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From Handshake to Hired: Building a Business Development Strategy that Suits Your Style

What makes a good Business Development strategy and how can you make BD work for you? Get the inside scoop on what it takes to create and maintain meaningful relationships with those of all professional levels and personalities.  Join us for a lively panel discussion with diverse AEC leaders, led by active industry BD professional, Sarah McGillicuddy, Director of Business Development & Marketing for Acentech.

Hear from a variety of viewpoints from across the industry, and discover ways to move from sitting on the sidelines to actively pursuing fruitful BD. In this session, we will explore best practices, how to utilize social media, personal branding, and internal business practices to position you and your firm for success.




Sarah McGillicuddy, Director of Business Development & Marketing, Acentech

McGillicudd-web-cropIn her role as Director of Marketing and Business Development, Sarah McGillicuddy develops strategies, tools and tactics to expand Acentech’s business in its key markets. She leads the business development, marketing, advertising, and communications efforts of Acentech’s seven vertical market teams and three disciplines in the areas of architectural acoustics, audiovisual, information technology and security system design, and environmental noise and vibration. Sarah’s focus on collaborating with strategic partners has helped to expand and nurture the firm’s business contacts, while fostering valuable client relationships.

Sarah is a past President of SMPS Boston, and an active member serving on a number of committees for CoreNet, CREW, IFMA and NAIOP. Sarah is the 2018 recipient of the SMPS Boston Chapter Marketing Professional of the Year Award. Sarah also serves on the American Society of Cancer Action Network Council.



Kelly Bliss, Vice President of Business Development,  Suffolk Construction

KBliss headshotA graduate of Cornell in international relations, Kelly’s 30-year career in business development began in the computer industry at Digital and other global tech companies where she received formal training on how to qualify opportunities, develop value propositions, and deliver strategic, winning presentations. A strong personal interest in architecture led her to pursue a second degree in interior design, and she applied her skills to change industries.

Kelly has held Marketing Principal and Director of Business Development positions at Flad & Associates, Perkins+Will, Lavallee Brensinger Associates, and Architectural Resources Cambridge over the past 20 years. To further expand her industry knowledge and support the company’s growth plans, she has most recently joined Suffolk as Vice President, Business Development in the Education market.


Heather Taylor, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Campus Planner/ Architect, Phillips Exeter Academy

Taylor_HeatherHeather is a registered Architect, industry leader and strategic planner with 25 years of professional practice in higher education with additional experience in K-12, federal government, preservation and private residential markets. In her newest role at Exeter Academy, Heather combines her previous experience to think holistically about the planning and stewardship of Exeter’s historic campus.

Heather is a practiced leader engaged in the AEC industry and community organizations. Her current positions include University of Michigan’s Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning Alumni Board of Governors, Society of College & University Planning (SCUP) North Atlantic Council and Board Member/Past-President of the Charlestown Preservation Society.


Bob Barnes, Director of Facilities, Boston Symphony Orchestra

Barnes-headshotBob is currently Director of Facilities for the Boston Symphony Orchestra (BSO), leading the planning and operations for the BSO’s real estate and facilities at historic Symphony Hall and its summer venue, Tanglewood.

Active in both IFMA and CoreNet Global, Bob is credentialed as a Certified Facility Manager and Master of Corporate Real Estate.




John Swift, Jr., PE, CEM, LEED BD+C, Principal, BuroHappold Engineering


John has over 25 years of experience in high-performance building systems engineering design. Currently, he is Director of Engineering at the Buro Happold’s Boston office and is the firm’s U.S. Science and Technology Market Sector Leader.

A member of the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), the Association of Energy Engineers (AEE), and the U.S. Green Building Council, John has extensive experience in the design and construction of commercial, institutional and public sector buildings that require effective infrastructure, reliable support of program and the optimization of occupant health, safety and comfort- while minimizing energy and water usage.

John is the past chair of ASHRAE Technical Committee TC 2.8 Building Environmental Impacts and Sustainability and was the Senior Editor of the ASHRAE Green Guide, 2nd and 3rd Editions. Swift is also the past chair of the committee for the proposed ASHRAE Standard for Water Efficiency (SPC 191).



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In-Kind Photographer


  • Taylor Kulhawik,

    Chapman Construction/Design

  • Valerie Puchades,

    GUND Partnership

  • Michele Bogdan,

    Chapman Construction/Design

  • Kristin Armitage,

    Elkus Manfredi Architects

  • Amanda Alcamo,


  • Viviane Benchaya,


  • Sandy Kane,


  • Nancy Day,

    CDW Consultants, Inc.

  • Brittany Unis,

    Elkus Manfredi Architects

  • Jay Moskowitz,

    City Point Partners

  • Jennifer Shelby,

    Architectural Engineers, Inc.

  • Jessica Harris,

    C.E. Floyd

  • Maylin Pavletic,


  • Tom Walsh,

    Daniel O' Connell's Sons

  • Sarah McGillicuddy,


  • Kelly Bliss,

    Suffolk Construction

  • Heather Taylor,

    Philips Exeter Academy

  • Bob Barnes,

    Boston Symphony Orchestra

  • John Swift,

    BuroHappold Engineering

  • Kim Sousa,

    saam architecture, llc.

  • Cathleen Martin,

    Structure Tone

  • Samantha Godin,

    BVH Integrated Services

  • Judith Rhines,

    Gilbane Building Company

  • Jennifer Bentley,

    Peter Rose + Partners

  • Kathy Hunt,


  • Marsha Miller,

    Vanderweil Engineers

  • Elisif Brandon,

    Elisif Photography

  • Derrick Goodwin,

    Lee Kennedy

  • Derek Leclerc,


  • Pamela Roscoe,

    DRA Architects

  • Anna Luciano,

    Nitsch Engineering, Inc.

  • Virginia Steigerwald,

    Nitsch Engineering, Inc.

  • Kristie Norris,


  • Molly Romano,

    Windover Construction

  • Jacqueline Falla,

    Elaine Construction Company Inc.

  • Bernadette Butterfield,

    Groom Construction Co., Inc.

  • Cameron Nekoroski,

    United Civil, Inc.

  • Molly Moore,

    MDS/Miller Dyer Spears

  • Kate Wonkka,

    MDS/Miller Dyer Spears

  • Amy MacKrell,

    MDS/Miller Dyer Spears

  • Michelle Blakemore,

    Hereva Consultants

  • Matt Wheeler,

    Fitzemeyer & Tocci Associates, Inc.

  • Suzanne King,

    Mass. Electric Construction Co.

  • lisa Frisbie,

    AGC MA

  • lisa Frisbie,

    AGC MA

  • Suzanne Abbott,

    SMRT Architects and Engineers

  • Pia Cardinali,

    CRJA-IBI Group

  • Joe Kifer,


  • Jamie Medeiros,

    HLB Lighting Design

  • Abby Iorio,

    HLB Lighting Design

  • Doreen Bennett,

    Baker Wohl Architects, Inc.

  • Ahmed Idris,

    Baker Wohl Architects

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