Spotlight on Volunteer Dave Barista

Learn as much as you can about the business and don’t be afraid to fail.

For those of you who haven’t met him, Dave Barista is editorial director of Building Design+Construction (BD+C) publication and, which reach more than 100,000 commercial building professionals, including architects, engineers, contractors, and building owners. David has covered the U.S. construction industry for more than a decade, previously serving as editor-in-chief of BD+C, Professional Builder, Custom Builder, and He has won numerous editorial awards, including six Jesse H. Neal Awards and multiple honors from the Construction Writers Association and the American Society of Business Publication Editors.

Dave is also one of the SMPS Foundation’s non-member trustees. In this role, Dave provides an outside perspective to our board. Most recently, Dave assisted the SMPS Foundation with the planning and development of its current research project, exploring client decision-making. He’s also involved with the next stage of our project, by hosting a workshop on this topic.

Thanks to volunteers like Dave, the SMPS Foundation is able to promote research and education that advances the field of professional services marketing.To learn more about Dave and his career, we sat down with him for a great conversation.

Number of years in the industry:

19 years in A/E/C media.

Has SMPS helped you in your career and, if so, how?

Yes! SMPS members are my go-to for expert sources, story ideas, cutting-edge projects, etc. From my perspective, it’s about connections to and involvement in the A/E/C industries.

What did you do at work yesterday?

Like most days, I juggled several ongoing projects/tasks: planning for our Accelerate Live! innovation conference, writing/editing for the magazine, posting stories for the BD+C Daily 5 newsletter and social media, meeting with the editorial team, kicking off planning for our third annual Women in Design+Construction conference, plus the “everyday stuff.”

What are the challenges and rewards of the job?

Challenges include balancing the workload; executing at a high level across the board; and never-ending deadlines. The rewards are connecting with incredible professionals; working with and for great people; and working in a collaborative environment.

What was your childhood dream job?

To replace Mark Grace at first base for the Chicago Cubs. I was a baseball geek as a kid, and the 1989 Cubs hooked me!

How did you decide to have a career in the A/E/C industries?

I studied both architecture and journalism in college. By junior year I had to pick a path; it was journalism. Luckily for me, my second job out of college was in journalism covering architecture! It has been a great ride ever since.

What has contributed to your success?

My parents for a number of reasons: incredible work ethic, desire for success, humility, people skills, and the ability to appreciate what you have.

 What advice would you give to someone who is about to enter the marketing or business development field?

Learn as much as you can about the business. Shadow professionals at all levels of your firm. Network with the brightest minds in your field/profession. Don’t be afraid to fail!

What has surprised you most about working with the SMPS Foundation?

Not really a surprise, but an underestimation: The amount of work and passion that members have for this organization.


SMPS Foundation President Melissa Lutz, FSMPS, CPSM, is principal at Champlin Architecture. She can be reached at or 513.241.4474, x116.





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