SMPS Chicago Blog

SMPS Chicago Job Bank - New Postings

The SMPS Chicago Job Bank has openings for marketers, business developers, and graphics talents with a wide range in experience and expertise needs. Don't hunker down as the weather gets cold, get inspired to make a change. Maybe a new position is your own winter warmer.

SMPS Job Bank 


Read More

SMPS HRC - New Registration Contest

SMPS Heartland Regional Conference Ma 6-8 in Chicago has another contest for registrants. The Chicago Architecture Foundation is giving away some architectural tours. If you have not been on one, the tours are amazing for those who know Chicago and those who don't. If you've been on a tour, you certainly know how amazing the tours are, which is why you keep going on them.

Register today!

Read More

SMPS Chicago New Member Lunch - November

11/20 at Vinyl from 5:30-6:30

As this month's official guest, Nikki Dvorak, Treasurer of SMPS Chicago, answered a few questions on how SMPS has helped her career and professional growth. Join her at the lunch next week to learn more!

For questions regarding the lunch, contact: Lauren Mead, RTKL Associates, Inc., [email protected]


Where do you work and what’s your role?                                                                            I work for Primera Engineers, Ltd. In Business Development. My role is to develop all proposal submissions and project interview materials, manage industry outreach initiatives, maintain and update a comprehensive CRM database, as well as maintain our existing clients.

Why did you join SMPS Chicago?

I was exposed to SMPS a few years back helping my old boss out, loved what I was learning and wanted to know more.

How has SMPS been beneficial to you, your firm, and/or your career?

SMPS is a great network in general. I’ve gotten project leads out of it, friendships, industry awareness, and had a ton of fun getting involved. The reason I’m working at Primera right now is because of a connection I made within SMPS and the great reference someone gave me.

How can a new member of SMPS get the most out of their membership?
Get involved. Get involved. Get involved. Whether it’s a committee or helping out with a special event, you get the most out of something when you dive in. We all have different expertise and could help out a bunch of different ways.

What was the most fun event you attended for SMPS?
The holiday party is always my favorite event. Tons of great people there and a bunch of non-members show up to see what “SMPS is all about” and it’s a great networking opportunity to meet new people.

What do you do to kick back and relax?
Work out. I’m a big runner and I love to kickbox. Nothing like getting your frustrations out there with kickboxing. Working out/running clears my head from the day so I make sure to make time for it every week within my busy schedule.

What is your favorite musical group/performer?
I’m a huge county fan – love anyone from Kenny Rogers to Dolly Parton to the Dixie Chicks and Faith Hill

What is the most interesting place you’ve visited?  
I went to Ireland last summer and ran the Dublin ½ marathon – it was an amazing trip.

Name the most famous person you’ve had a face to face encounter with (“brush with greatness”)?
JoDee Messina – shes a country artist. My friends and I went to Country Thunder our summer out of High School and ended up talking all night to JoDee’s band. They said she was staying at our hotel so we stayed up and waited for her car to pull up. We ran around the back when she showed up and opened the door for her – she said “hi girls.” Biggest night of our life. After that, we proceeded to see what floor she got off on and went up only to sing her songs in the hallway for the next 30 minutes, needless to say, she never came back out.

If you could spend 15 minutes with any living person, who would it be and why?
This is a tough one – but I’m going with Sandra Bullock. I think she’s amazing at life. I should probably say someone more “meaningful” but love her.

Read More

Call for Mentors for Illinois 2015 Future City® Competition

Chicago - As part of the  2015 National Future City® Competition over 40,000 middle schoolers from about 1,350 schools across the United States will be tasked with designing a city with its own food resources under the concept of "Feeding Future Cites." There are 37 regions involved in the competition nationwide.  The State of Illinois Regional Regional competition is open to sixth, seventh and eighth graders. Teams  registered through October 31, 2014.  The Illinois Regional Committee is currently seeking engineering professionals to serve as team mentors to work with students while their preparing their entries over the next few months.  

Mentors are asked to coach their teams for the statewide competition which requires meeting about once per month with the team at their school for the next three months. See  our Google Map with registered schools to date that are seeking a mentor. The registered schools list continues to change and grow each day-check frequently, or call us to find a school nearest you. For more details and to enroll as a mentor, click here .

