AWCI Education Sessions

Tuesday, April 5
10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Finding the North Star on Your Company's Roadmap to Welcoming Diversity and Inclusion

To successfully operationalize diversity and inclusion, you must first move people to the center of your mindset: a people-first mindset. Creating a people-centric strategy is about encouraging the individuals to define the business, and not the business defining the individuals. Diversity and inclusion requires everyone to work together to create a culture that embraces diversity of thought and leverages best practices. While every company's roadmap to welcoming diversity and inclusion for its workforce will be different, the first step is to start. From beginning the conversation, to buy-in, to overcoming obstacles, hear from Performance Contracting's Victoria Cowan and Jessica Criss on how this journey is shaping their company for the long haul.


Chad Pearson

Victoria Cowan has been in the construction industry for 18 years and is passionate about innovation, field operations and reducing problems during design that help construction flow smoothly. She is a native of Colorado with a background in civil and structural engineering and has spent most of her career in California building collaborative design-build hospitals and high-tech, bio-tech campus. Her introduction to the industry was as a GC with Rudolph and Sletten (RnS), where she learned a tremendous amount, but most importantly learned the value of subcontractors to a project's success. After 5 years at a RnS, she was convinced to go to the 'dark side' and work as a wall and ceiling subcontractor. In her tenure with PCI, Victoria has focused on design-build metal stud framing, drywall, exterior skins, fire rated assemblies, BIM and prefabrication and was responsible for the Design-Build and Prefabrication team in Northern California.

Currently, Victoria is leading an incredible team starting a new ground up business for PCI in Denver, Colorado.


Chad Pearson

Jessica Criss is an event planner by trade, specializing in inclusive events. Born and raised in Kansas City, her background in diverse events is what led her to a career in Diversity & Inclusion. Believing that every person should see themselves reflected in their schoolwork, company or interests, Jessica is prepared to assist with those conversations. Joining Performance Contracting in March 2021, it was an easy choice for her as she was raised around the construction industry with her father retiring from the Carpenter’s Union after 45 years. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with family.




Safety Management Through the Lens of Technology

Chad Pearson

Safety management on construction projects has evolved in parallel with the evolution of mobile technology. The traditional workflows of documenting safety meetings, inspections and accident reports continue to move from paper-based forms to real-time cloud data that enhances accountability and reporting.

In this presentation, Rob McKinney brings over a decade of experience managing safety programs and implementing mobile technology on construction projects to discuss how companies can migrate their paper-based safety management over to mobile apps. He will explore the pros and cons of preferred platforms, hardware options, mobile data management, paid versus free apps and security policies. Learn about the best practices leading contractors employ in their mobile safety management programs on the job site and at the office, and how you can draft a plan to fit your company's objectives.





Tuesday, April 5
11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Elite Performance During Chaos and Critical Stress

Chad Pearson

This session will show how the effects of critical stress on people in combat and law enforcement are similar to the effects on executives in business, while teaching tactics to overcome the effects and perform at an elite level. With consistent practice over time, you will learn to perform better, lead more effectively and work toward building a culture of production, despite the chaos of the trades. These skills will also help your personal and family relationships prosper.

Chad Pearson with Plexxis Software brings a unique perspective to the industry mixing 12 years in construction technology with 30-plus years competing in combat sports, coaching world ranked fighters and a career in law enforcement where he focused on emergency response and criminal investigations.

Tuesday, April 5
3:15 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.

Winning Business: What Has Changed. What Hasn't. What You Need to Do Next.

Kelly Rigs

The game of business has changed. The pandemic has created a whole new set of variables that companies must contend with: zoom meetings, supply chain disruption, economic uncertainty, employee exodus, and more. Winning business has never been more difficult. On the other hand, some things never change. Companies continue to make the same mistakes over and over, and they never comprehend why they often have little or no chance whatsoever to win a particular deal. 

In this presentation, award-winning author and business consultant, Kelly Riggs, draws on four decades of sales success to outline three critical selling mistakes that companies routinely make costing them millions of dollars in lost opportunities. Where should you focus? What should you change? Find out what the best-of-the-best are doing differently to consistently win business.

Wednesday, April 6
9:15 a.m. to 10:15 a.m.

The Lean Builder: A Builder's Guide to Applying Lean Tools in the Field

To provide easily understood, accessible Lean Construction resources for the leaders in the field, the superintendents and last planners, so they will feel empowered to implement Lean methodologies on their projects, even if they have no other resources or champions available.

Joe Donarumo

Joe Donarumo serves Linbeck as Senior Superintendent where he has been able to develop and lead high-performing field teams across Linbeck's Healthcare market group. Joe also serves Linbeck as their Director of Lean Application, ensuring that Linbeck's Lean processes are continuously improved and consistently practiced. Joe has a unique passion for Lean implementation, continuous improvement, and a ruthless pursuit of waste elimination within his projects, teams, and overall organization. Donarumo is also the Co-Author of the Shingo Publication Award winning book The Lean Builder, a business fable written for field leaders and last planners to help them begin their Lean journey with respect to Lean implementation at the field level.




Keyan Zandy

Keyan Zandy is a longtime Lean practitioner, enthusiast, and advocate. As Skiles Group's COO, he has a dual focus on client service and on nurturing a progressive company culture. He is ultimately responsible for the oversight of the firm's daily operations and ensuring that their Lean processes are continuously improved and consistently practiced. He is the co-author of the Shingo Publication Award winning book, The Lean Builder: A Builder's Guide to Applying Lean Tools in the Field, which simplifies and clearly articulates the benefits of seven primary Lean concepts, and delivers them in a highly-relatable, immediately-applicable, and field-friendly manner. Zandy also holds a patent for an award-winning crisis management communication and emergency response tool called Smart Safety where he serves as CEO.



Thursday, April 7
7:45 a.m. to 8:45 a.m.

Talk Like A Leader: Finding Your “It Factor”

Anthony Huey

Ignite the “spark” inside you. We've all met someone with intangible qualities that draw others in and make them say, “Wow!” Some call it charisma, magnetism, or the “it factor,” but it's nearly impossible to define. Until now. You can't touch the “it factor,” but you can immediately feel when someone has it. This fast-paced, pragmatic and interactive keynote gives audience members practical and immediately implementable approaches to bringing the “it factor” to not only themselves, but their organization.

Anthony Huey, CSP®, is a highly-rated international speaker who offers session attendees pragmatic communications tools, tips and techniques they can use immediately.

Anthony's 25-year career includes tenures as a news reporter and senior editor, crisis management specialist, media relations consultant and executive speech coach. He owns Reputation Management, LLC, one of the nation's leading communications training and crisis consulting companies.