COAA Connect Fall 2021 | It’s All About The People

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Wednesday, November 17, 2021 to Friday, November 19, 2021
M Resort Spa Casino, 12300 Las Vegas Blvd. South, Henderson, NV 89044
* Registration open until 11/17/21 at 12:00 AM (EST)

Event Details

COAA’s fall conference in Henderson, NV (November 17-19) will be the organization’s first in-person national conference since November of 2019. The overriding theme of the event – “It’s All About The People” – speaks to that milestone and correlates well with The COAA Way and its emphasis on the importance of people, team culture, and leadership by a “good Owner.”

Value-packed sponsorship opportunities are available with a multitude of benefits to be realized before, during, and after the conference; golf, sessions, social media, conference app, and more!

Payment & Cancellation Policy


This document will continue to evolve and develop as content is finalized but offers a guideline for content structure and preliminary content. 

Download Schedule


Please make plans to visit with our exhibitors during the conference.





Join us Wednesday, November 17 before the conference kick-off for a golf scramble on the Concord course at the Revere Golf Club in Henderson, NV. We will have a continental breakfast, before teeing off at 7 am PST, followed by lunch at Revere. Shuttles to and from the golf course will be provided.

Opening/Kickoff and COAA News
COAA leaders will welcome attendees ... preview the 3-day conference ... and provide insight on the organization’s health and current initiatives.
Local Welcome
Clark County Commissioner Jim Gibson, a native Nevadan and 3-term Mayor of Henderson, welcomes attendees from the perspective of an active and award-winning community leader.

Session A Workshop
Small But Mighty Projects (Fewer Zeroes, More Headaches)
Anyone who’s managed a “small” or “minor” project knows that they can be just as challenging as a “major” project, sometimes more.  Regardless of how your organization defines “small/minor” ($500k and under, $1M and under, etc.), these projects often feature the same volume of tasks for the Owner’s PM, but with less time and fewer dollars.  And they’re often led by a PM burdened with too many projects to pay proper attention to any of them.

A 2020 COAA survey of Owners identified common challenges and pain points, but how can those be overcome?  Join us for an open discussion of a crucial topic for most serial-builder Owners and help contribute to a body of peer-to-peer knowledge, guidance, and tips & suggestions.  We’ll attack this by focusing on these aspects of small/minor project management:

  • Intake / Planning
  • Communication
  • Budgeting
  • Scheduling
  • Quality
  • PMIS / Software
  • Organization / Administration

Session B Workshop | Owners' Roundtable
Session description coming soon!

Session C Workshop | Professional Development Best Practices
Session description coming soon!

Join us for a quick & fun recap of the day’s key takeaways from the perspective of attendees, facilitators, and presenters.  If you were unable to attend a particular session or workshop, this is your chance to discover what you missed!

Opening Night Reception

Enjoy heavy hors d’oeuvres and beverages in a beautiful outdoor setting while meeting or catching up with other conference attendees.  COAA Connect! 


Breakfast & Awards

Enjoy a hot breakfast while these prestigious awards are presented:

  • The Emerging Professional Award for Excellence recognizes the COAA member aged 35 or younger who demonstrates outstanding service and strong leadership, exemplifies The COAA Way, and serves as an ambassador for Owner participation and education.

  • The Project Leadership Award recognizes Owners’ excellence in project delivery through professionalism, vision, integrity, team-building, communication, fairness, problem resolution, decision-making, and collaboration.


Let’s get busy learning!  Grab your seat for a preview of today’s content by the Chair of COAA’s Conference Committee.

Presenter: Ripple Intent
Session Title:
The Human Side of Capital Projects
Session Description:  
When assembling teams of consultants and contractors for our projects, how often do we pay attention to the people who will represent each organization beyond their resume?  In this interactive event, we’ll explore team-building through the engagement of people based on industry experience and the human experience.  Owners shouldn't hope for projects with great teams and teamwork when they can be intentional, created, and formed – if we first see people as people.  This shift in mindset allows us to build individuals and teams while we deliver projects.  The rewards include a reduction in stress and anxiety throughout the project delivery process while also improving the wellness of our teams.


Presenter: Benjamin Crosby
Session Title: 
Push and Pull:  Better Schedules, Better Projects
Session Description: 
If you want better and more reliable project schedules, the answers are CPM and Lean.  Coupling four-dimensional (4D), or even 5D, critical path method (CPM) scheduling with the Last Planner System® is a powerful way to beat the clock and achieve your schedule/completion goals.  The trick is knowing when and how to use these tools.  We will follow Simon Sinek’s advice and start with “why” ... that is ... why CPM, why 4D/5D, why LPS®?  We’ll then move into “how,” as in, how does project leadership advocate for or even require these tools on their project(s)?  We’ll then discuss “what” (needs to be done) and “when” (key things should happen).

Session Title:
Human Side Breakout 1 - Building Culture
Session Description: 
In this session, we will dive deeper into the experience of intentionally building culture within project teams.  Working in small and large groups, attendees will participate in exercises, conversations, and discussions that can be applied to their own projects.

