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SMPS Headquarters
625 North Washington Street
Suite 302 Alexandria, VA 22314-1936
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michael-geary-ceo.jpg
About the CEO
Michael V. Geary, CAE
Michael V. Geary, CAE is chief executive officer of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) and the SMPS Foundation.
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Contact MIchael at 703.549.6117, x221, or michael@smps.org
CEO’s Message
Perseverance and Innovation: SMPS Turns 50
michael-geary-ceo.jpg
About the CEO
Michael V. Geary, CAE
Michael V. Geary, CAE is chief executive officer of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS) and the SMPS Foundation.
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Contact Michael at at 703.549.6117, x221, or michael@smps.org
Ihave been privileged to be several organizations' chief executive when they commemorated milestones in their history. It is a joy to celebrate with the members the history and impact of their organizations, and this year I am lucky to be part of SMPS when we celebrate its golden anniversary.
In the ever-evolving design and construction industry, one organization has played a pivotal role in shaping the professional landscape for half a century. As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of SMPS, it is important to acknowledge the visionary founders and reflect upon the challenges they encountered during the organization's inception in 1973. Through perseverance and innovation, SMPS has become an influential force, empowering marketing and other professionals in the A/E/C industries.
SMPS owes its existence to the dedication and foresight of five remarkable individuals. In 1973, Janet Goodman Aubry, Pete Moffett, Lou Zickler, Weld Coxe, and Andy Zinsmeyer were essentially strangers to each other and serving as business development professionals for their architecture firms. They were attending an AIA national conference, and Weld asked the group of people attending a presentation a simple question, “Anyone want to get together later to talk about marketing?”
There is more to the story, of course, but over several months they held meetings and decided to create an organization that would bridge the gap between marketing and the A/E/C industries. Their shared vision, determination, and passion for marketing excellence laid the foundation for our organization. In 1974, the Society for Marketing Professional Services was formally incorporated.
At that time, marketing in the A/E/C sector was an underdeveloped discipline, often overlooked or considered an afterthought. In fact, marketing or promotion was considered unethical and/or prohibited by some of the leading professional organizations. Capturing new business was conducted through traditional business development activities, and convincing industry professionals to embrace marketing practices and recognize its value required a concerted effort.
Moreover, “marketing” wasn’t really a thing until SMPS was organized, and our early members began to develop concepts and strategies that evolved into what we now refer to as “professional services marketing.” The founders, early leaders, and members had to create a platform for professionals to exchange ideas, share best practices, and advance their skills. Overcoming these obstacles required dedication and a strong belief in the transformative power of marketing. How we are organized and service our members today wasn’t a consideration at the time.
Fast forward to the present day, and SMPS has flourished beyond the founders' wildest dreams. With nearly 7,500 members and 68 chapters throughout the United States and Canada, our organization is the premier community for professionals responsible for capturing and retaining clients. We’re more than just marketing professionals. The SMPS community includes professionals focused on business development, firm leaders, HR specialists, and students.
SMPS has played a significant role in elevating the status of marketing within the A/E/C industries. By promoting best practices, providing professional development opportunities, and fostering a collaborative community, SMPS has helped professionals demonstrate the value of marketing and secure their rightful place as strategic partners in their firms.
As we celebrate the 50th anniversary, SMPS is a testament to the power of collective vision, determination, and adaptation. The organization continues to evolve, staying at the forefront of marketing trends and technologies, ensuring its members have the tools and knowledge to excel in their roles.
In the coming years, SMPS will undoubtedly face new challenges as the industry's landscape continues to shift and transform. However, with a legacy of overcoming obstacles and a vibrant community of passionate professionals, the Society for Marketing Professional Services is poised to confidently navigate the future and continue its mission to engage, inspire, and empower A/E/C professionals for leadership and lifelong learning.
And it all started with five folks who thought, “There’s got to be a better way.”