Symposium Presentations

Symposium Presentations


Leading change is about exerting positive influence and there is one communication style proven to be most effective, yet there are seven
common communication mistakes most project leaders make that undermine their ability to communicate like a champion.
This keynote address will provide project leaders with a framework and model to begin building their championship communication style, while
offering specific communication strategies, tips, tools, and techniques to overcome the seven communication mistakes so that they can exert the
poistive influence they need when it comes to being champion change leader.

Skip Weisman, a former professional baseball executive and a professional speaker, business coach and author, works with organizations who want to create championship teams and work environments that increases productivity, performance and profits.

Skip presentations provide inspiring stories with lessons from his early leadership career with practical, state-of-the-art tips, tools, and techniques, to transform workplace communication that leads to championship caliber performance.

Skip served 5 baseball franchises as CEO staring at age 26. The teams Skip led were affiliated with the Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, Seattle Mariners, Tampa Bay Rays, and Texas Rangers.

Since 2012 Skip has spoken on main stages as a keynote speaker to audiences as large as 1,500 at corporate and association conferences across North America. Some client’s include; The Project Management Institute, Society for Human Resource Management, Pink Elephant IT Service Management, HDI, the Medical Group Management Association, and George Mason University.


Presentation: Effective Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) for PMO
by Ramani Vadlamuri

An IRP is a continuous process of systematic planning to achieve optimum use of an organization's most valuable asset — its human resources. The objective of an IRP is to ensure the best fit between resources and projects for better project execution while avoiding resources shortages or overages.

Ramani Vadlamuri, MBA, PMP, DTE-certified Six Sigma Black Belt, is a Manager of Major Enterprise Projects (MEP) which is a PMO of DTE in Detroit, Michigan. Ramani has 15+ years’ experience in project portfolio management and where she led the development of their project management and systems engineering program to mature practices company-wide.

In her managerial role at DTE, Ramani manages the MEP personnel (schedulers, estimators and contract management), developing and integrating contract management, schedule and estimating tools, processes and procedures of the organization into the Enterprise Business Solutions (EBS) systems of the Corporation, and provides all MEP reporting for Engineering and Construction Organization.

Presentation: Great Change Efforts Start With "True" Key Performance Indicators
by Rick Crayne

To drive change, we need to focus Project Management Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) away from “crisis management” and toward Continuous Improvement.
Learn how to assess your current metrics against “True” KPI criteria:

  • Key = Critical few metric aligned with long-term strategic goals

  • Performance = Quantify Gaps to Benchmarks

  • Indicators = Objective raw data against meaningful denominators

Learn how to drive positive Change and use “True” KPIs to set Benchmarks, quantify Gaps, set future Targets and share Best Practices.

Rick Crayne’s mission is to measure and achieve benchmark performance in product development. He has developed and implemented successful
Continuous Improvement programs in many product lines around the world. Rick was recently Corporate Engineering Director of Process Excellence at Johnson Controls, a global $40 billion technology and multi-industrial leader. Rick was the Global Director of Continuous Improvement for Engineering and Program Management for 10 years at Adient, a $20 billion global sales leader in the automotive seating market.

He believes that “True” Key Performance Indicators are a critical foundation to long-term continuous improvement efforts.

Rick’s secret sauce is measuring engineering productivity with accuracy and objectivity. Rick led global teams that applied this to automotive seating, interiors, fabrics, electronics, batteries, HVAC controllers and fire-suppression devices. His methods managed budgets and resources for more than 2,000 projects and $4 billion in engineering spend with 87%+ accuracy.

Rick led a group of 15 Six Sigma Black Belts and a Master Black Belt focused on improving the engineering function for 2 large technical centers which are now part of Adient and YFAI. Rick is all about processes. He led a global team from 3 companies to combine best practices into a new Product Launch System (PLUS) and formed supporting PMOs. 18 years later, this process is still used in Johnson Controls, Adient, YFAI, and others. PLUS was the topic of a PMI
Conference Paper presented by Richard Spigarelli and Carel Allen called “Implementation of an automotive product launch system”.
Rick is the author of the book, “Engineering Excellence – Measure and Achieve Benchmark Performance”. Rick holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix and a BS in Manufacturing Engineering from Eastern Michigan University. He is a member and past speaker at PMI – GLC and HVC. He holds a US Patent.
He has visited 18 countries and travelled around the world 12 times and can say Hello, Thank You and order a beer in 15 languages.

