language Studies from the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Rachel lives in Anchorage with her fiancé Chad, their 5-year-old son Josiah, and their two hairless sphynx cats Boone and Clyde.

Community Activism: I support various community organizations in Alaska, including the United Way’s March For Babies, the Alaska Literacy Program, and the Alaska Innocence Project.

How has SMPS helped you in your career? SMPS has provided my firm and me with a valuable network of peers and colleagues in the A/E/C industry, and has broadened my understanding of this industry as a whole. I always leave the SMPS monthly luncheons having learned something new.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Take advantage of the SMPS Alaska scholarship opportunities! I applied for one a few years ago and was able to use the money toward an Adobe InDesign class.

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. I spent my formative years overseas. I attended middle school in the Netherlands and high school in Jakarta, Indonesia. I’m very grateful that I was afforded the opportunity to see different parts of the world and gain a broader life perspective.

What I did at work yesterday: I worked on four different proposals – so a typical day for an A/E/C marketer!

Are you interested in seeking a CPSM; and if so, how do you expect the certification to benefit you? I hope to sit for the CPSM exam sometime in the next year or so. I joined the CPSM study group last year and found it was a fantastic way to get through a ton of study materials.


bourgeois

Name: SKIP BOURGEOIS
Board Position: Programs Chair
Title: Vice President, Corporate Marketing
Firm: Coffman Engineers
SMPS Member Since: 2008
Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 8

Skip stumbled into the A/E/C marketing profession after he was unable to find a job using his degree in graphic design (mostly because he was a terrible graphic designer). Fortunately, he was able to find a marketing assistant job with a Utah architecture firm while he pursued his master’s degree in communications. He enjoyed the various tasks that came with the position and, upon completion of the master’s program, he was offered a marketing job with Alaska engineering company Coffman Engineers. Skip immediately found a home at Coffman and has spent nearly all of the last six years as a Coffman marketer. He was recently promoted to Vice President of Corporate Marketing, a role that allows him to work with Coffman’s talented marketing and technical professionals to set the strategic direction of the company’s marketing.

What does your board position entail? As programs chair, I developed a program plan identifying the luncheon program topics for the year. I worked with the education and mentorship committee chairs to make sure the luncheon programs are in-line with the various other Alaska Chapter events. Once the program plan was approved Alaska Chapter board of directors, I moved forward with arranging speakers and logistics for the various events. This position is much bigger than just one person, and I have to thank all the other Alaska Chapter board members for the constant support and assistance. 

Community Activism: Through Coffman Engineers and SMPS I have been involved with many community-oriented activities including CANstruction, Fur Rondy, Bike-to-Work Day, and various fundraisers for the American Heart Association, the American Red Cross, Beans Café, etc.

How has SMPS helped you in your career? The A/E/C-specific marketing information and education provided by SMPS is unrivaled. From that standpoint, I owe much of my career to the ideas, techniques, and research available through SMPS. Networking is the other big piece offered by SMPS. You can very easily identify and reach-out to thousands of other A/E/C marketing professionals throughout the country.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Join a committee or seek a board position to fully enjoy all the benefits SMPS has to offer. I know this has been said before, but it is definitely worth repeating!

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. Even though my last name is “Bourgeois” and my blood runs thick with French-Canadian heritage, I do not actually speak a lick of French.

What I did at work yesterday: On any given day I get to work with coworkers and clients throughout the Pacific Rim, and yesterday was no exception. My day consisted of completing a final proposal quality control proofread, coordinating a strategic pursuit, finalizing and distributing our bimonthly internal company newsletter, researching a new market sector, preparing some last minute proposal information, and various other discussions with Coffman marketing staff. Each of these actions was completed for a different Coffman office.

Are you interested in seeking a CPSM; and if so, how do you expect the certification to benefit you? I am very interested in seeking my CPSM and am about 18 months behind my initial plan for taking the test. I plan to test for the certification within the next year. The certification helps to further A/E/C marketing jobs as true professions and validates your knowledge and years in the industry.

Name: BRIAN LOONEY
Title: Principal
Firm: CRW Engineering Group, LLC
SMPS Member Since: 2012
Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 30+

Brian is a principal and project manager for civil engineering projects located throughout Alaska. He has been helping communities improve their infrastructures including transportation, utilities, drainage, and urban amenities. He is involved in each step of project development from proposals, planning, conceptual design, agency coordination, public involvement, construction support, and quality control. He was born and raised in Alaska and is one of the founding members of CRW, a 60-person engineering firm located in Anchorage.

