The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades

A lot of you are probably too young to remember that one-hit wonder from 1986 by Timbuk 3, but the song resonated with me as I began to think about the future of SMPS. In it, they sing about how great things are going and how they’re getting even better.

In SMPS President Nancy Usrey’s May article honoring our 45th anniversary, she talked about the current state of the Society and how we’re remaining strong. Like Timbuk 3 sings about in their chorus, we’re doing all right and getting good grades. But what does the future hold for SMPS?

Our mission is to advocate for, educate, and connect leaders in the A/E/C industries. The Society has done a great job over the years on the educate and connect pieces of the mission, but for us to push the industries forward into the next 45 years, we also need to work harder to advocate for our members.My belief is that the board of directors is working diligently on the advocacy component with our new strategic plan.

Here are the four main objectives in the plan:

  1. Change the structure, content, and marketing efforts as needed to reach firm leaders to solicit their support.
  2. Implement necessary changes to the organizational structure to standardize the SMPS experience among all of our offerings.
  3. Vigorously market SMPS and the value of marketing.
  4. Create a communications team for messaging all changes in the strategic plan.

So, what does all this mean to the future of the Society and our members?

  • How cool would it be if our firm leaders saw so much value in SMPS that they made membership a requirement to your job?
  • What if your experience as a member was the same no matter which chapter you belonged to?

While many of the details are still being confirmed, I want you to know what the future may look like. Of course, some of our objectives will take longer to implement than others. Once we finalize, we will begin to create an action plan to help us implement our audacious goals.

Although I cannot predict the future, I can tell you the new strategic plan will build positive momentum toward helping us achieve our vision of Business Transformed Through Marketing Leadership. When will that happen? Ten years? 20 years? 30 years? Regardless, the effort begins today.

And how will we know when our businesses are truly transformed? In the words of my good friend and Past-President Craig Galati, When we know a better way and are enlightened—when we cannot go back to our old ways!”

It’s important to remember that, as Society leaders and as members (future Society leaders), we should always keep our focus on our vision.

I am super excited to see where the Society will be in the future. It looks so bright, we’ll all be wearing our shades.

I am looking forward to seeing many of you at Build Business in sunny San Diego!

SMPS President-Elect Chris Rickman, FSMPS, CPSM, executive vice president and chief operating officer, ZFI Engineering Co. He can be reached at

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