AUTHOR: Jennifer Hasamear, Cole & Associates, Inc.
First of all, if you could take a moment to write a couple of sentences about what your position and your responsibilities with Shannon & Wilson along with the various roles you have held with SMPS over the years.
I have been with Shannon & Wilson for 9 years, and currently am responsible for our Saint Louis office’s business development and marketing duties. I joined SMPS in 1992 and served as president of the SMPS St. Louis Chapter in 1995-96, as well as on the Board of Directors for several years. I was also on the task force that developed the initial guidelines for the Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM) certification.
How many years have you been a part of SMPS? What do you think has changed the most over the years?
I began attending SMPS meetings in the late 1980s and joined in 1992. Certainly, the addition of the CPSM certification was a significant step in adding additional credibility to a career in the A/E/C marketing and business development arena. I’ve seen our membership increase, and the quality of our meetings and events is better.
After all these years, what reasons would you give someone considering a membership with SMPS to join the organization?
The greatest value that membership in SMPS has provided me over the years is the network that I’ve developed. I’m able to interact with other members across town or across the U.S., and the knowledge that I’ve gained has helped me numerous times. Add to that the friendships that grow with every year, and you have a very valuable asset for developing new business and learning the latest about what’s happening in the A/E/C community.
Since you are retiring at the end of the year, what is the best (and worst) change you have seen in this industry since you have started?
Since starting at Sverdrup & Parcel (now Jacobs) in 1978, I’ve seen marketing in the industry go from Wang key cards and IBM Selectric typewriters with carbon paper to state-of-the-art hardware and software. The documents, graphic materials, presentations, and so forth that we are able to produce now are incredible compared to what we were producing for so many years. I clearly recall creating presentations to clients using multi-projector slide shows! It took so much longer to produce even the most elementary materials.
What advice would you give someone who is just starting out in the AEC Marketing/Business Development field?
Join SMPS first, then begin developing your network of others in the industry so you can share ideas and meet new people. Take advantage of SMPS’ Mentor/Protégé program. I’ve participated in it the past two years, and have watched a number of proteges (mine and others’) hone their skills significantly in a short time. Join an SMPS committee, which will help with your network-building and teach you new skills as well.
What are you looking forward to the most about being retired? Any big plans right off the bat?
At the top of the list is spending more time with our grandchildren! They range in age from 10 down to our 2-year-old twins. Since they’re all still young, grandpa and grandma are still cool, which I intend to enjoy as long as that continues. I also have several cars and 11-year-old motorcycles to restore, so I hope I will have time to devote to those projects with my wife’s ever-growing Honey-Do list. And of course, I look forward to spending more time with my wife, Becky. We have a Harley trike and take short excursions on it from time to time, so we plan to do more of that.
What was your childhood dream job?
That’s an easy one. I grew up in Rochester, New York, home at the time to Eastman Kodak, Xerox, and Bausch & Lomb. Intending to become a technical writer, I spent most of my summers and school vacations working in my father’s Professional & Finishing Markets Division at Kodak to better prepare me. However, Kodak’s tough times were beginning, and they made massive staffing cuts in my junior year of college. Even with all of my connections, I was unable to land that writing job there when I graduated. Since I was attending school in the Saint Louis area, I took a job at Sverdrup & Parcel in their Environmental Division, so that I could show Kodak that I was “in the business” of technical writing. My very first assignment was editing a monstrous document on an “Evaluation of Full-Scale Sugar Beet Transport Water Solids Dewatering System.” After two years, I decided I really liked the job here and the weather was so much better than the Lake Ontario lake-effect weather, so I gave up on Kodak, and the rest is history. I hope to do a little moonlighting in the world of technical writing in all of the down-time I’m sure I’ll have in retirement (right!).