Recap | Leading Principals Speak: Building Business

Recap | Leading Principals Speak: Building Business

A great program to start out the year of 2015!

On May 21st SMPS Fort Worth brought together a panel of Principals from Fort Worth A/E/C firms to discuss the past, present, and future of business development. Bill Baird, P.E. (Baird, Hampton, Brown), Leesa Vardeman (VLK Architects), Steve Lucy (JQ), and Tony Rader (AUI) joined moderator Rachel Vogel-Marker in a thought-provoking exchange of ideas on the evolution of BD in their respective markets.  

The panel was agreed that BD, once a “good ol’ boys network”, has evolved tremendously over the last 30 years. Baird commented that Business Development is too much for one to two people to do; now everyone in the firm has to be involved.” Rader echoed Baird’s sentiments adding that “even field personnel must keep up the relationship to help maintain clients.” Vardeman attributed VLK’s success to the firm’s BD culture, sharing that it’s not enough for the Principals to have a vision for the future of the firm; leadership needs to make the vision known to all levels of the firm. So just how does a firm maintain these vital client relationships as the firm grows and/or ages? Lucy reminded us that we must plan for succession. Principals and relationship managers should always be thinking about whom else within the firm needs to be included for ease of a relationship transfer, “everyone needs a backup.” A full relationship transfer could take years!

Vogel-Marker and the audience posed several additional questions to the panel, who were not hesitant with their answers, such as:

  • How do you utilize your marketing staff in your BD efforts?
  • How does your BD strategy differ between public and private clients or market to market?
  • What technology or innovation has the most impact on your BD efforts, and how are you  utilizing it?
  • How have the principals balance their work and family life over their careers?

SMPS Fort Worth encourages you to attend our next panel luncheon in the early fall.  Details will be posted to the website as they become available. Until then, enjoy your summer, and for goodness sakes, answer your phones!