Member Recognition


Congratulations to Dawn Jones, Hitchcock Design Group, who has been recognized as our September Best Foot Forward award winner! Dawn has recently taken on the role at SMPS Chicago Chapter Treasurer. Dawn is being recognized for this award as she came on and hit the ground running to become familiar with her new position before her term even started. Dawn eagerly began learning all there is to know about SMPS treasury responsibilities and started to find ways she could help early on. She has been an exemplary self-starter going above and beyond the call of duty to get the ball rolling for the chapter. We are fortunate to have Dawn as a member, but most importantly as Treasurer. The Chapter hasn’t seen half of what Dawn has in store for us this year! With her dedication, intellect and drive, we look forward to the new ideas she brings to fruition this year!


Megan FitzPatrick, CPSM of H. W. Lochner is honored as the 2014-2015 Best Foot Forward Grand Prize Winner. Megan contributes to SMPS in so many indispensible ways; it’s difficult to pin point just one area.  For starters, she is highly involved in day to day operations leading SMPS communications.  Megan continuously updates the website, sends out e-blasts, gives direction to the communications committee, creates and coordinates materials all while staying up to date on the latest SMPS developments. Megan also lends her talents to assist in the coordination of countless programming and chapter events. Her keen attention to detail, reliability without fail and sophisticated management skills make Megan such a valuable asset to SMPS.  We recognize Megan FitzPatrick’s dedication and contributions as we thank her for the unwavering support she generously gives to SMPS and its members.


July’s Best Foot Forward is being awarded to Jessica Hemauer of Rider Levett Bucknall. Jessica was instrumental in coordinating a hole-in-one event for the SMPS Summer Terrace Par“Tee”. She shot an eagle acquiring many generous sponsors for the 9-hole mini golf and for the bag toss. Thanks to Jessica’s detailed planning, along with the special events committee, members and guests enjoyed views of Chicago from the terrace greens while networking. Because the event was so successful, attendees may be requesting a mulligan next summer! On behalf of SMPS, we recognize Jessica’s copious efforts to organize a spectacular evening and appreciate her unwavering enthusiasm.


Megen (Briars) DiSanto from OKW Architects and Amanda Rackow, CPSM from Alfred Benesch & Company are being honored this month as June’s Best Foot Forward recipients. Together, they seamlessly handled all of the logistics associated with the SMPS Heartland Regional Conference last month. Before and during the conference, Amanda and Megen did such a thorough job working behind the scenes, attendees enjoyed the continuous flow of the conference free of interruptions. Their top-notch coordination skills were invaluable to the overall success of this large-scale event. For that, we thank Megen and Amanda for generously giving their time and energy to manage conference preparations so flawlessly. They are a prime example of the Chicago Chapter’s Best Foot Forward.

May’s Best Foot Forward is being awarded to Pam O’Deen-Pishler of Mortenson Construction and Leann Dockins, CPSM of KJWW Engineering for their remarkable efforts co-chairing SMPS’s Heartland Regional Conference. Leann and Pam’s fiery leadership and hard work was clear throughout this year’s well-orchestrated and exceptionally informative conference. From thought provoking speakers and engaging panelists to fun networking opportunities to insightful keynote presentations, the SMPS Heartland Regional Conference delivered valuable takeaways for those at all levels of the A/E/C industry. We sincerely appreciate all Pam and Leann did to Ignite Careers with their team of dedicated SMPS members to make this year’s Heartland Conference a glowing success. Thank you for representing the talent and spirit of the Chicago Chapter so admirably and setting the region “on fire.”

Congratulations to Maura Hoffman from W. E. O’Neil Construction as she is honored with April’s Best Foot Forward. She has been working enthusiastically creating new programming experiences for SMPS. Identifying a new opportunity, Maura helped to launch the Marketing Coordinators Connection providing a peer-to-peer forum to build networks and share A/E/C best practices for members. Taking it to the next level, Maura will be championing a new role as Professional Development Director for the Chicago chapter. Many aspects of SMPS benefit from the infusion of Maura’s abundant energy and upbeat spirit.  We thank Maura for continually bringing fresh, relevant speakers and topics to our members and for her leadership.

March’s Best Foot Forward is being awarded to Kari Pandilidis of Turner Construction. Kari planned AND coordinated the SMPS March Building a Winning Team for Design-Build Proposals program along with the help of Meghan Murphy. Kari seamlessly coordinated activities with SMPS resources, members of the Design Build Institute of America, and with the staff at Petterino’s. As a result of Kari’s sharp and comprehensive planning, participants benefited from the knowledge shared by expert panelists. In appreciation of Kari’s time and energy spent pulling together this successful and informative event, SMPS extends our sincere gratitude.