Community Activism: I’ve been active with a number of trail, park, and bicycling user groups including:

  • Nordic Skiing Association of Anchorage. Board member, race chairman, photo contest, calendar, race maps. My wife Sue and I were awarded NSAA lifetime membership for our contributions.
  • Far North Bicentennial Park Users Group. Subcommittee chairman for signing project including new trail maps, 50 new sign posts, rebuilding kiosks, and new kiosks. Now I meet fewer people on the trails trying to figure out how to get back to their car.
  • Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage. Supporter and advocate for bicycle commuting. For the last three summers I have been providing a morning bike feed station during bike events near the C Street/Tudor Road intersection. Look for Sue and me there this summer; we’ll refuel you on your way in to the office.
I’ve also been active with a number of local professional organizations including the Alaska Society of Professional Engineers. I’ve been named their Young Engineer of the Year (1994), their Engineer of the Year (2001 and 2009), and this year I will be their President.

How has SMPS helped you in your career? SMPS provides excellent networking and training opportunities.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: The 7 AM SMPS training sessions are an excellent way to start the day. The meeting is held in a coffee shop for a reason!

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. My biggest goal in life is to lead CRW in trouncing R&M Consultants, Inc. and Coffman Engineers in R&M’s May Fitness Challenge. We have a long way to go.

This year I’m celebrating 30 years of marriage to my lovely wife Sue.

I started working for an engineering firm as a summer intern in 1978.

What I did at work yesterday: I help manage CRW’s proposal effort, and the last few days have been proposal overload. They seem to come in waves, and I just heard the tsunami siren!

Name: CHERYL JEMAR
Board Position: Education Director
Title: Proposal Manager
Firm: USKH Inc.
SMPS Member Since: 2010
Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 9

Cheryl has nine years of administrative and marketing experience in the A/E/C industry. Prior to stumbling into this career field, she was active duty in the U.S. Air Force for five years as a certified weather specialist, followed by four years with the National Weather Service at Cold Bay, Alaska. She holds a B.S. in Mass Communications from North Dakota State University, Fargo, North Dakota and is currently working toward a Master’s in Business Management at Wayland Baptist University, Anchorage, Alaska. She is married to the love of her life, John, with whom she raised four children, who are now scattered across the Lower 48. She has one grandson and another grandchild on the way.

What does your board position entail? I established a system to track attendance at all events to ensure attendees receive continuing education units (CEUs) for their professional development. I assist the Programs Director with planning events. I develop the annual calendar of events to make sure we cover all six domains of practice and visit topics relevant to all our members, from entry level coordinators to executive marketers.

Community Activism: With four kids, I spent many years volunteering at their schools and serving in parent/school organizations. Since the kids have left the nest, I volunteer for activities that are supported by my firm. I am also currently the Missions Director for my church congregation.

How has SMPS helped you in your career? I started my career in the A/E/C industry later in life not really knowing much about the field. I have gained a lot of my knowledge of professional services marketing from attending SMPS conferences such as Build Business and the Pacific Regional Conference. Becoming involved in the Alaska Chapter leadership has given me a broader understanding of our marketing niche and has made me step out of my comfort zone and develop better management skills. I was recently promoted to Proposal Manager at my firm, and I believe that my involvement with SMPS enabled my professional growth to attain this position.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Volunteer! Being involved in SMPS leadership is a great way to achieve personal growth, professional development, and gain a broader perspective on our career field.

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. After dating my husband for nine days, he proposed, I accepted, and we were married three months later. We celebrated 24 years of marriage this past Valentine’s Day. (Side note: Don’t get married on Valentine’s Day. It is extremely hard to find a babysitter for celebrating anniversaries as teenagers and grandparents all have dates that night!)

What I did at work yesterday: I completed three proposals and shipped them to out-of-town clients. Didn’t really have time to do anything else!

Are you interested in seeking a CPSM; and if so, how do you expect the certification to benefit you? Yes, I plan to test for certification within the next two years. I expect the process of working toward this certification will yield a better understanding of professional services marketing and career growth.

Kate

Name: KATHRYN HOSTETLER

Title: Marketing Manager

Firm: Coffman Engineers

SMPS Member Since: 2013

Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 12

Kate is a life-long Alaskan and has been involved in A/E/C marketing for more than ten years. She is currently part of the Coffman Marketing team and is responsible for public relations, client relationship management, database management, business development, and preparing proposals in the Anchorage office. Kate holds a BS in Technical Editing and a BA in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.