Presentation: Ethical Decision Making for Project Managers
by Dr. Mumtaz Usmen

Many believe that ethical thinking, ethical decision making and ehical behavior are crucial for effective project and organizational management, affecting long-term success. It is emphasized in the proposed presentation that anlytic/critical thinking based on universal intellectual standards (clarityt, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, logic, fairness) are instrumental in effective decion making whan faced with complex problems and sitiations, and this is closely tied in with ethical decisoion making. Statistical facts about the state of ethical behavior in the global corporate world are presented and the factors affecting ethical/unethical behavior, including ethical breakdowns are discussed, with a focus on dilemmas faced by decision makers. Highlights of corporate ethics and comliance programs are covered, extending into corporate citizenship and corporate social responsibility.

Dr. Mumtaz Usmen is currently chair and professor of civil engineering at Wayne State University (WSU) in Detroit, Michigan. Prior to coming to Wayne State, he was a professor of civil engineering at West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV, where he established and directed a NIOSH sponsored Center for Excellence on Construction Safety. Dr. Usmen has been engaged in construction safety education and research for over 30 years, as well as safety training of workers through OSHA and MIOSHA grants for over a decade. In addition, he has served as an expert witness in numerous legal litigation cases involving construction safety and injury analysis. Dr. Usmen has been very active professionally by serving on national, state and local committees of technical and professional societies. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), and has served on its Site Safety Committee. Dr. Usmen is a fellow of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE), and has been a member of its Board of Ethical Review (BER). He has received many recognitions, including the Engineer of the Year from MSPE and the Affiliate Council Gold Award from ESD. Dr. Usmen is a Licensed Professional Engineer and holds a PhD from West Virginia University.

Presentation: Moving from Dramatic to Dynamic: Effectively Dealing With Workplace Drama
by Matthew McCarty

Drama in the workplace.  It’s a productivity killer. Drama fuels anxiety and uncertainty, which leads to low morale, and, if left unchecked, can cause the loss of your best people. None of us like to admit that drama is a problem in our organization, and it might not be—yet. But how can we keep drama from becoming a problem? And if we know of areas where drama is a problem, how do we mitigate its effects?  In this session, you will pick up specific tools to help you reduce drama in your organization, deal effectively with drama when it occurs, and transform your teams from dramatic to dynamic.

Matt McCarty has 30 years’ experience in leadership, coaching and project management. Matt is a professional speaker and an ICF certified leadership and communication coach, helping individuals and organizations discover the tools and methods to create an engaging, innovative and productive environment for their work, home, and community. Matt is passionate about leadership as service and helps leaders transform their teams, businesses, and communities through the principles of serving leadership. He especially likes working with young and aspiring leaders, helping them start their leadership journey with the right toolkit.  Matt is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP) and brings a project manager’s eye for process and framework to the leadership tools he shares.


Presentation: The Risks of Integrated Project Delivery: Complicated Collaboration or Improbable Panacea
by Dr. William Moylan

Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) is different from traditional construction project delivery methods. IPD requires early involvement of key parties with sharing of decision-making, control and project risks. Removing the associated liability encourages the parties to focus on producing the best, economical design while executing the construction efficiently and effectively. In IPD, the facility owner pays for direct costs and overhead, theoretically striped of profit. The risk of losing money is minimal with the opportunity to share in net budget savings. IPD seems like a panacea; however, skeptics remain. The typical designer and constructor, both pragmatic by nature, are distrustful of unproven methods. IPD seems complicated to those not attuned to creative problem solving. IPD participants must be trusting and trustworthy, able to collaborate and cooperate, and, communicate ethically and sincerely – not common traits of the construction industry. The presentaton compares and contrasts these positive and negative risks of IPD.

Dr. William A. Moylan, PhD, PMP, FESD, DTM is an Educator, Consultant, Trainer, Expert Witness and Practitioner in Project Management and Construction Engineering. He is an Associate Professor with Eastern Michigan University and instructs in Construction Management. Dr. Moylan has extensive professional experience in all aspects of program and project management, including over eleven years internationally with the Saudi Arabian American Oil Co, and since 1983 has been involved in implementing information technology. Dr. Moylan received his BS in Construction Engineering from Lawrence Technological University; his Masters from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, majoring in Project Management and minoring in International Business, and, his Ph.D. in Organization and Management with a specialization in Leadership from Capella University. Dr. Moylan is active in a variety of professional societies including PMI, ESD, ASCE, Habitat for Humanity and Toastmasters International.

