2018 Project Management Symposium

The University of Maryland Project Management Center for Excellence is proud to deliver its fifth annual Project Management Symposium, taking place May 10-11, 2018 at the university’s College Park campus.

Last year’s Symposium drew a record breaking crowd of over 330 project management professionals from the Baltimore-Washington region and around the world that joined forces to tackle challenges impacting the project management field at large.

The two-day May 2018 event will feature six keynote speakers and over 55 technical sessions spread across five concurrent tracks.  Symposium attendees can customize their event experience by choosing to attend speaker sessions on a variety of project management topics including: Federal Programs, Agile & IT, Integrated Program Management, People in Projects, Construction Management and BIM, Risk & Big Data, Smart Solutions, and Stakeholders. Attendees who participate in a people in projects track will be able to choose from four specific focuses including leadership, change management, conflict management, and learning.  The full two-day agenda for the event is posted on the Symposium website and includes a complete description of each session along with speaker bios and photos.

“I highly recommend the UMD Project Management Symposium!” stated 2017 attendee Lisa Price, PMP, SMP from Prince George’s County Board of Education.  “It’s a convenient, cost-effective means of hearing project management practitioners present their successes and lessons learned, meeting and networking with project management peers, and simultaneously earning PDUs! It’s an excellent investment. I’ll definitely attend again!”

“We are thrilled to be able to offer the project management community the opportunity to learn about such a wide array of topics from so many industry professionals willing and eager to share their experiences and lessons learned,” said John H. Cable, Director of UMD’s Project Management Center for Excellence.

For those looking to maintain a PMI credential, the Symposium offers an opportunity to earn up to 11 professional development units (PDUs) in the PMI Talent Triangle.  Each presentation will specify which of the three talent triangle skills it will address.

A unique aspect of UMD’s Symposium is the sponsorship of three of its technical session tracks.  The Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Government Relations Office is sponsoring the Federal Programs track bringing experienced project managers to participate in a variety of discussions including the successful creation of a first-in-kind government-wide forum for sharing project management information in Don’t Reinvent the Wheel: Building the Federal Program/Project Management Community of Practice. Spanning the entire two-day event, the Construction Management/BIM track sponsored by the Maryland Center for Construction Education & Innovation (MCCEI) and brings participants together to discuss the use of combined schedule and EVM review to reverse the trend of project delays and cost overruns  and  Revolutionizing the Construction Industry through the Adoption of Technology.  The  College of Performance Management and OPDEC: Operational Decision Software & Services are jointly sponsoring the Integrated Program Management track and presentations will feature discussions such as understanding earned value management (EVM) so it can be understood and welcomed as an important tool for project managers, a panel discussion on Technical Performance Measures: When is Done “Done”?, and  bringing together Agile concepts, EVM/project controls, and Capabilities-Based Planning to address the ultimate goals of the project….deliver value to the organization. All of these sponsors assist in the selection of session speakers and identify industry professionals willing to share their experiences and lessons learned.  John Cable indicated the importance of these sponsorships by stating, “The partnership with these sponsors has enabled us to offer more focused information of direct interest to each sponsors networks and communities and that will provide an enriched experience for our Symposium attendees.”

This year’s lineup of featured speakers is packing a powerful punch. 

  • Mike Schlegel, Bozzuto Construction Company, Is the Construction Industry Ripe for Disruption?
  • Sarina Arcari, Amtrak, “If You Build It, They Won’t Necessarily Come: Engineering Solutions, the Human Factor
  • Lauren Alexander Augustine, National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, “Operationalizing Resilience One Community at a Time”
  • Robert Rovinsky, Deep Water Point, “A Case Study in using EVM to improve Project Management and Gain Funding: the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Story”
  • William Eggers, Deloitte’s Center for Government insights, “Where Tomorrow Will Take Us: A Journey into the Future of Work and Management”
  • Jeff Gravatte, CADD Microsystems, “Technological Advances in Managing Design and Construction Projects”

This year’s symposium is projected to draw record-breaking attendance so those interested in participating are strongly encouraged to register in advance of the April 2nd early-bird deadline.  Registration rates for government, military and non-profits is only $350 for the two-day event if they register by the early bird deadline.  PMI members can also register at this rate until April 2nd.

For more information, or to register, visit the UMD Project Management Symposium website.

The UMD Project Management Center for Excellence would like to thank our Symposium sponsors. Funding to develop and deliver the symposium each year comes from attendee registration and sponsorship fees.  After covering event expenses, any remaining funds are used to provide scholarships to students pursuing a degree in project management. As part of the registration process, any symposium attendee is also invited to donate funds specifically designated for scholarships if they choose.

