Karen O. Courtney, AIA, FSMPS
Chief Marketing Officer, Architect
Fanning Howey Architects/Engineers
Karen O. Courtney, AIA, FSMPS, has been a marketing director and business developer for 30 years in A/E/C firms ranging in size from medium to extra large, and she is both a registered architect and interior designer. She has worked for architecture, engineering, and construction management firms, giving her a unique perspective of the challenges faced by each segment of the industry in building business. She was honored by SMPS in 2013 with the Society’s Weld Coxe Marketing Achievement Award from her lifetime of work in marketing, business development, and firm leadership.
From her work in business development, strategic planning, branding, positioning, and public relations, Courtney has helped firms grow their revenues, build markets in new geographies, change firm image, build brand awareness, and develop individuals as market experts. Her work has won 32 national and regional awards from SMPS, International Association of Business Communicators, Construction Writers Association, and local ad clubs. In 2016, she was honored by the Indiana Trade Area Professionals with their TAP Lifetime Industry Achievement Award.
Courtney has served SMPS in local and national leadership positions throughout her career. She was a founding member of SMPS Maine (now SMPS Northern New England) and has been a member of chapters in Austin/San Antonio, Boston, Maine, Seattle, and Indiana. Her service to SMPS nationally includes serving as SMPS president from 2004–2005 and seven years as a board member, with two terms as secretary/treasurer. She is a founding member of the SMPS Business Development Institute and has taught BDI classes for nine years.
Other board service to SMPS includes work on the Society’s public relations committee for four years, leading the SMPS 30th anniversary committee and celebration in 2004, and serving on the board of directors for the SMPS Foundation. Most recently, Courtney served as an SMPS subject matter expert for the client and business development domain of practice for Markendium, the new SMPS Body of Knowledge, to be published in summer of 2016. In 2006–2007, she was a board member of the Professional Services Management Association (PSMA) focusing on communications, membership development, and marketing issues. She also served on the board of the Construction Writers Association where she chaired their journalism/photography awards program and helped develop their strategic plan.
Prior to her SMPS board appointment, she chaired the marketing information reports committee that published business development and marketing white papers. These later became the basis for the first SMPS Marketing Handbook that she helped to edit. Her marketing budget chapter is in the handbook’s third edition. She has also written articles for the SMPS Marketer on strategic planning, marketing and client relations. She has written for Building Design & Construction, Zweig White’s Revolutionary Marketing and A/E Marketing newsletters, PSMJ’s newsletter and Architectural Record’s three-part series on marketing professional services published in 2001–2002. Courtney also authored the chapter “Building Client Relations” in the 2008 AIA Professional Practice Handbook.
Courtney’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Architecture degree, magna cum laude, from Indiana’s Ball State University and an MBA in real estate finance and marketing from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a member of the AIA and serves on the AIA Best Practices national committee and has presented BD seminars at the AIA’s national convention in 2012 and 2013. Ms. Courtney has served the Ball State University College of Architecture’s alumni governing board as president and as a board member for the last eight years. She has held leadership positions nationally with USA Swimming and locally with the Girl Scouts of America, Young Audiences Indiana, Rotary, Int., and Sons of Norway and has served as a school board member and corporator of a community bank.