Member Spotlight - Heather Collins


Energy, passion and a positive outlook are words that describe Heather Collins. She has been a part of SMPS Atlanta for two years and is a member of the Education Committee. Champion of the March Boot Camp on Trade Shows and her adroitness with the other Education events, she has made herself available showing her willingness to do what it takes to help make things run smoothly. Her commitment and excellence have been as such that she will be co-chairing the committee next year. We are fortunate to have her on the team.

Why Social Media is Useful to A/E/C Firms

These days, just about everyone has jumped onto the social-media bandwagon. Whether through Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or some other medium, millions of people and businesses are constantly connecting and interacting with one another. In fact, social media have become one of the top methods used to collect news, information, or learn about new products and technologies today. But given the significant popularity of these networks and the fact they are virtually all free, why haven’t more businesses in the fields of architecture, engineering, and construction gotten involved in social media?

Perhaps those in the A/E/C industry find it counterintuitive to interact with the general population, given that their firms are tailored to such small niche markets? Also, by socializing with the public online, many believe they may run the risk of letting competitors in on too much information or creating a liability for projects and the company as a whole. Granted, these possibilities could very well be true; but an A/E/C firm’s participation in social media is no different than the firm’s participation in trade shows, industry organizations, or networking events: There’s always the possibility that someone could “say the wrong thing.” And much as anyone involved in the business development or marketing side of A/E/C knows, through training, guidelines, and experience, you will eventually learn what to say, how to say it, and what to avoid. Social media work the exact same way.

In the past, the A/E/C industry was very every-business-for-itself, keeping other firms and competitors in the dark about projects and clients. Now, with the recent economic decline, many firms are reaching out to one another to team up, bolster business, and do their best to weather hard times. More than ever, it is imperative that A/E/C firms constantly network and “get to know their neighbors.” Social media are excellent tools not only for learning about other firms, but also for introducing yourself to and building relationships with potential clients. You would be surprised how many federal organizations, municipalities, and developers are on only a click away on Facebook or LinkedIn.

Read the more about Social Media and it's impact on AEC firms in the upcoming August Edition of the SMPS Atlanta Inspiration Newsletter. To get on our email distribution list for this newsletter and other SMPS Atlanta chapter news, please click HERE.

Sarah Zibanejadrad has worked as a marketing coordinator for Oasis Consulting Services, an engineering firm specializing in landfills, geotechnical, and environmental services. Currently, she is a social-media consultant for Rumor Interactive Media, a company focused on developing business Web presences.