Deltek Connects With A&E Industry Experts at Top Events

July 17, 2023
Deltek Connects With A&E Industry Experts at Top Events

Architecture and engineering (A&E) firms recently had the opportunity to attend a series of industry events spanning from Washington, D.C., to San Francisco, California. Deltek leaders attended the A’23 - AIA Conference on Architecture 2023, EFCG 2023 Technology Leadership Conference, Morrissey Goodale Western Symposium and the ACEC Annual Convention and Legislative Summit. These events are the most widely attended in the industry, with many Deltek customers participating. The gatherings covered an exciting array of topics, including artificial intelligence, talent retention and acquisition, as well as project management. The discussions were filled with insights and heartfelt conversations, focusing on the unique challenges firms are encountering in our dynamic and ever-evolving landscape. Throughout these events, industry insiders generously shared their expertise and offered valuable solutions to help address the pressing issues of today.

Technological Advancements

The industry is buzzing around the impact of artificial intelligence (AI) and how architecture and engineering firms are utilizing it. The rapid pace of technological advancements presents both opportunities and challenges for architecture and engineering firms with some experts thinking AI will level the playing field by giving small firms a greater chance to compete for projects. While others feel that AI, like Building Information Modeling (BIM), and virtual reality, will require significant training and infrastructure, which might be a challenge for smaller firms with limited resources.

Most experts, however, see the value machine learning and AI solutions that can analyze patterns and detect anomalies will give project managers to predict outcomes which can drive better decision-making.


“There seemed to be a sizeable interest in AI and BIM and how those technologies are shaping the future of specifications.”

– Chris Metropulos, Product Director, Deltek


AIA Conference on Architecture 2023Deltek booth at A'23 - AIA Conference on Architecture 2023

Automation for design specifications was another technology topic of interest for attendees at A’23 - AIA Conference on Architecture 2023. “At the conference, we were asked many questions on how the use of automation technology can improve the development of project specifications, said Denise McDaniel, Deltek Product Marketing Manager.”

Denise added, “Attendees were able to see Deltek Specpoint in action, and learn how Specpoint’s design automation streamlines product research, construction specification writing and production of project manuals to deliver building projects more efficiently. The A&E industry is evolving from using stagnant Microsoft Word-based guide specifications to Specpoint, a collaborative and intelligent database-driven specification tool.”

At the Environmental Financial Consulting Group (EFCG) 2023 Technology Leadership Conference, session speakers led discussions around technology’s influence on the future AEC industry—specifically, AI’s impact on traditional job responsibilities. Predictions included that most design documents would be produced without human input and that most conventional designs would be created in less than eight hours.


One of the sessions at the conference included insights from EFCG’s latest research. When respondents to a study were asked, “What do you see as the top five things that may disrupt the AEC IT executive’s job in the next five years,” the number one response was AI, followed closely by cybersecurity and talent sourcing.

– EFCG 2023 Technology Leadership Conference Survey


Talent Acquisition and Retention

The most talked about challenge facing architecture and engineering firms continues to be staffing. Finding and retaining skilled professionals is a growing concern for A&E firms. The industry’s demand for specialized expertise often exceeds the available talent pool. Currently, there is a lack of students studying engineering. In fact, the Illinois State Department of Transportation (DOT) has started a loan forgiveness program for graduating engineers to entice students with the hope that they will one day join the DOT to help combat this ongoing issue. Attracting top talent, providing professional development opportunities, and creating a positive work culture is also essential for firms to remain competitive.

In addition to the lack of skilled staff in the marketplace, discussions surrounding building a workplace culture that would attract the next generation were common at all four events. Bret Tushaus, VP of Product Management at Deltek, who attended the ACEC Annual Convention and Legislative Summit in Washington, D.C., said there seemed to be no magic answer. “Younger employees want more opportunity but need experience, which might create less flexibility in working from home. It’s a challenge and top of mind for most firms on how to create the right environment for learning while also keeping in mind the new generations’ demand for workplace flexibility.”

ACEC ConferenceBret Tushaus and Megan Miller presenting at the ACEC Conference.

At the Morrissey Goodale Western States M&A Strategy and Innovation Symposium, the CEO panel included a discussion on staffing challenges. “Firms are definitely struggling with acquiring and retaining resources. One of the CEO panel participants shared that their firm has been so focused on the recruiting needs of the firm, they weren’t focused enough on the experience once the new employee accepted the position and that has to be a priority to ensure that once they join the firm, the experience is great and they want to stay,” said Megan Miller, Senior Director, Product Marketing at Deltek. She added, “In panel discussions and conversations with leaders, firms are dedicating more time and resources to training and developing internal staff. We expect career development and career planning to be a much bigger focus in the coming years.”


“Staffing concerns seem to be top of mind among attendees at A’23. There is concern regarding strong backlogs and open headcounts impacting the future of firms being able to deliver projects on time.”

– Michael Bourgeois, VP, Solutions Engineering, Deltek


Selecting the Right Projects to Pursue

Firms are seeing strong financial performance, with many projects to deliver, leading in some cases to long project backlogs. It is essential to determine the right projects to pursue and say no to projects that are not the right fit for the company. Managing costs and adhering to project budgets are persistent challenges. Clients often have tight budgets, and A&E firms must find ways to deliver high-quality projects within these constraints. Megan spoke at the Morrissey Goodale Western States M&A, Strategy, and Innovation Symposium in Las Vegas, NV. She share the latest research from the 44th Annual Deltek Clarity Architecture & Engineering Industry Study. Experts agree that backlogs are expected to remain strong and the volume of new projects remains steady, so in order to deliver quality projects, it is extremely important that firms choose projects where they have the resources to deliver on time and within budget while keeping client satisfaction high.

Connecting with the A&E Industry

These industry events provided great insight into what’s happening across architecture and engineering firms and offered a great opportunity to have discussions with firm leaders regarding the challenges they are facing and how technology can help them be more successful.

Deltek is looking forward to more great discussions with industry insiders at other events throughout 2023.

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