Meet our faculty of engineering business, HR, and IT professionals who regularly work with A/E firms.

For over 25 years, the Senior Executives Institute (SEI) program has turned effective executives into forward-thinking industry leaders. 

Only SEI focuses on business issues unique to managing and leading engineering companies.

Before you commit to this executive intensive, we know you'll have questions - here are a few answers that might help.

What past graduates say

SEI works. Since the program was created, we've sent over a dozen senior leaders through it. Today, the positive impact of SEI on our firm is unmistakable in our organization, profits, and long-term focus. The training in systems thinking paid dividends for me as a leader immediately. Just that one session helped us recover our firm's entire SEI investment within a year through increased operational profits.

Lee W. Slade

SEI Class V

The SEI program is about leadership rather than simple business management. When executives improve their personal knowledge, skills, business acumen, and awareness of their practice environment, their businesses thrive. SEI is an interactive, energetic, exploratory, and challenging learning experience. Its faculty uses a variety of practices and techniques, including lectures, group discussions and case study work, self-evaluation and individual work, discussions with industry leaders, and extensive reading on modern leadership and management topics.

Each SEI class is approximately 18 months, and starts each fall in Washington, DC. The curriculum is divided into five multi-day sessions, spaced several months apart. Each four- or five-day session includes preparatory reading, self-study, and in-depth discussions.

How long is the program?

What is the core aim of SEI?

Why are the sessions organized over 18 months?

The sessions are spaced several months apart to allow each session’s learning to be absorbed and applied by class members in the time between sessions, and to allow ample time to prepare for each upcoming session. Spreading out the sessions makes it easier for participants to plan their studies and helps prevent unnecessary disruption of participants’ businesses.

Lead Faculty

Rodney C. Hoffman is co-founder and CEO of S & H Consulting, a management consulting firm with expertise in leadership development, strategic planning, change management, and business development/marketing. He is a PE in Colorado and holds a BS in Construction Engineering and an MS in Geotechnical Engineering from Iowa State University. 

With more than 33 years of experience, Rod’s expertise ranges from designing small municipal projects to managing large, international airport design and construction work. Prior to starting S & H, Rod was a Senior Vice President with HDR and also served as the firm’s National Director of Strategic Planning & Acquisitions. Rod has served as Lead Faculty for SEI for many of his 17 years teaching in the program. He has served on the ACEC National Executive Committee as Senior Vice Chair, served on the National Planning Cabinet, is an ACEC Fellow, and is past Chair of the Business Resources & Education Committee. He is an active member of ACEC-Colorado, including service as President as well as chairing numerous committees.

Class 28 is full. 
Contact Katie Goodman at to join the waitlist.


© 2021 American Council of Engineering Companies. All rights reserved.

In five sessions over 18 months, SEI faculty incorporate lectures and interactions with prominent policymakers and public and private sector clients; group discussions and case-study work; self-evaluation and individual work; presentations and discussions with industry leaders; and extensive reading on cutting-edge leadership and management topics from the best contemporary thinkers.

Lastly, SEI executives build strong new peer networks from which to share new ideas and draw support. The benefit of these personal relationships, forged through hard work and intense self-examination, typically thrive for years beyond the last day of class.


Situational Leadership & Team Alignment
Forces of Change
Strategic Planning
Balanced Scorecard & Strategy Mapping
Systems Thinking
Organizational Design and Structure

SEI includes five sessions for a total of 21 days over a 24-month period. Class size is limited to 28 executives. 

The Changing Environment
Economic Trends
Public Policy
Global Practice
Leading a Living Company

Relationships and Communication
Productive Conflict
Stress Management
Personal Mastery

New Models for Professional Practice
Lean Thinking & Sustainability
Transformative Work and Profound Change
Team Learning & Dialogue
Scenario Planning & Information Technology

Creativity & Innovation
Partnering & Alliances
Power & Politics
Coaching and Mentoring
Transitioning from SEI to Practice

Session 5
5 Days

Boulder, Colorado

San Diego, California

Session 3
5 Days

Tampa/St. Pete,

Session 4
5 Days

Washington, DC


Session 2
5 Days

Session 1
6 Days

Geordie Aitken leads Aitken Leadership Group with his wife Magda and has taught the Personal Mastery and Leadership session of the Senior Executives Institute since 2003. Geordie is internationally recognized as an influential teacher, consultant and coach to A/E/C firms throughout the United States, Canada and overseas. With an educational background in humanistic psychology, applied rhetoric, and neuro-linguistic programming, Geordie’s specialty is personal development for application in dynamic group learning environments. Geordie is a master experience designer, optimizing classic learning formats — i.e. the ‘retreat’ — for transformative impact. For 16 years Geordie has focused his design and consulting efforts in the A/E/C industry, supporting his clients in leadership development, strategic culture development, and executive learning.

