AEC Mega Meeting: Show Me the Money

The 2010 Mega Meeting was focused on a most fitting topic for the current economy: MONEY! The panelists came from a variety of backgrounds to give an overview of the private and public market sectors to discuss about where project opportunities are coming in the short and long term.

Gena Evans, Executive Director, Georgia State Road and Tollway Authority


  • Linda M. Daniels, Vice Chancellor for Facilities, University System of Georgia
  • Ryan Gravel, Design Manager, Perkins + Will
  • Becca Hardin, Executive Vice President of Economic Development, Greater Columbus, Georgia Chamber of Commerce
  • Andrew Scholtens, Dir. of Strategic Marketing and Segmentation, Equifax, Inc.


The last couple of years have proven to be a challenging time for the A/E/C industry, but we all hope the tides are changing. The panelists discussed the lack of public & private funding, opportunities with public-private-partnerships (P3), and future economic growth.

I enjoyed listening to panelists, especially since they all didn't come from the AEC world. They gave some interesting insight (and a little hope!) that a slow recovery has begun.

Here are a few of the main points I took away from the event. Please feel free to comment with your own!

  • Andrew (Equifax) discussed that we should be following consumer spending as an idea of how the economy is doing. Rates like unemployment and GDP may not always be the best measuring tools
  • Ryan (Perkins+Will) discussed the impact the Beltline project will have on our local economy. Eight miles of the Beltline are currently open as biking and walking trails, and the community has started to get excited about the potential for development around this transit project. Three parks are already under construction with countless more public and private developments planned.
  • Linda (Board of Regents) discussed the higher education market sector and how the BOR is looking for qualified design/construction firms that are stable, experienced, and qualified. The BOR wants to create lasting partnerships with the AEC community
  • Becca (Columbus Economic Development) discussed the positive impact that the Ft. Benning re-development has had on the Columbus and surrounding area. Columbus has created a "joint-venture" with other local cities and counties to help spur and promote development. Learn more about the Valley Region and its initiatives here

I enjoyed the Mega Meeting again this year, and I'm looking forward to a positive and successful 2011!

Malory Hunter, Business Development Manager
Foresite Group, Inc.
SMPS Atlanta, Communications Committee Director