Gold Sponsor:  CBRE Healthcare

Track sponsors: College of Performance ManagementMaryland Center for Construction Education & Innovation (MCCEI),  Odpec, Inc., and Project Management Institute (PMI) Government Relations Office

Silver Sponsors: Bozzuto Construction Company and Clark Construction

Bronze Sponsors: AmtrakAnaya PhotographyClearPlanDrupal GovCon, Federal Program and Project Management Community of Practice, Gilbane Building Company,  Grimm and Parker ArchitectsHITT Contracting Inc., MedtronicPMI Southern Maryland ChapterProject Management ExpertsUMD Office of Advanced Engineering Education,

Patron Sponsor: Foresee Consulting

Media sponsor: PM World Journal.


Project management professionals from as near as D.C. and as far as Australia came together May 4-5 to share best practices, discuss lessons learned, and discover the latest advances in the field at the University of Maryland (UMD) Project Management Symposium. More than 300 people were in attendance, the largest number in the event’s four-year history.

Hosted by the Project Management Center for Excellence in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), the Project Management Symposium featured over 50 technical sessions on a broad range of topics: people in projects, construction management, federal programs, agile/IT, integrated project management, risk and big data, education, and stakeholders.

“The diversity of the session topics allows professionals from all aspects of project management to gain insight into the challenges other agencies experience and what processes were implemented to overcome them,” said Andrew Van Der Stuyf, assistant director of project management for UMD’s Department of Residential Facilities and an alumnus of the Office of Advanced Engineering Education’s project management master’s program.

According to John Cable, director of the Project Management Center for Excellence, such diversity can be credited to leading minds eager to share experiences and dedicated partners.

“We are extremely pleased that interest in this symposium from both presenters and participants grows with each successive year,” said Cable. “I think it is a testament to practicing professionals’ thirst for substantive information.”

Three of the five technical tracks were planned in collaboration with sponsors, ensuring presentations targeted audience experiences and questions more effectively. The Federal Programs track was sponsored by the Project Management Institute’s Government Relations Office, the College of Performance Management sponsored the Integrated Project Management track, and the Construction Management/BIM track was sponsored by the Maryland Center for Construction Education & Innovation.

Topic diversity was also a hallmark of the featured presentations staggered throughout the two-day event.

Jeff Gravatte, CEO and owner of CADD Microsystems, kicked off things off with a discussion of technology trends affecting building design and construction project management. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center’s Stephen Shinn took the stage during lunch to share strategies that aid project success in a changing environment, while Patricia Carper from Whiting-Turner later presented lessons learned from the $1.3 billion development of the MGM National Harbor in Oxon Hill, Maryland.

Karl Wunderlich of Noblis and Lisa Blumerman, associate director for the decennial census at the U.S. Census Bureau rounded out the featured presentations on May 5. Wunderlich discussed his ideas for how to reduce risk and meet consumer demands as connected and automated transportation continue to transform vehicles and how they are used. And Blumerman offered attendees a detailed, behind-the-scenes look at the planning, coordination, and science needed to get an accurate population count every 10 years.

The breadth and depth of coverage featured at the Project Management Symposium, along with its proximity to the nation’s capitol, is what initially drove many to register for the event and encourage their colleagues to do the same.

“This conference is really important to the Census Bureau and to our certified program managers. The fact that it’s local, that it’s so thorough—it’s a great opportunity for continued development for our staff.” said Blumerman, who was joined by more than 50 additional Census Bureau employees.

For others, the success of the symposium stemmed from its unique blend of academic and practitioner presentations.

“The [symposium] is a great hub for scholars and practitioners to meet and share their latest technological/organizational achievements and cutting-edge visions,” said Southern Alberta Institute of Technology’s Shahab Moeini.

Regardless of what first drew them to the signature event, however, participants agreed that engaging speakers kept them motivated throughout.

“All the speakers have been great,” said Tracy H. Miles, program manager of National Facilities Services at Kaiser Permanente. “I thoroughly enjoyed the People in Projects–Motivation session, in particular Jocelyn [Davis]. I thought she was a very engaging speaker. She really tried to draw out situations that people could relate to and that she could involve the audience in.”

“The passion that everyone brings—the presenters and the conference goers—creates an inspiring atmosphere that fosters new personal and business relationships,” explained John Johnson, Softek Enterprises, LLC. “Quality learning and quality people keep me coming back year after year.”

Session presentations are available to download on the symposium website—simply click on the session name and look for the link in the left column. Videos of the featured presentations are also available through the individual speaker pages.

The fifth annual Project Management Symposium will take place May 10-11, 2018. Registration, as well as a call for speakers, will open in September.