Presentation: Managing Change in the Replacement of Power Grid Systems with Schedule Constraints
by Gerry Abad

In so many high cost complex projects with extreme impact to the organization and customers, certain leadership decisions that were made at the start may lead to project recovery initiatives to meet required milestone implementation date(s).  This presentation session provides techniques to crash the schedule and foster insightful approaches such as change management techniques that inspire creativity among SMEs to achieve success. The key is preparing all key resources for the changes through superior training as early as possible, experience key functional features of the new system by participation in Functional Design and Beta Release testing, recruit highly qualified professionals in the domain to perform as catalysts of change, prepare operators for testing case and training content development, and participation of these SMEs in system operation configuration designs.

Gerry is the owner of the Velo Consulting Group, LLC which is incorporated in the state of Texas.  He possesses a BS in Applied Economics and an MS in Electronic Commerce. Gerry achieved certifications as a Project Management Professional (PMP) and Program Management Professional (PgMP). Mr. Abad has been involved in energy restructuring in the US since 1987 during the restructuring of the Gas Industry then the electricity markets since 1997.  He has led successful high cost technology programs in the bulk power market at two Independent System Operator (ISO) organizations in California and Texas.  He has also led highly successful technology programs and projects for market participant systems in four ISO control regions in the US.

Presentation: Does Product Development Need a Project Manager?
by Jen Pfaff

Does the Product Development process need a Project Manager? Yes. Can an experienced IT Project Manager be the PM for a Product? Yes. Is there even a difference? Of course, there is. But what if you haven’t managed the development of a ‘product?’ How can you step in and use your project management background to provide value? How can you work together with the PM from the Product side? We’ll talk about how and define who does what to have awesome projects and products.

Jen Pfaff is the Technology Director of Planning and Delivery for ProQuest. She is a Senior leader with expertise managing global teams acquired over twenty plus years working with some of the world’s largest corporations. Her specialties include: Project Management Office implementation, portfolio management, methodology development and deployment, and delivery team and vendor management. Jen is married and has two sons in college and two dogs. She is also an avid runner.

Presentation: People & Context: Key Differentiators of Outstanding Project Managers
by Marcelino Sanchez

A project team can walk away having come under budget, on schedule and deliver the work expected and the project can still fail. Why? Because organizations care about long-term adoption of the change and sustainable results (or capability), not just abou the triple constraint. Two key factors of success (or failure) is the ability to work with people inside and outside the team and the ability to understand and to manage the context within which the project is being implemented. Participants will walk away with specific ideas, tactics, and tools to be better influencers in complex situations where they often do not have direct authority to effect change.

Marcelino Sanchez, Managing Principal at Agile Change, is an Organizational Change practitioner, trainer, speaker, and coach. He advises large organizations in how to lead and implement change that lasts. Experience includes M&A, Lean transformations, restructuring, Lean/Six Sigma deployments, IT systems implementations, Union/Management partnerships, and employee engagement efforts, among others. He has coached change agents and leaders at all levels and trained hundreds of change practitioners in a variety of industries throughout in the Americas, Europe, and the Middle East. Clients include global organizations such as Superior Essex, Meggitt, Union Pacific, Hasbro, Delphi, Fidelity Investments, Safety-Kleen, Textron, Kawasaki, Flowserve, and Lafarge, among others. He resides in Rochester Hills with his wife Kelly and five children.



Presentation: Project Managers as Champions of Change

Caterina La Tona’s career spans more than 30 years, serving multiple industries and characterized by successive global roles, setting strategy and delivering cornerstone initiatives. She is now an advisor, focused on realizing business transformation with IT executives and teams. As HP Executive Director, Ms. La Tona led the global transition/transformation and program/project management (PPM) capability, driving predictability and repeatability. People and process development were prime goals. Ms. La Tona strengthened the PPM job family to reflect success profiles and implemented a single global method and lessons learned process. As Transformation Executive for the EDS Manufacturing, Industrial and Energy Industry Group, she drove business results with IT Executives through transformation advisory services and critical change initiatives. All facets of the business were affected, requiring strong leadership, integration and collaboration.

