KA Connect 2018 Speakers


Lessons Learned from Lessons Learned
Nick Milton, Knoco Ltd

Lesson learning is something most organisations attempt but are rarely satisfied with. This talk covers the principles of lesson learning, and explores what is needed for lessons to systematically and reliably drive change and improvement.

Nick Milton is director and co-founder of Knoco Ltd, with over 20 years experience in Knowledge Management. Originally part of the British Petroleum KM team in the 90s, Nick has helped develop and deliver KM strategies, implementation plans, and services in a wide range of different organizations around the globe.

He has given keynote speeches at most of the leading international Knowledge Management conferences, is a member of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) working group currently developing a KM standard, and has authored or co-authored six books including The Knowledge Manager's Handbook, The Lessons Learned Handbook, and Designing a Successful KM Strategy.


Knowledge Reviews in the Flow at Arup: Lessons on the Journey
So Far

Andrew Trickett, Arup

This talk outlines how the Global Rail Business at Arup is currently using knowledge reviews in the flow of global, long-term, multi-disciplinary projects to capture and apply lessons. The outcomes are used, not only to help improve the projects, but to provide significant knowledge and insights to other project teams and communities of practice within Arup.

Andrew is a highly experienced knowledge management practitioner with experience both practically and academically. He is recognised globally across Arup and through speaking at external KM conferences as a subject matter expert on Knowledge Management especially in the area around Capturing lessons learnt on projects. Andrew is particularly interested in the use of Communities of Practice and Project Reviews as a means of capturing experiential knowledge from people to deliver operational efficiencies within an organisation.


How a Single Event Influenced the Culture of Sharing Lessons Learned at MKA
Andy Fry, Magnusson Klemencic Associates 

It's amazing how a single event can change the trajectory of an entire firm. This story reflects how one such event triggered the planning for a Lessons Learned training class which subsequently evolved into significant cultural change at MKA.

Andy is the Chief Operating Officer of Magnusson Klemencic Associates. After joining MKA as an entry-level engineer and developing into a project manager for high-rise towers, Andy became MKA's COO in 2012. Andy leads MKA's internal operations but most enjoys focusing his energies on providing superior professional development opportunities for MKA's team and equipping them with the skills needed to deliver structural and civil engineering designs for projects that are transforming metropolitan areas around the world.


A Framework for Collaboration and Quality: SMMA's ISO 9001 Journey
Jessica Smith, SMMA
Ryan Farias, SMMA

In 1996, SMMA formalized their internal and external commitment to quality management by obtaining ISO 9001 certification. Obtaining this certification required that SMMA create, document, and implement formal processes to learn from their mistakes and share their improvements. In this talk, Jessica and Ryan will share the good, bad, and the ugly from their experiences of the firm's continuous improvement journey.

An SMMA Principal, Studio Director, and Quality Manager at SMMA, Jessica Smith offers more than 20 years of design experience. Jessica's passion and expertise lies in process improvements and project management. At the helm of SMMA's ISO 9001 Quality System, Jessica upholds quality requirements and fosters continual firm-wide improvements toward client satisfaction and design excellence. She is passionate about sharing lessons learned and best practices across SMMA's six design studios and seven design disciplines, and fittingly, her credo is "Let's make new mistakes."

As Principal and Director of Marketing, Ryan Farias is responsible for overseeing the full scope of SMMA's marketing initiatives and assisting in the development of the firm's overall strategic direction. Moonlighting as a Knowledge Manager, Ryan is particularly interested in helping his firm advance by better connecting people to critical knowledge while helping them work smarter and develop professionally. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his wife and three children, and trying to find time to play music, watch Boston's sports teams, and brew beer.


Operationalizing Lessons Learned at Boulder Associates
James Lenhart, Boulder Associates
Todd Henderson, Boulder Associates

For years, Boulder Associates collected 'lessons learned' and clung to the hope that doing so would keep us from repeating mistakes. Nope! Recently, however, we seem to have cracked the code and developed an effective system that gives lessons learned the thing we lacked all along: delivery into a design team's awareness at the right time to be helpful.

Todd is a principal at Boulder Associates, leads their San Francisco office, and has over 20 years of healthcare design experience. An advocate and innovator of lean design within his company's culture and beyond, Todd is also currently fascinated by Agile, Knowledge Management, microcontrollers, pickling, and homemade cocktail bitters.

