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Leadership In Engineering Administration Program



The Leadership in Engineering Administration Program (LEAP) is a career development program for upwardly mobile young professionals working in Arizona’s consulting engineering industry. LEAP is a program that leads to the development of successful business leaders who consistently please our clients and create value in our firms.


Presented by

The American Council of Engineering Companies of Arizona (ACEC Arizona)

Office: 532 West McDowell Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85003
Office Phone: 602-995-2187
Email: or

LEAP Session Schedule

Ten sessions will be presented on Fridays from January to June 2024. Sessions will be held at the ACEC Arizona office at 532 West McDowell Road, Phoenix, Arizona 85003, from 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM.*


Receive Sixty-Three Professional Development Hours Cost -$3,500 Inclusive 

Qualifications of Candidates: The ideal candidate for this program will have 5–10 years of experience in the consulting industry and be in or approaching transition from primarily technical to supervisory and management responsibilities.


Registration in one of the professions regulated by the Arizona State Board of Technical Registration, including Engineer-in-Training, is preferred. Consideration will be given to other business personnel employed by member firms subject to the recommendation of a sponsoring principal.

Nomination Letter from Principal: A nominating letter, two-page maximum, prepared by a principal of the firm, describing why this candidate should be selected. The nominator should describe why the candidate would benefit from the program and what contributions the individual will provide to the industry. A statement should also be included that the member firm will support the candidate’s participation and ensure the candidate is available for all training sessions.

The nominator should also be prepared to attend a portion of several work sessions with the candidate. Support of a candidate will be an essential key to the candidate’s and program’s success. The candidate will have assignments throughout the program where a principal’s or mentor’s coaching will benefit their ability to complete assignments.


Application Letter from Candidate: An application letter, two-page maximum, prepared by the nominated candidate, stating why the candidate wants to participate in the program and what their future goals are in the industry. The candidate should also provide a statement that they are committed to the program and will attend all training sessions and complete all work assignments.


*Dates and times are subject to change due to unforeseen scheduling conflicts with our presenters; however, ample notice will be provided should such a situation occur.

Member firms should nominate one or more individuals at the point in their careers where they are about to transition from performing day-to-day technical duties to having project or section management responsibilities with the firm. The candidates should be at a point where they will be provided an opportunity to utilize the skills and knowledge they obtain from this program.

LEAP Sessions


8:00 AM - 4:30 PM


Session One: Welcome; Introductions; Understanding Yourself & Others

Justan Rice, ACEC Arizona President will lead a session covering program goals, curriculum highlights,
ground rules and networking objectives to set the stage for future classes. This is LEAP’s great “Icebreaker” session where attendees will gain a better understanding of themselves
and the other members of their class through an organized and structured self-assessment evaluation
and feedback process. Attendees will learn how to apply Real Colors in various scenarios for example
clients coaching and managing teams. We will tailor exercises for internal work teams and external
relationships., the session will be facilitated by a leadership professional from the National Curriculum & Training Institute.


8:30 AM - 4:00 PM


Session Two: Communicating to Lead

What makes a leader an effective communicator? In this session, students embark upon the LEAP experience, and discuss how to express themselves when they don’t see themselves as leaders yet. In this session, we will learn about proven tools to help LEAPers improve how to present themselves and their ideas with greater confidence, composure, clarity, and connection. We are fortunate to have LEAP graduate Jason Mikkelsen with HDR participating again.

Each participant will get to do an introduction to be recorded. They will get feedback on their communication style strengths and opportunities for improvement in this format.

meeting will be a week or two after this session.