Former roles included global portfolio management, contract negotiations and global manufacturing/engineering function management. The breadth of Ms. La Tona’s experience positioned her to write and speak to diverse groups globally. Topics have included women in leadership, global project/program management, portfolio management, successful transition/transformation and management of change. She has traveled extensively, working with local teams, sharing knowledge and advancing objectives.

Ms. La Tona holds an honors bachelor of computer science degree from the University of Windsor and attended Thunderbird-American Graduate School of International Management program focused on managerial issues in the global enterprise. She is a founding member of the PMI Global Executive Council and has supported multiple PMI initiatives over the years. She has been a mentor for 12 years at EDS, HP and with the Michigan Council of Women in Technology. Ms. La Tona enjoys cross country skiing, hockey and travel.


Presentation: Today's Changing Risk Management Landscape: Facing the Challenge
by Jack Stein

Over the past decade the field of risk management has undergone significant change. The number of standards, regulations, guidelines and practices dealing with and supporting risk management has increased significantly. Risk management, in one form or another, is now commonplace in most all industries, and in most all professions. Variation in risk management terminology and practices is substantial and can be problematic. Frameworks for principles for risk management are established to facilitate integration and communication between diverse groups within and between organizations. Thus risk management, taken by itself, has become more complex and difficult.
This continually changing landscape, when combined with rapid advancements in technology and increasing complexity of the systems produced and used by our projects and programs, has made the job of risk management truly challenging. In 2011 the PMI-INCOSE-MIT Alliance was formed to explore how the practices of project/program management and systems engineering could be integrated and aligned toward achieving better project outcomes. Aspects of the Alliance address risk management.
This presentation provides attendees with an awareness and understanding of the current (new and dynamic) risk management landscape, and the challenges encountered as a result of increasing complexity and rapid change. Methods and approaches addressing the challenges are presented, followed by  participative Q & A.
The International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) is a not-for-profit membership organization, founded in 1990, to develop and disseminate the interdisciplinary principles and practices that enable the realization of successful systems.

Jack Stein is a member of the PMI-INCOSE-MIT Strategic Alliance Team and Co-Chair of the INCOSE Risk Management WG. He also serves as Assistant Director of the INCOSE Americas Sector North-Central Region, and is a past-President of the INCOSE Michigan Chapter. Mr. Stein has 30 years of experience in the  automotive and Medical Device industries, and more than 24 years of experience as a U.S. national technical expert in the development of a variety of industry standards (ISO, IEC, SAE, ZVEI). Jack is currently Project Editor for the upcoming 3rd Edition of ISO/IEC/IEEE 16085, “Systems and software engineering — Life cycle processes — Risk management,” and previously headed up the update of the Risk Management section of the INCOSE S.E. Handbook Version 4.0 and was INCOSE lead for the collaboration effort between the INCOSE Risk Management WG and the Project Management Institute (PMI) Risk
Management Community of Practice (CoP) in support of the INCOSE-PMI Strategic Alliance. Mr. Stein studied Systems, Reliability and Quality Engineering at the University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona under the Ford Motor Company Fellowship Award, and has BSEE and Bachelor of Commerce Degrees from the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Mr. Stein currently resides in Troy, MI with his wife Anne of 27 years. He has three daughters; Joplin, Dylann, and Lennon, ages 22, 23 and 25. Jack enjoys playing guitar and keyboards, sound recording, and outdoor activities such as cross country skiing and ice skating.

Presentation: Pitching for Change
by Barbara Boldt

Many professionals are familiar with giving business presentations that are primarily informative, but they may have less experience engaging the kind of communication that persuades people to take action or change behavior. In this 50 min. interactive presentation we will explore the kind of communication that supports initiatives for change. We will address the challenges involved in communicating about change, explore a form of communication that lends itself to persuasion, do a mini-deep dive into the telling of stories as a way of evoking emotion and touch on delivery techniques that exude credibility, passion and sincerity.

BARBARA A. BOLDT, M.A. is an international facilitator and executive coach specializing in global communication skills. Barbara, an American national, lived and worked in Europe for 19 years, 11 in Italy and eight in Switzerland. She repatriated to Michigan USA in late 2012. Ms. Boldt has coached hundreds of global managers to present effectively in English, enabling them to understand cultural differences in communication style that impact their ability to be clear and succinct in English. She also coaches entrepreneurs and business owners in how to create and deliver effective pitches. Using an interactive, skills-based, results-oriented methodology, she helps her clients to improve their ability to get their ideas noticed and obtain the business results they need.
Barbara’s gift is understanding what people want to say and helping them say it in a way that stays true to who they are. Ms. Boldt holds a B.A. in Nutrition from the University of Iowa and a M.A. in Intercultural Relations from University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.