Community Activism: I am actively involved with the Boys and Girls Club, Junior Nordic, and CANstruction.

How has SMPS helped you in your career? SMPS provides excellent training and seminars while also providing a strong support group for other individuals in the industry.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Don’t be afraid to ask other SMPS members for their advice and counsel; the SMPS community in Alaska is so wonderful in the way it supports other members.

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. I am an avid outdoors person who enjoys hunting and fishing.

What I did at work yesterday: Proposals, proposals, proposals!

Are you interested in seeking a CPSM; and if so, how do you expect the certification to benefit you? Yes, I am very interested in seeking a CPSM, not only does it help to validate my position in the A/E/C community it also strengthens SMPS in Alaska.

shall

Name: SARAH HALL

Board Position: Membership Director

Title: Marketing Coordinator

Firm: R&M Consultants, Inc.

SMPS Member Since: 2012

Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 6

Sarah started working as a temporary, part-time Administrative Assistant for a local architectural firm during her senior year of high school after returning to Alaska from southern Oregon. After securing a permanent position at the firm, Sarah was able to cross-train and work her way into the marketing department. Fast forward…. Sarah now has six years of experience in the A/E/C industry and has been involved in proposal development, database administration, research and development, graphic design, social media, and event coordination.

Sarah joined R&M Consultants in August 2013 as a Marketing Coordinator. She is responsible for internal communications, resume development, and branding and promotional items, as well as supporting the firm’s many marketing initiatives.

What does your board position entail? As the Membership Director, I am responsible for member recruitment and retention efforts, including membership renewal communications, membership events, and working with SMPS National to increase and enhance the benefits available to the Alaska chapter members. I’ve had the pleasure of working with two Membership Committee members, Jessi Cherry and Kelsey Parpart. Both of these ladies contribute significantly to the overall success of the Alaska Chapter Membership—thank you both for the time and commitment you’ve dedicated in making our chapter one of a kind.

Community Activism: I have had the opportunity to participate in many community-oriented activities, including CANstruction, the United Way Day of Caring opportunities, and volunteering at the local Bean’s Café and Brother Francis shelter. In addition, I am able to participate in many other activities through R&M that also support local organizations.

How has SMPS helped you in your career? I have been able to gain valuable knowledge and sharpen must-have skills through the many professional development and educational opportunities offered through SMPS. I believe I have been able to leverage my less-than-ideal educational background with the valuable skills and knowledge learned through being a member of SMPS.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Looking to grow? Become more involved. Whether you’re a mentor or a mentee, there are people like ME out there, wanting to learn from you!

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. The first REAL beach I ever went to was this last month—in Huntington Beach, CA—for the SMPS Pacific Regional Conference.

What I did at work yesterday: February is Career Fair month in my office, and I prepared for both the UAF Engineering Career Fair and the UAA Geosciences Career Fair. In addition to that, I ran around picking up items needed for the CANstruction Awards Ceremony, including 28 balloons.

Are you interested in seeking a CPSM; and if so, how do you expect the certification to benefit you? I’m definitely interested in seeking a CPSM certification once I am eligible. I have two more years of experience in the A/E/C industry before I am able to take the test. This certification will provide me with structured knowledge about the AEC industry, and preparing for the test itself will be a great experience.

Jessi Headshot

Name: JESSICA “Jessi” CHERRY, LEED GA

Title: Sales Specialist

Firm: Meridian Systems, Inc.

SMPS Member Since: 2011

Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 8

Jessi grew up in a small town in Kansas and moved to Alaska in 2004 with her husband. Since then, she quickly became interested in Alaska’s growing construction industry. In fall of 2005, Jessi became employed in that field and never looked back. She has been dedicated to furthering her education by serving on several boards in A/E/C professional organizations. From 2007-2009 she was on the board of the Alaska Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). After going through all of the board positions, Jessi was the youngest President of the Alaska Chapter of the American Society of Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) in 2011. During 2011, she completed the Leadership & Executive Advancement Program sponsored by the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce. Additionally, Jessi is a certified LEED Green Associate. In her spare time, Jessi can be found doing arts & crafts projects or she will be in the gym participating in a fitness boot-camp. Jessi loves nothing more than spending time with her husband and two cats.