During the Future City® Competition, students work as a team to design a virtual city and solutions using SimCity™ software. Over the next three months, the students research the defined city wide issue and write an essay with their findings and solutions. The team builds a tabletop scale model of their city using recycled materials with a budget no greater than $100 and they write a brief narrative promoting their city. All teams have the same budget and have access to the software.

On Jan. 24, 2015, student teams will present their version of the future to a panel of judges at the Regional Competition held at the University of Illinois at Chicago. After the judging, awards will be presented in the afternoon.   The public is invited to attend the competition and show for free.  

"This is the 22nd year of conducting this regional competition.  This year's competition requires students to create a vision for the future regarding "Feeding Future Cites." It is an interesting topic and more critical as the world's population continues to grow," said Future City® Competition Regional Coordinator Don Wittmer, P.E., Transportation Manager with HNTB.  

The winning team from the Illinois region will receive a fully paid round-trip, travel and hotel accommodations, to compete in the National Finals held in Washington, DC on Feb. 22-28, 2015 during National Engineers Week. The four-day national competition will result in one team receiving the top national prize of a trip to U.S. Space Camp for one week stay in Huntsville, AL and $7,500 for the organization's STEM(Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) program. The top prize is awarded by Bentley Systems, Inc. 

Four additional prizes are awarded at the national competition. The first runner-up is awarded a $5,000 prize provided by National Society of Professional Engineers. The second runner-up is awarded a $2,000 prize provided by IEEE-USA. Two honorable mention prizes are awarded in the amount of $750 each provided by the Ohio University and CH2MHill. All team members receive a certificate of participation.

"The Regional Competition brings together innovative students from Chicago and throughout Illinois. We are always surprised by their creativity and excitement," stated Matthew  A. Miller,P.E. with HNTB.

The top teams from the region will share their transformative ideas at the Annual Chicago Engineers Benefit on Feb. 27, 2015.

Begun in 1992, the Future City® Competition is part of the rich history of DiscoverE. For more information about Future City®, visit  

We would like to thank our sponsors for their generous support. Our Gold Sponsors are: American Society of Civil Engineers(ASCE) Illinois Section, ASCE- UIC Student Chapter, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Golden Square LLC, and HNTB.  Our Silver sponsors are: CivCon Services, Perkins and Will, and the University of Illinois at Chicago, Inc. Our Bronze Sponsors are: American Concrete Institute-Illinois Chapter, Associated Steel Erectors, Christopher B. Burke Engineering, Ltd., Civil Tech, Conestoga-Rovers & Associates and Weldy/Lamont Associates, Ltd.

If you have questions, contact Future City® Regional Coordinator Don Wittmer, P.E., HNTB at [email protected] or Matthew Miller, P.E. , HNTB, at [email protected] 

Read More

Hollywood Holiday Sponsorship Package Opportunities

Do you want your firm's name in the spotlight?
It's possible with an event sponsorship package!
There is limited space on the Red Carpet so register today.

Feature Film Sponsorship Packages Available

Red Carpet: $1,500

  • Signage with logo at registration
  • Logo incorporated into the video presentations
  • Advertisement in AIA e-newsletter, distributed to nearly 5,000 readers ($500 value)
  • Company logo on AIA and SMPS Chicago event websites
  • Two reserved booths at event
  • Four tickets to the event

Director’s Cut: $1,000

  • Signage with logo at registration
  • Logo incorporated into the video presentations
  • Company logo on AIA and SMPS Chicago event websites
  • One reserved booth at event
  • Four tickets to the event

Oscar Winner: $500

  • Signage with logo at registration
  • Logo incorporated into the video presentations
  • Company logo on AIA and SMPS Chicago event websites
  • Two tickets to the event

Please contact Amber Zurcher if you are interested in being a sponsor for this event or would like more information.

Read More

Speed Networking Registrants - Don't forget you business cards

Please join SMPS Chicago as relationship building expert, trainer and coach, Jackie Loewe, provides us with tips on how to maximize our Networking ROI. After a short presentation, she will guide us through SMPS’ very own version of a Speed Networking Session.  Come prepared with 50+ Business Cards (REALLY!), Your Unique Elevator Speech, Pen and Small Note Pad and a Spirit of Adventure.

Read More

Deadline Approaching - Support SMPS Chicago in 2015

Your support will help us continue to elevate the level of education offerings, increase our membership and heighten the awareness of SMPS as the premier A/E/C marketing organization in Chicago.

Find out more:

Read More