Roshanna Tokh with CCS International, Inc. along with Valerie Solver of Cushing, Arica Bukowski of MRSA Architects and Kristin Goodchild of Walsh Construction on the Special Events Committee are being honored with February’s Best Foot Forward. In conjunction with Valerie, Arica and Kristin of the Special Events committee, Roshanna was responsible for the Membership Recruitment Happy Hour at River Roast which brought in an outstanding 37 potential new members. We applaud all of their efforts in planning this successful sold out SMPS event. In acknowledgement of all Roshanna has contributed and Valerie, Arica and Kristin’s hard work and dedication, we thank them all for helping SMPS to grow and thrive.

January’s Best Foot Forward is bestowed upon a true SMPS all-star, Megan FitzPatrick, CPSM of Lochner. Her consistent, on-point programming communications and her careful coordination of the 2015 sponsor information updates illustrate Megan’s flexibility and dedication in many different capacities. Megan went above and beyond the call working fastidiously to assist with the SMPS Holiday Party preparations. Wherever there is a need to pick up the slack, she is there to grab the reigns with her skillful leadership. Together, we thank Megan for all of her tireless efforts that make SMPS an all-around success!


Tom Peterman from Eriksson Engineering Associates and Amber Zurcher from Integrated Electric are being honored as December’s Best Foot Forward recipients. Together, with a star studded cast of volunteers, Amber and Tom rolled out the red carpet and led all of the planning and coordination for SMPS’s Hollywood Holidays at Studio Paris jointly with AIA Chicago. Not only did this event have blockbuster attendance, it also received rave reviews from countless members and guests. We celebrate Tom and Amber along with their incredible efforts and toast to their many SMPS contributions. Cheers to you!


Sarah Wilkinson of HOK is the November recipient of the SMPS Best Foot Forward award. Sarah works diligently to ensure all runs smoothly at the many SMPS programming events. She coordinates everything AND the kitchen sink with various SMPS venues. From checking up on gluten free dishes to audio visual wizardry to ironing out speaker logistics, Sarah is always there to tackle the task and guide operations with a smile. On behalf of the Communications Committee, we thank Sarah for being such a huge part of SMPS’s successful programs.

BEST FOOT FORWARD – October 2014

Kate Garassino with J. C. Anderson, Inc. is being honored as this month’s Best Foot Forward winner.  A truly committed volunteer, Kate symbolizes what it means to be a team player through her impactful contributions to the SMPS Programs Committee.  She brings positive energy to her involvement in programming activities.  To ensure SMPS members experience programs that facilitate learning and growth, Kate consistently goes well above and beyond her responsibilities doing whatever is necessary to make things happen.  Please join us in showing appreciation for Kate and her dedicated service to the SMPS Chicago Chapter!


Kelly Thomas with Aon Fire Protection Engineering is the winner of September’s Best Foot Forward (BFF) recognition! Kelly played an integral role in bringing all SMPS Chicago members the latest and greatest news in print form via Pipeline, the SMPS Chicago newsletter in early September. Kelly went to great lengths to coordinate all content for the newsletter, from the President’s welcome message to Sponsor Spotlight; all in a timely and accurate fashion. Kelly, on behalf of the Communications Committee and SMPS Chicago at large – thank you for all your effort and dedication!

   grand prize 2014 - Best Foot forward winnerBestFootForwardIcon

   Caroline Brogan with FGM Architects is a talented, loyal and superb marketing professional that    exemplifies the core of what SMPS is all about. Her overwhelming volunteership to the chapter is incredibly impressive, from co-chairing the sold-out “Marketing Coordinators Bootcamp” to one-on-one study sessions with the CPSM study group, hosting professional development webinars at her office and all-around advocating for the chapter with such enthusiasm and passion. We are lucky and honored to have Caroline as our 2013-2014 Best Foot Forward Member of the Year and commend all she has done and continues to do for the Chicago Chapter.

Best Foot Forward – JuLY 2014

Jenifer Johnson with Thorton Tomasetti and Matt Rebro with Pepper Construction – these two incredible volunteers made SMPS Chicago shine at the annual Build Business National Conference. Not only did Jenifer co-chair the amazing conference, she spear-headed an incredible service day “Side X Side” which brought together BB2014 attendees on Tuesday July 29th and they took an uninspiring room to a new creative, welcoming, loving and special space at The Children’s Shelter which provides safe refuge for abused, abandoned and neglected children in San Antonio and Bexar County.  Matt Rebro brought programming to a new level by co-chairing the Programs Committee at BB2014 and session after session did not disappoint. Innovative topics, high-level speakers, and tracks that were amazing from coordinators to managers to CMOs. Congrats and thank you Jenifer and Matt for making Chicago proud!