Community Activism: Volunteering is something I love doing. I am currently on the SMPS Alaska’s membership committee, which has been so much fun! Twice I have been the Team Captain of a Relay for Life Team to benefit the American Cancer Society. Annually, I support the Muscular Dystrophy Association. I volunteered to make artwork for the Make-a-Wish Foundation to auction as a fundraiser. The auction provides funds for future children who want to have their wish come true. I have also dedicated time to helping Girl Scouts learn about the construction industry through a program put on by the NAWIC.

How has SMPS helped you in your career? SMPS has helped me connect more with engineers and architects. I am in the construction industry and appreciate an opportunity to network with people in the A/E industry. Not only is it a great networking opportunity, but it gives me the opportunity to attend wonderful educational programs specific to our industry.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Get involved! Volunteering and becoming part of the core of an organization is what being a member is about. In my opinion, when you get involved in an organization, you become surrounded by people with the same professional passions, and it can renew your passion for your career.

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. I LOVE THE NFL! Nothing is better than hanging out on the couch in front of my New York Football Giants. It has single-handedly saved me from the winter. When I moved here I struggled with the darkness and cold in the wintertime. My friend suggested that I get into football (because that was his remedy), and it completely changed my perspective on winter. I have traveled out of state twice to see them live in action. Go Giants! CRRRRUUUUZZZZ!

What I did at work yesterday: I began my day with a meeting regarding business development. I then ordered samples of marketing material. Also, I sought proposals from subcontractors for a bid I am completing.

Are you interested in seeking a CPSM; and if so, how do you expect the certification to benefit you? Absolutely! Not only will this provide validation in my vast experience, but it will provide increased knowledge of marketing and business development in the very unique A/E/C industry. I am looking forward to obtaining the certification this year.

Christine Headshot

Name: CHRISTINE GIBBS

Board Position: Communications Director

Title: Marketing Coordinator

Firm: R&M Consultants, Inc.

SMPS Member Since: 2012

Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 2

Christine joined R&M as a Marketing Coordinator in January 2012. Prior to that, she worked in marketing for the IT services industry, specifically dealing with Autodesk consulting, software, and training. Christine has six years of experience in business-to-business marketing, including strategic planning, graphic design, website design, and public communications. At R&M, she is responsible for proposal writing, external communication, and social media, as well as supporting the firm’s many marketing initiatives. Christine has a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism & Public Communications from the University of Alaska, Anchorage. She is an SMPS member and actively participates in events with the Associated General Contractors of Alaska and the Anchorage Chamber of Commerce.

What does your board position entail? I am responsible for all communications and branding efforts for SMPS Alaska. This includes event communications, public relations, newsletters, website, social media, email, and much more.

Community Activism: I’m involved with Canstruction and, through R&M, many other activities supporting local organizations.

How has SMPS helped you in your career? I was new to the A/E/C industry when I joined. SMPS helped me learn about the industry and the marketing aspects specific to this industry. I was also able to connect with other AEC marketers and have been able to work with and seek advice from.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Get involved. You meet more people, develop more meaningful connections, and get more out of your membership.

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. I grew up on a hay farm in Kenai, Alaska and am completely a farm girl at heart. I love John Deere!

What I did at work yesterday: Right now we have tons of proposals in production so I worked on a proposal for the City of Houston all day.

Are you interested in seeking a CPSM; and if so, how do you expect the certification to benefit you? Yes, I plan on taking the CPSM once I am eligible, which will be in another two years. I think this certification will help me gain more knowledge in the marketing aspect of the AEC industry and help continue to advance my career.

Karma head shot

Name: KARMA TORRES

Title: Marketing Director

Firm: RSA Engineering, Inc.

SMPS Member Since: 2013

Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 1

Karma was born and raised in Arkansas (home of the Arkansas Razorbacks!). She began her college education at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville. In July of 2008, she moved to Anchorage, Alaska looking for adventure and greater opportunities. She finished her Bachelor’s Degree at the University of Alaska Anchorage and graduated with a double major in Marketing and Business Management. Karma and her husband love to hike and camp with their two canine companions.

How has SMPS helped you in your career? SMPS has been a great resource for me as a new member of the A/E/C industry. It is a great place to meet fellow marketers to discuss projects, challenges, etc. Each SMPS member has been extremely welcoming, and that is a great feeling!

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Be active and participate if possible. It’s an excellent way to get your name out there and meet new people!