Barb Smith, Lead Designer, is President and co-founder of S & H Consulting. She has over 30 years of experience designing and presenting leadership development, strategic planning, change management, and organizational development meetings and programs, both as an internal practitioner and external consultant, for A/E/C firms and oil and gas, retail, telecommunications, construction and non-profits companies. Barb is an active member of the Association for Talent Development (ATD), where she has served as President for her local ATD chapter, and currently serves on the national ATD board as a National Advisor for Chapters. She is a member of the International Society of Performance Improvement (ISPI) and Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Barb holds a BS from Iowa State University and an MS from the University of Nebraska in Industrial/Organizational Psychology.

Laurie Dreyer is nationally recognized in the fields of human resources, recruitment and learning, having honed her craft at some of the leading A/E/C firms in the United States. She is a frequently featured speaker and trainer at industry conferences, including the American Institute of Architects (AIA), Equity by Design (EqxD), Association of AE Business Leaders (AEBL) and the American Council of Engineering Companies (ACEC). She holds a BA from the University of California, Berkeley.

Magda Dominik is a Management Consultant for Aitken Leadership Group and a Facilitator and Experience Designer for Ninja Training Inc. An expert in adult education, Magda integrates sophisticated curriculum design with seasoned facilitation skills. Magda crafts transformative development experiences with sustained results.



While much of the core curriculum remains relatively consistent, content is updated with each session and each class to reflect the changing world around us. Reading lists are also updated regularly to include fresh ideas and perspectives.

SEI graduates say that a major benefit of the SEI experience is the relationships they build with each other during the program. Participants realize they are not alone in the challenges they face both personally and professionally. Every SEI class has formed their own alumni group for support and to continue their lifelong learning process together. Each SEI class also typically maintains an active online group - such as LinkedIn or Facebook - where they can discuss ideas, share best practices, and seek advice/input from their SEI colleagues.

SEI’s credentialed and experienced program instructors are engineering business, HR, and IT professionals who regularly work with engineering and architectural firms. Faculty also includes experts from the Brookings Institution, a private non-profit organization devoted to nonpartisan research, education and publication in economics, government, foreign policy and the social sciences.

How often does the curriculum change? What about reading lists?

Who are the faculty?

What happens to the class after completing the program?

1015 15th Street NW, 8th Floor, 
Washington, DC 20005
Katie Goodman




SEI challenges executives to try new ways of thinking to boost success and enrich business relationships.

SEI is a place where peers become colleagues, and colleagues become lifelong friends and allies.

Alumni Community

Program Overview

Actionable Education

An SEI graduate shares his ACEC business management education experience.

Building an Industry of Excellence, One Leader at a Time

Blake Murillo, Psomas

An SEI graduate shares his ACEC business management education experience.

Learning is Paramount to Your Success


Senior Executives Institute

Class 28 is full. Contact Katie Goodman at to join the waitlist.


Senior Executives Institute

Class 27 is open for registration.
First session begins September 2021.

Bruce Bartolf brings a wealth of knowledge and experience built over a 25 year career in AEC IT, IT operations, consulting, and strategic leadership. As Principal and CTO of Gensler, Bruce built and managed the infrastructure of the largest design firm in the world while also engaging with clients in areas of workplace technology, change management, and IT operations. Currently consulting and mentoring future IT leaders, he has a BA and BS from Miami University, certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and NetApp, and awards from Microsoft and InfoWorld.

Doug McKeown has served as Board Chair at Woodard & Curran since 2009 and CEO from 2007 to 2020. He played active roles in operations, marketing, business development and governance to help Woodard & Curran grow from a firm of 80 people to over 1200 today. Under his leadership as CEO the firm tripled in size, built a national footprint, and expanded employee ownership while improving financial performance. Doug has been influential in raising awareness in the industry around diversity, equity and inclusion.  He serves on the Boards of several engineering companies and the Board for Mercy Northern Light Hospital in Portland, Maine. Doug is a graduate of the ACEC Senior Executive Institute (Class 12). He is also the Vice-Chair of nABLE, the National Advisory Board for Leadership in Engineering, an Advisory Board to the ACEC Research Institute. Doug has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from the University of Dayton and an MBA from Boston College.