BestFootForwardIconBEST FOOT FORWARD – JUNE 2014

We have a tie! Arica Bukowski with Cushing and Amber Zurcher with Integrated Electric are June's recipients. This amazing “A-Team” has worked tirelessly to create unique, professional, and beneficial networking opportunities for SMPS attendees and are always thinking of creative and fun ways to incorporate business with the spirit of the city and our chapter. We give kudos to Arica and Amber this month and look forward to many more amazing events planned by them and their outstanding Special Events Committee!

BestFootForwardIconBest Foot Forward – May 2014

Maura Hoffman is SMPS Chicago’s May “Best Foot Forward” award recipient. Since joining the Professional Development Committee, Maura (with W.E. O’Neil) has worked with Jenifer Johnson to spear head the first ever SMPS Chicago MCC (Marketing Coordinators Connection) which resulted in a sell-out crowd with it’s first program last month. Maura continues to serve the members of Chicago and the Professional Development Committee by coordinating the efforts for the EMA Awards with Brooke Beckner and hosting the awards program at her office headquarters. She goes above and beyond with every task she completes and we are lucky to have her as a leader in our organization!

Best Foot Forward – April 2014BestFootForwardIcon

Meghan Murphy is SMPS Chicago’s April “Best Foot Forward” award recipient. Meghan Murphy with ARCADIS US has gone above and beyond to help the last two lunch programs finish strong by coordinating speakers and logistics, in addition to big contributions earlier this program year. She is always working hard for SMPS Chicago but definitely right now. She is also key to keeping social media efforts on track. She is proactive and a go-getter. We sure are lucky to have Meghan.

Best Foot Forward – March 2014BestFootForwardIcon

Nikki Liddy is SMPS Chicago’s March “Best Foot Forward” award recipient. Nikki is a new member to SMPS Chicago and has hit the ground running. Within her first months of joining, she attended multiple events, joined a committee and is helping to plan a joint WCW in HVAC and SMPS event as well as a pop-up. We thank Nikki for her enthusiasm, drive, and look forward to many more fantastic SMPS events with her volunteerism!

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Valerie Solver with Cushing is the SMPS Chicago February “Best Foot Forward” award recipient for her work within the Special Events Committee.  Exceeding expectations in her role within the committee, Valerie has completed many behind-the-scenes tasks, allowing others to focus on their commitments worry-free.  She is always willing to volunteer and has been a valued team member contributing to the success of our Managers Meeting, the Holiday Program, and networking events. Hard-working, ambitious, and dedicated are a few of the traits that make Valerie such a valued team member.

Best Foot Forward – January 2014BestFootForwardIcon

Since joining SMPS Chicago, Savannah Ziegelbauer with The Lakota Group has been a key contributor to the chapter. She has taken a leading role on the Membership Committee and brings a contagious enthusiasm and excitement to everything that she does. We recognize Savannah this month for her fantastic contributions to SMPS and in particular her driving this year’s March Membership Madness; taking the program to a whole new level of success!

Best Foot Forward – December 2013BestFootForwardIcon

Madhu Gresla was nominated for this month’s BFF. Madhu Gresla, AIA with Cannon Design has taken over Professional Development Committee for a few months nd always gives 110%. Thank you!

Best Foot Forward – November 2013BestFootForwardIcon

Two women were nominated for this month’s BFF – Natalie Menke with T.Y. Lin International and Megan FitzPatrick, CPSM with Lochner.

Natalie did a great job writing this Event Summary, partially based on her live Tweets during the Luncheon Program. Megan worked with Natalie on the format and approach to use, and then converted the Summary into the broadcast email we saw after the November Program.

Overall, Natalie has been doing great contributing to our Twitter presence, and Megan continues to be the backbone of our Communications Committee with her daily managing of web and Cvent activities.

Best Foot Forward – October 2013BestFootForwardIcon

Our BFF this month is a 3 –way tie!

Caroline Brogan, CPSM with FGM Architects, Pam O’Deen, CPSM with Terracon and Leann Dockins, CPSM with KJWW Engineering Consultants

Caroline and Pam spent the Summer planning with Professional Development Director, Sarah, on creating a unique and beneficial 4-session series of domain-centered education. This series has been such a success, that there was a waitlist!

Pam has been doing double-duty by working with Leann Dockins on the Heartland Regional Conference 2015 bid on behalf of Chicago and as we have won that bid, Pam and Leann are the Co-Chairs for HRC 2015!

Thank you to these hard working volunteers!

Best Foot Forward – September 2013BestFootForwardIcon

BFF Grand Prize Winner – Sarah Hill-Matthiesen, CPSM, Bulley & Andrews


  • Jacqueline Loewe, Sheridan Park Consulting
  • David Copeland, Shen Milsom Wilke LLC
  • Megan FitzPatrick, CPSM, Lochner