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. I just completed the 2013 Long Beach Half Marathon and look forward to many more destination runs! It’s a great way to be active and get in shape for a vacation!

What I did at work yesterday: I submitted two prime proposals, picked up three cakes to celebrate our November birthdays, performed data entry for the three different stations located in Antarctica (Palmer Station, McMurdo Station, and South Pole Station), and worked on the 2014 CANstruction recruitment!

JMT Headshot

Name: JESSICA TAFT

Board Position: President Elect

Title: Marketing Director

Firm: Enterprise Engineering Inc.

SMPS Member Since: 2011

Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 11 (6 as a surveyor, 5 as a marketer)

Jessica moved to Alaska from Southern California in 2007 and has been working for Enterprise Engineering, Inc. ever since. In her current position as marketing director, she manages the proposal process, coordinates corporate giving and community outreach, designs and maintains the website, creates collateral materials, and does her best to make Enterprise a great place to work.

What does your board position entail? President Elect is a pretty relaxed position for most of the year. In the spring I’ll have the opportunity to attend the SMPS Presidents Leadership Symposium (PLS) where I’ll learn more about the organization and how I can work to serve our chapter during my term as president. Right around the same time as PLS, I’ll be responsible for submitting our chapter’s Striving for Excellence award. We were honored to be recognized as Outstanding Medium Chapter this year (Andrea at R&M did a truly amazing job with the award submittal), and I hope to build on that success. We have a fantastic chapter with dozens of engaged board and committee members who work to make our chapter great—I’d love for us to receive national recognition for that work again this year.

Community Activism: CANstruction is an event that brings together the A/E/C community to have some competitive fun and also to donate tens of thousands of pounds of food to Food Bank of Alaska. This is the second year that I’m Co-Chair of the steering committee, and we’re off to a great start. I’m hoping this will be our biggest year yet!

How has SMPS helped you in your career? The list is too long to print! The most tangible benefits are the ideas, suggestions, and inspiration I get from my fellow SMPSers. Any time I have a question there’s always someone who has a fantastic idea to help me along. I learn something new from my peers every week. Quite honestly, I’d be lost without them.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Members often cite networking as one of the main reasons they value SMPS. If this is true for you, consider volunteering at the committee level. When you engage with the chapter at a committee level, the strength of your network grows tremendously. I can’t overstate this. Some of my closest friends are people I met through SMPS, as are some of my strongest professional connections. But I don’t think that would be the case if I only attended monthly luncheons.

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. I went to Space Camp.

What I did at work yesterday: We’re getting ready for a trade show, so I ordered SWAG and worked on a new brochure format. I also spent a little time with our website analytics to get a handle on how people engaged with the site this year compared to last.

Are you interested in seeking a CPSM; and if so, how do you expect the certification to benefit you? Right now I’m in the MBA program at Alaska Pacific University, so I don’t have a lot of extra time to study for the CPSM. But after I graduate in 2014, it’s the next thing I plan to tackle!

Name: CYNTHIA OISTAD

Title: Project Manager

Firm: ARCADIS U.S., Inc.

SMPS Member Since: 2013

Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 9

Cynthia has 11 years of Alaska-based marketing and communications experience, 9 of those years for the A/E/C industry. She currently works as a Project Manager for ARCADIS providing project planning, RFP and contract development, public involvement, stakeholder communications, report development, meeting/event planning coordination, move coordination and activation. She leads Business Development efforts for Alaska PM/CM operations. Cynthia is a life-long Alaskan and lives in Eagle River with her husband and two children.

Community activism: Cynthia supports and volunteers for various non-profit organizations throughout the year and is looking forward to getting more engaged in A/E/C community events.

How has SMPS helped you in your career? SMPS has provided me a forum to connect with my peers in the A/E/C industry and learn about local opportunities. The programs and resources SMPS provides helps all of us improve our skills and success as A/E/C marketing professionals.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Quote I have pinned by my desk: “Find out what you love. Do it because you love it. Stick with it. Start now.”

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. I love to hike and climb mountains with my friends and family, but I also have a fear of heights.

What I did at work yesterday: I facilitated and participated in a strategic planning work session with team members and corporate leadership.

Are you interested in seeking a CPSM; and if so, how do you expect the certification to benefit you? I am interested in learning more about the CPSM process. I can see how this certification will provide Business Development credibility both internally within my company and external to our clients and subconsultants.

