SOLD OUT SMPS Chicago January Luncheon - The Inside Scoop: What Are Clients Really Looking for in Our Proposal Responses?

January 10, 2018
11:30 AM - 1:15 PM

159 W Erie Street
Chicago, IL 60654


In this industry, we spend a lot of time assembling and submitting responses to RFPs, with a goal of not only convincing the client that our firm is qualified, but to convey that we bring something to the table they won't get from anyone else. Today’s competition is intense, and clients are combing through dozens of proposals and selecting teams that speak to them. What resonates with the client? What’s the single largest thing we can do to ensure our proposal has a shot? Are we spending too much time on one thing and not enough on another? What can we be doing better? At some point, these are probably questions we have asked ourselves.

Our panelists represent a cross section of our clientele, from Transportation to Healthcare and Non-Profit to Higher Education. Join us as they share perspectives from their side of the table and respond to questions that will help you identify the most effective keys to winning projects.


About Our Speakers

Gary Collins | Associate Principal, Forum Studio
For more than 30 years Gary has been leading the charge in the pursuit of project opportunities across several markets and established an expertise in healthcare 25 years ago. An architect, who has demonstrated success in creating new business opportunities, he lives for meeting new clients, and enjoys collaborating with consultants. Gary’s leadership abilities as a seller/doer allows him to effectively lead multidisciplinary teams. Known for gaining market intelligence and being a great connector of people, he continues to find the time to be a liaison with professional organizations.


Bill Bradford | Associate Director for Engineering and Construction Services, University of Illinois at Chicago, Office of Capital Planning and Project Management

The Office of Capital Planning and Project Management directs the major planning, design, and construction projects for UIC. Prior to joining the University, Bill was in private practice for over 30 years specializing in the design of facilities for institutions of Higher Education, including the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Chicago, Northwestern University, Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology, Winona State University, and Clarke University. His work was received numerous design awards. Bill holds a Masters of Architect degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and is a licensed architect in five states. He served as President of the Chicago Chapter of the American Institute of Architects, and the Illinois State Council of the AIA.

Elizabeth Melas | Director of Capital Projects, Rush University Medical Center

Elizabeth Melas is Director of Capital Projects at Rush University Medical Center where she is responsible for the planning and implementation of all capital construction projects with an annual budget of over $100 Million. Prior to joining Rush, Elizabeth spent 16 years in Cook County’s Office of Capital Planning & Policy where she was a Project Director from 1995 – 2002 and then the Deputy Director from 2002 – 2011. In this role, Elizabeth managed many large scale institutional projects totaling over $1 Billion in construction. Elizabeth was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, where she still resides. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree from Northwestern University and a Masters of Architecture from The Illinois Institute of Technology. She is a LEED accredited professional and environmental advocate.

David Schmitz | Executive Director, Steppenwolf Theatre Company

David has worked at Steppenwolf for 12 years, serving in the role of Director of Finance and Administration, General Manager, Managing Director and currently as Executive Director. As Executive Director, Schmitz leads a staff of 140 full and part-time folks, and is responsible at the executive level for strategy and execution of all fundraising, marketing and business related activities. His work ensures the ensemble of Steppenwolf have the resources and institutional support to achieve their creative ambitions. Prior to working at Steppenwolf, Schmitz was the General Manager at Lookingglass Theatre Company, Associate Artistic Director of Stage Left Theatre and Business Manager at the entertainment agency Adair Performance. Currently, he serves as Vice President of the Board for The House Theatre of Chicago, is a board member of the Arts Alliance Illinois and the League of Chicago Theatres, and is a former board member for the Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce. Schmitz has worked as a strategic planning, business practices, finance and hiring consultant for numerous Chicago organizations, including The House Theatre of Chicago, The Hypocrites and Stage Left Theatre, among others. He holds a BA in Theatre from the University of Northern Colorado, an MFA from the Theatre Conservatory at the Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University and a Certificate in Non Profit Management from Roosevelt University.

John Yonan, PE | Superintendent, Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways

John Yonan was appointed the Superintendent of the Cook County Department of Transportation and Highways (CCDOTH) in January of 2012 by Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle. In that capacity, John is responsible for all of CCDOTH professional engineering functions, including the programming, design, construction and maintenance of the County’s infrastructure assets which includes over 130 bridge structures, over 570 miles of roads, 350 traffic signals and 4 Maintenance Districts. Recent notable projects include the $22 Million reconstruction of Crawford Avenue from Devon to Oakton and the $11 Million reconstruction of Center Street from 159th Street to 171st Street.  Prior to his appointment as Superintendent, John spent 19 years at the City of Chicago’s Department of Transportation.

Parking: Wildfire valet is $11. 

CPSM CEU Credits: 1

All sales are final. Refunds must be requested 5 days prior to an event in writing or by email. 

Student Membership Eligibility. Registration at Student rate be verified and if the registrant is found to be non-compliant with these requirements, s/he will be responsible for the balance of the full, applicable rate.


$50.00 SMPS Members
$75.00 after 6:00 pm January 8

$95.00 Non-members
$120.00 after 6:00 pm January 8

$0.00 Annual Sponsor - Member