2018 Spring Owners Leadership Conference | Omni William Penn | Pittsburgh, PA | May 9-11, 2018

2018 Spring Owners Leadership Conference


Who attended: Owners involved in the planning, design, and construction process; architects, consultants, engineers, and contractors.

Official Conference Hashtag:

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Thursday, May 10, 2018 7:15 am - 6:45 pm
Friday, May 11, 2018 7:15 am - 1:45 pm
COAA has applied for AIA CEUs for all educational sessions.

Convince Your Boss

Do you need help making the case to your boss for conference attendance? Use this letter. A PDF of the agenda is available here.

View photos of our 2017 Fall Owners Leadership Conference.
Take a look at the below video to hear about the COAA Owners Leadership Conference experience.



Joe Powell

Institute for Healthcare Infrastructure Research

Joe M. Powell is the Executive Director of the Institute for Healthcare Infrastructure Research, a program of the University Research Institute in Washington, DC.

Gifton Passley

Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission

Gifton Passley is the Assistant Director of Construction Services for the Georgia State Financing and Investment Commission.

Don Guckert

University of Iowa and APPA

Don Guckert is associate vice president for Facilities Management at the University of Iowa, dean and faculty member for APPA’s Institute for Facilities Management, and currently serves as APPA’s President-Elect.

Jake Smithwick

University of North Carolina at Charlotte

Dr. Jake Smithwick is a researcher and educator in construction project delivery and facility management at the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.

Mel Blount

Pittsburgh Steelers (retired)

Mel Blount is a four-time Super Bowl Champion and a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee.

Richard Piacentini

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Richard Piacentini is the executive director of the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

Jason Wirick

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Jason Wirick is director of facilities and sustainability at the Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

Meghan Scanlon

Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens

Meghan Scanlon is wellness and sustainability specialist at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens.

Steve Harrison

University of Washington

Steve Harrison is a civil engineer by license and a project manager in practice with the Major Projects Group in Capital Planning and Development at the University of Washington since 2008.

Camila Rivera-Tinsley

Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy

Camila Rivera-Tinsley serves as Director of Education for the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy and Director of the Frick Environmental Center.

Allison Muth

Texas Children's Hospital

Allison Muth is director of facilities planning & development for Texas Children’s Hospital.

Jack Mumma

Michigan State University

Jack Mumma is Construction Contract Administrator at Michigan State University.

Gina Casalinova

Cleveland Clinic

Gina Casalinova is an Owner's Representative with Cleveland Clinic.

Jared Doxey

Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Jared Doxey is the director of domestic construction projects for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Vern Davis

Penn State University

Vern Davis is a contractor liaison for Penn State University.

Jeff Nobers

Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania

Jeff Nobers is executive director of the Builders Guild of Western Pennsylvania.



Information Exchange / Transition to Operations (Approved for 2.75 LUs|HSW)

09-May-2018 , 8:45 AM - 11:30 AM

BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND: Open to everyone – but especially geared to Owners who are using BIM platforms to capture and hand off relevant building, systems, and equipment data (or would like to do so) – this moderated discussion focuses on improving the transition from construction to operations, a central concern of most Owners.


Who is Going to Build the Future? The Conversation Continues (Approved for 1.25 AIA LU)

09-May-2018 , 10:15 AM - 11:30 AM

As discussed at previous COAA conferences, the workforce challenge continues to demand solutions.


Conference Welcome

09-May-2018 , 1:00 PM - 1:30 PM

Join us for the National Anthem performed by Jeff Jimerson, national anthem singer for the Pittsburgh Penguins for over two decades, a local welcome from Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto, and remarks by COAA President Gwen Glattes.


What Happens After the Ribbon-Cutting? Why Early and Continuous O&M Staff Engagement Matters (Approved for 1 AIA LU)

09-May-2018 , 1:30 PM - 2:30 PM

Alternative project delivery, BIM, IPD, Lean, sustainability. These and other progressive tools are great, but will the fabulous building or renovation you’ve just created still be meeting expectations and needs in 10 years?


Who’s Paying For That? (Approved for 1 AIA LU)

09-May-2018 , 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Throughout the life cycle of a project, there will be countless surprises … most of which will cost someone money. How much time and energy do you waste on a project arguing over which “bucket” should fund the solution?


COAA 101: How COAA Can Make You Smarter, More Attractive, and Possibly Cure the Common Cold

09-May-2018 , 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

Whether this is your first national COAA conference or not, you might have questions about the organization and its purpose.


Mel Blount: A Legacy of Leadership (Approved for 1 AIA LU)

10-May-2018 , 8:30 AM - 9:30 AM

Former Pittsburgh Steeler Mel Blount is a four-time Super Bowl Champion and a Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee.


Progressive Design/Build: Best Practices for Maximizing Value & Collaboration (Approved for 1 LU|HSW)

10-May-2018 , 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

The University of Washington employed a qualifications-based selection process to select a Design/Build team for a $44M utility plant and was thrilled with the results.


Prefabrication: Lessons from the Yale Science Building (Approved 1 LU|HSW)

10-May-2018 , 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

The Yale Science Building, which is slated for completion in late 2019, is a multidisciplinary teaching and research facility that will create a community for scientists and promote faculty/student interaction and collaboration.


Lean Yes But Leadership, Too (Approved for 1 AIA LU)

10-May-2018 , 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Cleveland Clinic’s Family Health Center (FHC) in Lakewood, Ohio, is designed to sustain community health and wellness by providing accessible, efficient, and immediate care.


Improving the Selection Process: Five Things You Can Do TODAY (Approved for 1 AIA LU)

10-May-2018 , 1:15 PM - 2:15 PM

Selecting the right design and construction partners is inarguably one of the most critical aspects of successful project delivery, but how good is your process and when’s the last time you took a hard look at it?


A Comprehensive Strategy to Optimize Project Value (Approved for 1 LU|HSW)

10-May-2018 , 2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

Optimizing project value requires tight integration of building systems, processes, organizations, and information.


Collaborative Approach to a Living Building (Approved for 1 LU|HSW)

10-May-2018 , 2:45 PM - 3:45 PM

The Frick Environmental Center (FEC) in Pittsburgh opened in September 2016 as the world’s first free and open-to-the-public Living Building Challenge facility after a multi-year design and construction process.


Provo Temple Rises from the Ashes (Approved for 1 LU|HSW)

10-May-2018 , 4:00 PM - 5:00 PM

It took 15 years (1883-1898) for pioneer craftsman to complete a Mormon tabernacle in Provo, Utah, but only a few hours for fire to destroy it in December of 2010.


Be Kind, Be Truthful, Be Brave: Secrets to a Century-Plus Owner Constructor Partnership (Approved for 1 AIA LU)

11-May-2018 , 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

There aren’t many owner-constructor relationships that last more than a century, but Michigan State University and the Christman Company have been working together since 1908.


Getting the Green Building You Want (Approved for 1 LU|HSW)

11-May-2018 , 9:45 AM - 10:45 AM

Many Owners start with good intentions to build a green building, yet often fail to meet their own high expectations … or fail to define those expectations to begin with.


The Construction Market: Where Is It Headed and What Can We Do About It? (Approved for 1 AIA LU)

11-May-2018 , 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Almost all market sectors in all areas of the country have suffered from post-recession labor shortages, fewer bidders, and rising prices across most trades. What does the future hold and what can we do to position ourselves for success?
Full Agenda