Name: ANDREA STORY, CPSM

Board Position: President

Title: Vice President – Marketing and Business Development

Firm: R&M Consultants, Inc.

SMPS Member Since: 2000

Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 16

Andrea has more than 16 years of experience in A/E marketing. She graduated from the University of Alaska Anchorage with a BBA in Marketing and dreams of pursuing a career in tourism or seafood marketing, but instead stumbled on to a RFP coordinator position at a local firm. Andrea was initially responsible for implementation of the firm’s marketing database and eventually promoted to Marketing Manager. She has been an employee of R&M since 2005, and in addition to being one of 28 shareholders and a Vice President of the firm, she also serves on the firm’s Board of Directors and actively participates in development and implementation of the firm’s strategic plan.

What are the responsibilities of your board position? The formal answer is that in addition to presiding over all meetings of the Chapter and Board of Directors, I provide oversight, guidance, leadership and support to board committees. I also lead annual planning efforts and check in with committees on progress towards annual goals. The less formal answer and probably closer to the truth is that I am here for comic relief so people don’t take themselves too seriously. I also try to inspire with cheesy quotes.

Community activism: Youth basketball coach, fundraising for local charities, Abbott-O-Rabbit Little League Board of Directors, UAA Alumni Association Board of Directors (beginning November 2013), Engineers Week Steering Committee…. I think that is all. I am a classic marketer in that the word no does not come easy to me.

How has SMPS helped you in your career? When I started out in this business in 1997, I was only two years out of school with a BBA in Marketing from UAA. Most of my education had focused on product marketing, so in addition to not knowing much about the industry, I didn’t have a very good base in service marketing. When I discovered SMPS (thanks to a presentation by Vicky Sterling), it was life changing. Even though we didn’t have a local chapter, I went to regional and national conferences, obtained by CPSM, and absorbed everything I could. SMPS has provided me with that annual refresh you feel after attending Build Business and now that we have a local chapter, has provided me with an incredible network that I can call on at any time. SMPS has provided me with leadership skills that have allowed me to progress to the position I now hold with my firm.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Get involved! SMPS has so much to offer, but like most things in life, you only get out of it what you put into it. There is so much to learn from fellow marketers, just through networking events and participating on committees. I am always in awe of the talents of my peers. I am a big fan of Sheryl Sandberg and the way she encourages women to “Lean In” rings true for SMPS involvement as much as your personal and work lives.

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. I have an almost paralyzing fear of birds.

What I did at work yesterday: It was a fairly boring Monday as I am scurrying around trying to prepare for a little vacation. After reviewing the morning glut of emails, I had a weekly planning and coordination meeting with my marketing staff. As always, I am impressed at how much they accomplish and thankful for how good they make me look. Then I spent the rest of the day preparing proposal information for a large project on which we are a sub. Not too exciting, but sometimes that is nice.

Are you interested in seeking a CPSM; and if so, how do you expect the certification to benefit you? The CPSM was what drew me to SMPS in the first place. After hearing a presentation at one of our old AEMAA luncheons on the CPSM, I was intrigued. The CEO of the firm I worked for at the time was very supportive and encouraged me to pursue certification. The firm was fully supportive in providing the resources I needed to achieve certification and even rewarded me with a 5% raise upon passing, just like they did when engineers got their PE. My CPSM identifies me as someone who is truly committed to my profession. In an industry dominated by people with letters after their name, it is a nice reminder for people that I too am a professional.

Name: KELSEY PARPART

Title: Marketing Coordinator

Firm: Kittelson & Associates, Inc.

SMPS Member Since: 2013

After graduating with her MS in Writing/Book Publishing, Kelsey worked for 3 years doing technical editing, layout, and project management support for a hydropower developer. She has been with Kittelson & Associates, Inc. (KAI) as a Marketing Coordinator since January 2012. She says, “KAI has helped me maintain my skills in writing and editing while developing those in marketing and business development.” She is moving with her husband to Anchorage (from Portland, Oregon) in August and looks forward to working in Alaska.

Community activism: Kelsey has a corgi who she describes as, “my kid surrogate.” While in Portland, she was an avid supporter of animal rescue organizations and the local humane societies.

Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 4

How has SMPS helped you in your career? SMPS has helped me recognize the range of growth opportunities available to marketers in the A/E/C industry. It has been great for connecting with others in similar positions to discuss the challenges and opportunities that come with being a “non-technical” person in a very technical industry. I have also been gratified by the one-on-one relationships that have helped grow business relationships between our firms.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Be outgoing and unafraid to talk to new people. I tend to have a hard time making introductions, but I’ve never been disappointed once I’ve managed to power through the nerves and strike up a conversation.