James is a principal and Director of Operations at Boulder Associates, overseeing quality, staffing, and standardization across the five-office enterprise from its Boulder, Colorado headquarters. With over 25 years of healthcare design experience, James leads some of BA's most challenging projects while finding time to support an interest in baseball that some (Todd) find excessive.


Improving Knowledge Flow: The AEC Lessons Learned Pipeline
Christopher Parsons, Knowledge Architecture

Last summer Knowledge Architecture reached out to our clients to help us shape our 2018 research agenda. They told us that getting better at sharing Lessons Learned was their top Knowledge Management priority. Since then, Chris has interviewed over 30 leading AEC firms to understand how their firms currently identify, share, and operationalize Lessons Learned from project work. He asked each firm to share what was working well, what their top challenges were and how they overcame them, and who was responsible and accountable (if anyone) for managing their Lessons Learned program. In this talk, Chris will share best practices and case study examples gleaned from his research, as well as strategic insights and tactical takeaways to help launch or improve your firm's Lessons Learned program.

As Founder and CEO of Knowledge Architecture, Christopher is responsible for research and development, sales and marketing, and corporate operations. He is the executive producer of KA Connect, our annual knowledge management conference for the AEC industry. Christopher has been a technology leader in the AEC industry since 2002, including serving as the Chief Information Officer for Steinberg Architects and the Information Technology Director for SMWM (now Perkins+Will).


Collaborative Communications: The Key to Business and Culture Change
Luanne Greene, Ayers Saint Gross

Over the past 5 years, Ayers Saint Gross has crossed over a mountain range of change—including onboarding a new president and leadership team, re-organizing the practice around integrated delivery of services, and converting to a 100% ESOP ownership structure. Luanne Greene and her team facilitated these business and culture transformations by creating clear and collaborative communication channels up, down, and across the business. In this talk, Luanne will share strategies, tactics, and lessons learned from Ayers Saint Gross' business and culture change journey.

Luanne is President of Ayers Saint Gross, a 170-person multidisciplinary design firm with offices in Baltimore, Washington DC, and Phoenix. In addition to her leadership role, Luanne specializes in the planning and design of colleges, universities, and cultural institutions. With over 30 years of design and planning experience, she has been a strong advocate for innovative and sustainable planning strategies which address the needs of both the institution and local community. Luanne has worked with numerous mission-driven institutions across the nation, including: Carnegie Mellon University, Smithsonian Institution, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, University of Virginia, and Washington University in St. Louis.


Onboarding Knowledge and Talent within DLR Group
Andy Ernsting, DLR Group

Through acquisition, DLR Group added 400 people in 10 offices over a 12-month period. What did we learn? The firehose approach does not work. In the end, be it 12, 80, or 200 new people joining your firm, onboarding knowledge and talent requires thoughtful planning and execution. The key is to identify, activate, and integrate critical knowledge and experts to grow your firm and its culture. (All without drowning people on both sides with a firehose.)

Andy Ernsting is a senior principal and brand communications leader of DLR Group, an integrated design firm with 29 global locations and more than 1,200 design professionals. He collaborates with senior leaders and market sector leaders to effectively communicate the benefits of each DLR Group studio to its key audiences. He is responsible for the strategic evolution of the DLR Group brand including messaging, digital strategy and presence, public relations, creative services, and internal communications.


Learning as a Strategic Priority at Turner Fleischer Architects
Ellen Bensky, Turner Fleischer Architects

Ellen Bensky's passion for lifelong learning has propelled her to experiment with a variety of learning modalities over her 27 years at Turner Fleischer Architects. Through iterative continuous improvement, Ellen has validated that active learning is one of the best ways to transfer important knowledge in a meaningful and successful way. Her talk will highlight the various methods that Turner Fleischer has implemented, and how they are now an integral part of the practice.

As a Partner and CEO of Turner Fleischer Architects Inc., Ellen's mission is to build and lead a dynamic, results-oriented organization dedicated to client satisfaction, staff retention and growth. Ellen joined the firm in 1990, rising to her current role in 2008. She is especially proud of the TF Academy and other in-house learning opportunities, which aim to nurture the firm's large cohort of young, enthusiastic talent into tomorrow's leaders. Ellen is able to engage daily in the process of successfully leveraging business needs and architectural realities, driving her ambition for operational excellence.