Session Title: 
A Data-Centric Approach to Capital Program Management
Session Description: 
Our lives are increasingly intertwined with data, but what about your Project Management Information System (PMIS)?  You have likely invested a great deal of time and effort customizing it to fit your business needs, but what is it doing for you strategically?  The University of California San Diego (UCSD) recently embarked on a journey to transform their capital program to one that is data-centric.  This doesn’t happen overnight and is difficult because it impacts the culture of the organization.  Attendees will learn about the steps taken by UCSD to achieve their goals and see examples of how project data can be used manage the overall health and well-being of an overall capital building program

Session Title: 
Human Side Breakout 2 - The New Normal
Session Description: 
What did we learn over the past 18 months as COVID came and went, then came again?  Our work and our lives were turned upside down, and many of us began to engage and behave in different ways.  Rapid adoption of technology reminded us how important patience and grace are, and other cultural and business norms were dramatically impacted.  We’ll explore what we all experienced and learned ... consider what is now changing back (good and bad) ... and discuss what ought to be intentionally continued.

Lunch | Optional Thought Leadership Tables


Session Title: 
We're In The People Business
Session Description:
S. Truett Cathy, the founder of Chick-fil-A, famously said “We're not just in the chicken business, we're in the people business.”  That mindset pervades the company today, with a servant leadership approach that leans on encouragement and gratitude. 

This extends to the facilities development realm and led to Chick-fil-A’s “Care For Supers” program, which recognizes and celebrates the talented men and women who serve as project superintendents on Chick-fil-A projects.

Hear more about this program, servant leadership, and other Chick-fil-A initiatives that echo the belief that it really is ... all about the people.

Session Title: 
COAA Rapid Fire
Session Description: 
Coming Soon

Session Title: 
Turn Down That Music ... and Other Tips From Well-Seasoned Owners
Session Description: 
A panel of seasoned industry professionals will share their thoughts – and field questions – on professional development, critical skills, leadership, career advancement, lessons learned, and other topics of interest to emerging professionals.

Session Title:
The Story of Allegiant Stadium: Home of the Raiders
Session Description:  
"It's About The People" is a perfect caption for the creation of Allegiant Stadium, a $1.97B, 1.8 million SF facility that serves as home for the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders and is the newest landmark on the Las Vegas strip.

From notice to proceed to substantial completion, Allegiant Stadium is one of the fastest modern NFL venues ever built.  People – from more than 200 firms – were at the core of this successful project, highlighted by early engagement of folks with unmatched sports facility experience and the establishment of a “can do” project culture.  Those people and that culture overcame a myriad of challenges, including the warp speed schedule, global tariff wars, and Acts of God like record rainfalls and COVID.

How?  By treating problems as character-building opportunities and leaning into adversity instead of searching for ways around it.  Technology – especially digital modeling – played an important role in helping to maximize efficiency, while also driving collaboration and trust.  The emphasis on culture, people, planning, and technology also led to impressive safety and community engagement results in a market not known for either.

Join us for a quick & fun recap of the day’s key takeaways from the perspective of attendees, facilitators, and presenters.  If you were unable to attend a particular session or workshop, this is your chance to discover what you missed!

Evening Reception

Ah ... fresh air!  COAA Connect outdoors with tasty food & drink while reflecting on the day’s sessions with fellow attendees.


Session Title:
Construction Workforce Diversity: How Owners Can Make A Difference
Session Description:  
It’s one thing to talk a good game about diversity & inclusion, but if the construction industry is to make tangible and permanent gains, the tone-setting bill-payers will have to do their part.  That’s you, Owners.  Hear from three experienced pros – a large Owner and workforce leaders from a major trade contractor – about real steps forward, including non-traditional recruiting & development and the impact Owners can make with selection criteria, policies & requirements, and incentives.

Session Title: 
The Human Element of the Workforce
Session Description: 
Coming Soon

Session Title: 
Home Away From Home In Boise
Session Description: 

Most people have heard of the Ronald McDonald House (RMH) and understand that it supports the families of seriously ill or injured children.  But how much do you know about their process for building new or expanding existing facilities, especially given that each RMH operates independently and doesn’t build or renovate very often? 
Two key players in the recent 47,000 SF expansion of the RMH in Boise (ID) will explain the project’s “why” and review key scope/schedule/budget goals before diving deeper into aspects most critical and applicable to any Owner and any project:
  • Successes and failures
  • The importance of true collaboration
  • The impact of existing and new relationships and associated trust

Owners’ Roundtable

Always one of the highest-rated sessions at each COAA conference, this unstructured discussion allows for professional-to-professional sharing of challenges, best practices, and lessons learned.

No programming.  Just eat and chat!

Tour | Carpenters International Training Center

The Carpenters International Training Center (ITC) was created by the United Brotherhood of Carpenters (UBC) to develop and improve the skills of UBC members.  The ITC isn’t a single shop ... it’s a 27-acre campus with more than a million square feet of space that includes guest accommodations, shops, large-scale conference spaces, 70 classrooms, a fitness center, and state-of-the-art training areas.  The ITC is also where trainers from 250 centers around North America come to be trained themselves.