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. The street I grew up on at the base of the Olympic mountains in Washington State was called Sesame Street. All of my friends in elementary school were jealous.

What I did at work yesterday: One thing I love about my job is being able to work across all of our offices. Yesterday I edited a report for an engineer in Tucson, Arizona for a project out of Florida; worked on renewing our CMAS contract in California; and created graphics for a proposal out of Fairbanks, Alaska.

Are you interested in seeking a CPSM; and if so, how do you expect the certification to benefit you? I am interested in seeking a CPSM, but need to put in a few more years in the marketing side of the industry before I qualify. I expect that the certification will help maintain my upward momentum at KAI and give me the confidence to insert myself more into our business development activities.

Name: KATY KLESS

Title: Marketing Coordinator

Firm: PDC Inc. Engineers

SMPS Member Since: 2011

Katy is the recent recipient of a $1,500 scholarship from the SMPS Alaska Chapter for attendance to the 2013 SMPS National Conference. She is currently a part of the SMPS Alaska Mentor-Mentee program as a mentee, and has recently signed on to be the 2014 Pacific Regional Conference delegate for the SMPS Alaska Chapter. She is working on qualifying to gain designation as a Certified Professional Services Marketer.

Community activism: Katy is an active participant community activities like CANstruction and the Municipality of Anchorage’s Bike To Work Day, where she prompted her company to sponsor a smoothie snack station in 2012 for people biking to work.

Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 3

How has SMPS helped you in your career? Being a member of SMPS Alaska Chapter is helping me achieve a focused career path. With the award of this scholarship I have the opportunity to network PDC Inc. Engineers and the Alaska Chapter on a national level.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. If you always stand in the back you won’t get heard.

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. I can throw a softball better than most boys!

What I did at work yesterday: Worked on developing a Sustainability and Energy Services presentation for a Lunch and Learn.

Are you interested in seeking a CPSM; and if so, how do you expect the certification to benefit you? Yes. Who couldn’t use another professional network? Although I am not eligible to test yet, I will be joining study groups in the near future.

Name: ROBIN FORTNER

Title: Marketing Director

Firm: McCool Carlson Green

SMPS Member Since: 2010

Number of years in the A/E/C industry: 5

Robin is the recent recipient of a $500 scholarship from the SMPS Alaska Chapter to use toward becoming a Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM). Robin will be joining the SMPS Alaska Chapter Board of Directors as the 2013-2015 Treasurer and currently serves on the treasury committee and events committee. She is also the Alaska Chapter’s historian and is a part of the SMPS Alaska Mentor-Mentee program. Robin is currently an active participant in the CPSM study group being offered by the Alaska and Seattle Chapters of SMPS and plans to sit for the CPSM test in the summer of 2013.

Community activism: Robin is active in A/E/C community events such as E-Week and CANstruction.

How has SMPS helped you in your career? SMPS has been a great benefit to my career. The education I have received from the programs and resources has helped me refine my skills and become better at my job. The most valuable part of being an SMPS member has been the relationships that I have formed with other members. They help me stay inspired about my career and take pride in my profession.

Helpful hint to share with your fellow SMPS members: Go to every event that you can. Even if the topic doesn’t sound like something you are interested in. I guarantee you will walk out of that meeting having learned something new.

Tell us something we would be surprised to learn about you. If you would have asked me 10 years ago, I was going to school to be a musician/pianist.

What I did at work yesterday: It was a crazy proposal day! I got a final draft of a proposal completed, a template set up for another, an information request sent to a proposal team on a third, and got Past Performance Questionnaires ready for a fourth. Something tells me a lot of funding has recently been approved…

Are you interested in seeking a CPSM; and if so, how do you expect the certification to benefit you? Earlier this year prior to beginning the CPSM program, I wrote down the goals I had that I hoped the program would help me attain. My goals are to: (1) Further my professional development and knowledge; (2) Advance my firm’s marketing potential and make myself more valuable to my firm; (3) Reinforce my belief in A/E/C marketing; and, (4) Achieve peer recognition for both myself and my firm. I believe that what I have learned on my own, within the CPSM study group, and what I have yet to learn from this program will allow me to have a deeper understanding of my career and will give me the resources I need to refine my professional skills.

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