Presentation: Basics of Machine Learning for Project Managers
by Kulveer Virk

As rightfully said, project managers are champions of change, last few years have shown how fast technology is changing and its reach is far and wide. With the availability and offerings of IT infrastructure to process huge amount of data at faster than ever speed, we can leverage incredible powers of technology in pattern recognition, prediction based on always changing parameters and offering insights from multiple data sources.

AI or ML has been compared to Thomas Edison’s harnesing of electricity by technology experts and is equated to 4 th industrial revolution. With availability of Big Data, computing power and algorithms, many problems could be solved. This presentation is based on the fact that businesses will adopt the technolgoy as faster pace, opening the door to solving problems and looking for talent that can contribute in this sector. Project managers need to know the basic conepts, terminology and resouces to sharpen the skills.

Kulveer Virk, PMP is an IT professional with 14 years as PM managing projects and programs in complex, Agile and time sensitive situations utilizing continuous improvement methods. He also serves as Board of Director on couple of boards. He is interested in learning about AI, ML, IoT and SmartCities.




Presentation: The Power Within: Emotional Intelligence, Feelings associated with met needs
Feelings and Needs Sheets
by Ines Meneses

Change sometimes may be experienced as painful, confusing, and unsettling. At other times it may be experienced as exciting, adventurous, and full of hope. The inner attitude of those leading the change is a critical component in determining to which side the scale will tip.
Project Managers are in a unique, privileged position to lead change by owning their power as Light Bearers. Just like a light house guiding ships through the dark night, Project Managers serve as reference points for all involved in and affected by the change. That role is also critical in managing up, so that top management are mindful of how their decisions impact others.
Consider Wayne Dyer’s adage “When you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.“ You have a lot more power than what you may think, starting with your inner world. Outer experience is a reflection of inner reality. So the quality of the relationship you have with yourself will show up in the change you are championing.
This dynamic and interactive session will include cases and research about human behavior and how subjective beliefs affect objective
Explore leading change in a way that is for the highest good of all involved - including yourself.

Ines Meneses has been inspiring growth and developing skills in others as a professional facilitator for the last 14 years and informally for the last 23 years. In every single job she had, as soon as she acquired some level of mastery, she would intuitively start training others and multiplying expertise. 

Ines has participated as a facilitator in the global roll out of leadership development for consulting companies such as Hemsley Fraser, Perform Globally, and Aperian Global, serving clients in diverse industries such as automotive, information technology, pharmaceutical, oil & gas, and healthcare.
Ines designs, pilots, delivers, and trains trainers in strengths-based, appreciative programs. She facilitates in English, Portuguese, and Spanish.
Prior to her facilitation career she worked as a global project manager for Motorola where she led simultaneously up to 12 information management projects, with teams spread throughout 10 countries and 9 time zones.
Ines holds an MBA with and emphasis on Information Management from University of Texas at Austin and a Bachelor’s from FGV, a Brazilian top business school. She has been PMP certified since 2004. She is also certified in Appreciative Inquiry by Case Western University, Spiritual Psychology by University of Santa Monica, and as Coach by Integrated Coaching Institute.

She is Brazilian and she has shared her life between Brazil and the US.

She holds a third degree black belt in Aikido, the Japanese martial art of harmony and balance. Currently she lives with her husband near some woods in metro Detroit.


Presentation: Leading Successful Change

We know change is inevitable - but do you know how to help your team, organization and stakeholders to prepare?  Billie Jean King once said “Champions keep playing until they get it right”.

Discover the tools, techniques and champion mindset needed to design and foster innovative, lasting, and transformational change within your organization.

April Callis-Birchmeier is a recognized Change Management expert, author and strategic consultant to organizations that are planning and implementing change.

As a Certified Change Management Professional she works with organizations such as the State of Michigan, Whirlpool and University of Michigan to prepare and support their people during process and technology change.

She has been featured in Time Magazine and The New York Times and her organization, Springboard Consulting is instrumental in driving change and thought leadership throughout the industry. 

April’s three daughters and three stepkids have created a Brady Bunch family and provide the M.O.M credential, of which she is most proud.

She lives in Lansing, Michigan with her husband, children and 12 chickens.