8:30 AM - 4:00 PM


Session Three: Marketing and Business Development-How to Win Work

Attendees will learn strategies and tactics that will help them win work,
including skills and techniques to identify opportunities, develop relationships,
secure profitable work, and build firm awareness. We will equip you to help
develop profitable, strategically aligned business for your firm so that you can
make informed choices and use your marketing team for maximum
effectiveness. This session will be led by Barbara Shuck


8:30 AM - 4:00 PM


Session Four: Winning Work- Keys to Project Interview Success (AM) and Transitioning to Leadership (PM)

Morning Session.This morning session will help attendees understand how to transition to leadership and will include discussions about understanding company boundaries, delegation, providing feedback, and how to think like a leader instead of an engineer. We will hear interesting perspectives from an industry veteran, Lisa Freestone. We will have a second portion dedicated to a deeper discussion and exercises about Leadership in Your Professional Practice. This session will be led by Barbara Shuck. Afternoon Session
Students will utilize the skills and knowledge gained from previous classes in communication, marketing, and business development in order to prepare and deliver a winning project interview presentation as a group. This session brings it all together. Participants will learn how to approach and prepare for interviews in a way that is strategic, engaging, compelling, convincing, and connects with selection panels.
Each team will also have time to work together on their presentation and receive assistance from Hilari.


8:30 AM - 4:00 PM


Session Five: Team Interviews (AM) and Making the LEAP into Leadership (PM)

Morning Session
Marketing teams will deliver their “Project Presentations” as shortlisted competitors. Presentations will
be made to a “Selection Panel” including volunteer principals from firms. The winning team will be
“selected” by the panel. Forensic analysis of presentations will follow in class discussions, time
permitting. This session will be led by Barbara Shuck. Afternoon Session


8:30 AM - 4:00 PM


Session Six: Project Management- Wearing Many Hats without Losing your Mind

Attendees will build on their existing skills as they apply leadership knowledge to project management,
managing multiple projects, managing people, and managing time. This session will provide tips and tools on how to prepare a proposal that will set you up for financial success, predict if your project is on budget, how to talk to clients about schedule delays and additional services, how to work with staff to keep them on task and under-budget and why your role is really a client “manager”.
Project Manager’s Toolbox for ease of Delivery
• Work breakdown structure (WBS)
• Your project execution plan.
• Logical sequencing of work packages in the WBS,
• Assigning labor and costs to each,
• Resource loaded schedule
• Adjusting the schedule for available resources. This session will be led by Bill Carroll.


8:30 AM - 4:00 PM


Session Seven: Negotiation Skills

This session will be led by Dan Oblinger


8:30 AM - 4:00 PM


Session Eight: Facing the Financial Aspects of Managing and Leading (AM) and Business Leadership-Contracts, Risk and Ethics (PM)

Morning Session
Contracts and contract types with clients (lump sum, cost plus, etc.), contract with your company (revenue recognition and profit), risk management. Understanding the financial aspects of managing the business. Topics to include utilization, days sales
outstanding, gross revenue, labor revenue and performance profit. This session led by Rick Alexander. Afternoon session Understand how project delivery methods affect risk. Learn the importance of managing sub-consultants, joint ventures and teams. Understand professional liability insurance. Avoid
litigation! This session is an introduction to professional service contracts. Learn fundamental risk
management principles and how to deal with risk. Define level of performance and rising above the standard of care. Understand Deal Makers vs. Deal Breakers. Learn about constructability reviews and design quality management to reduce risk. Guard against vicarious liability. What are your construction
responsibilities? Address construction safety programs and procedures. Know how to respond to indemnity demands and joint defense arrangements. Conclude with “Ethics for the Professional
Engineer.” This session will be led by Michael King and Joe Gervasio.


8:30 AM - 4:00 PM


Session Nine: Leadership Research Project Presentations (AM) and Leadership Presentation Topic Discussion (PM)

Morning Session
Prior to this session, students will research a leadership topic of interest to them. They will then present why they selected the topic, what they learned and how they can begin to implement what they have learned.
Afternoon Session
Students will discuss the various topics addressed in their Leadership Research Presentations. This session will be led by Hilari Weinstein.


4:00 PM - 8:00 PM


Graduation Speeches and Graduation PARTY!

A graduation ceremony and party (LEAP sponsors, colleagues, family, and friends are encouraged to attend), and graduation speeches reflecting on lessons learned and career goals will be presented by the LEAP class.

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