In our member spotlight, Angie Cole, MBA, takes time out of her busy day to chat with SMPS. Angie is director of marketing and business development for Lorentz Bruun Construction. She has been a member of SMPS for seven years and is also a past-president of SMPS Oregon. In this spotlight, Angie shares the rewards of her career and the benefits of being an SMPS member.
How did you decide to have a career in the A/E/C industries? Like many others, I never really decided or planned this career. When I moved to Oregon, unsure what direction to go professionally, I met a friend and mentor who was an A/E/C marketing manager. She believed my personality and experience—change management for a multifamily developer—would be a good fit. She introduced me to SMPS Oregon and helped me find a position and hone my marketing skills. Seven years later, I can’t imagine being anywhere else.
How would you describe your role/job? I’m a change agent for a sustainable transformation to ensure that my 75-year-old construction firm remains relevant and effective for another 75 years. With every marketing initiative my team undertakes, I like to ask “Why?” and “What’s the impact?” Sometimes it feels like we’re doing things to check a box, but marketing can be so much more powerful if we take time up front to understand the answers to these questions.
What’s your favorite part of the job? I really enjoy business development—I’ve always been described as a social butterfly and love meeting new people and making friends. Learning to connect with people on different levels helps me become a more effective marketer as I learn what others are doing and how I can change and grow professionally and personally.
What have been the challenges and rewards of your career? I work hard to move things forward and lead the charge when it comes to change, yet I’m always looking back to see how I could have done things differently. I believe that’s my biggest challenge. But that also presents one of the greatest rewards—taking lessons learned and applying them to future decisions.
What’s been your most meaningful project? My most meaningful project was my first at Lorentz Bruun Construction. One of my SMPS friends who works for an architecture firm asked if we wanted to partner on what would be my first design-build project. This helped me learn how to closely collaborate with marketers from other firms. It was my first big win at my current firm and helped set a very high bar not only for me, but also the value my position brings. Finally, construction began about a week into the pandemic. It was energizing to work as a team and think outside the box to plan a virtual groundbreaking and market the project.
Why is membership in SMPS important to you and how has it helped you to advance your firm and your career? One of the reasons I was offered my current position was because of SMPS. The president of my company was once a member and involved in SMPS Oregon. When I interviewed, I’d just found out I was nominated as president-elect. SMPS has been a major asset in helping me learn the trade and provided a support system for ideas and friendships. I feel fortunate to have met so many great friends and mentors through SMPS.
What has contributed to your success? As someone who grew up on the East Coast, I’m very straightforward and direct. I think this has helped open a lot of doors for me, because being direct gets you an immediate read on whether two personalities are a good fit for working together.
What advice would you give someone about to enter marketing or business development? Take the time to learn everything you can from your co-workers, peers, and SMPS, and make a point to build friendships, not just connections. My whole career has been shaped by friends and mentors. When you find those people, allow those relationships to grow. It will help you thrive in the long run.
What’s the best advice you’ve received regarding your career or working in A/E/C? “Don’t be afraid to ask for what you need.” In my first job out of college, during my first review with my boss, we started to discuss salary. I remember my palms getting sweaty and my heart racing. He told me that in the professional world you can’t be afraid to ask for what you deserve. That conversation has always given me confidence to ask for the things I need, even if it takes me out of my comfort zone.
What’s the best career advice you’ve given? “The grass isn’t always greener on the other side, so find three things that will make you happy in a new position and re-evaluate them once every few years.” Before moving to my current company, I realized I needed to find a place that provided me with those three important. I review that list every year and adjust it accordingly, but it helps me realize what I need to do my job effectively.
What’s on your bucket list? Australia. In elementary school (okay, I’m dating myself now but …) in computer class we had to learn to book a trip anywhere in the world, and I chose Australia. I had to build a full itinerary and deep down I still want to check off each of those things from that itinerary.
Guilty pleasure: What can you not live without? My phone. I know this sounds bad, but my phone has always made me feel connected to my friends and family and that no matter where I am or how far, I still know what’s going on with them.