Integrating Offline and Online Learning at Civiltech Engineering
Kyle Mishler, Civiltech Engineering

Civiltech wanted to make better use of their existing knowledge by capturing, sharing, and reusing it— and they wanted to do it on their intranet. They soon realized that employees were not accustomed to sharing knowledge online. Civiltech met this challenge by launching a light and sustainable program that successfully integrates their offline and online learning activities.

As Director of Operations of Civiltech Engineering, Kyle is responsible for providing the leadership, management and vision necessary to ensure that the company has the proper controls, procedures, and systems in place to effectively grow the organization and ensure financial strength and operating efficiency. Kyle has spent nearly 20 years at Civiltech Engineering in a number of roles in Operations including Director of Human Resources and Intranet Sponsor.


Learning at RATIO: Building Culture Through Networked Learning
Sarah Causey, RATIO

RATIO's learning program is built on a pragmatic assessment of the appetite of both learners and teachers. By combining microlearning, technology, and embedded expertise, RATIO is building and sharing knowledge with minimal barriers to entry.

As a BIM Specialist with a passion for technology and its evolving impact on design, Sarah trains and supports RATIO professionals in the use of Revit technology. A unique background in interior design, construction management, and sustainability gives Sarah a broader perspective of the construction industry than most designers. With work experiences ranging from large-scale developments in Manhattan to higher education projects in the Midwest, the common thread throughout these experiences has been technology and its application in design.


Immersive Virtual Reality as a Knowledge Transfer Tool
Jim Martin, Shepley Bulfinch

At KA Connect 2017, Jim Martin shared a series of experiments for transferring Critical Knowledge at Shepley Bulfinch. Since then, Jim has extended his experiments into immersive Virtual Reality (VR). In this lightning talk, Jim will share the why, the how, and the so what of using VR to transfer knowledge.

Jim Martin is Vice President and Chief Information Officer at Shepley Bulfinch, a national architecture firm known for design excellence in healthcare, education, and urban development. Drawing on over 20 years of Information Technology experience, Jim leads the development of strategies for technology tools that support and advance design, delivery, and collaboration. He has been particularly successful at creating an innovation center inside of Shepley Bulfinch's IT department, focusing on new technologies and how they affect the design process. Jim is a Six Sigma Green Belt and holds a Bachelor's degree in Architecture from Roger Williams University.


Fail It Forward
Stefnee Trzpuc, BWBR

Culturally, we tend to celebrate successes, not failures. But what if we brought failures to the front of conversations? Sharing our own failures with others has broader organizational learning value. But it's not easy to be vulnerable in front of your peers. Stemming from an internal idea-generating workshop, BWBR staff developed "F15," a 15-minute storytelling format for sharing lessons learned from past failures.

Stefnee is a recovering interior designer who took on the task of creating a research and knowledge management program at BWBR. As an associate principal, she lends her extreme passion for problem solving in the areas of thought leadership, business intelligence, organizational learning, and operational improvement. When she's not leading research efforts for projects and clients, Stefnee keeps busy orchestrating communities of practice, intranet administration, and internal learning programs (which may or may not have included a recent Star Wars discussion forum). With a personal philosophy of "fail often, fail forward," she is an enthusiast for constant improvement and venturing down paths not yet paved.


Crowdsourcing Technical Knowledge at Bergmeyer
Bill Spaulding, Bergmeyer

As a smaller firm, Bergmeyer doesn't have in-house spec writers or code specialists. In addition, Bergmeyer has a many designers with less than 5 years of experience who joined the firm without much technical knowledge. In this talk, Bill Spaulding will introduce #WhoKnows, an online and offline campaign to help give visibility to "who to go to for what."

As Bergmeyer's Manager of Education and Training, Bill's work focuses on how people learn and how we optimally use our 21st-century design tools. Trained and licensed as an architect and an able proponent of systems thinking, Bill powers Bergmeyer's organizational learning approach and keeps our staff well ahead of their continuing education goals. A natural teacher, Bill is also our most vociferous advocate of the Tao of building information modeling and the Zen of the integrated design processes. Under Bill's stewardship, Bergmeyer has maintained our market-leading position in the adoption of and proficiency with the industry's most powerful and versatile digital design technologies.


Register for KA Connect 2018