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Young Designers Professional Development Institute (YDPDI) / back to Programs page »

Enrollment information

The first YDPDI session begins March 23, 2016, and enrollment is now open. Please complete a copy of this registration form for each registrant. Scan/email to Sara Garber at, or mail to YDPDI, c/o BSA, 290 Congress Street, Suite 200, Boston, MA 02210.

March 2016–February 2017 Workshop Schedule

Workshops are scheduled from 2:00 to 6:00 pm and include an office tour and lunch.

March 23, 2016
Program Kickoff - Accelerating Your Career Development 
William Ronco, Ph.D, YDPDI Director
YDPDI Alumni

Challenges, opportunities and keys to design career success. Jump-starting your career progress. Clarifying goals, identifying your “career anchors” for long-term development. Starting now.

Location: Stantec, 311 Summer St. Boston

April 27, 2016
Mastering BIM, Lean, IPD
Chris Leary, Jacobs
Jennifer Heikennen, Tocci
Janet Chrisos, MSCBA
Nick Masci, Haley and Aldrich

Held jointly with the AGC Young Contractors Professional Institute.

New Technology, New Roles. Understanding, applying the most current tech tools. Defining BIM expectations, optimal use, change management. Performing optimally in Integrated Project Delivery. Using “IPD- Lite”

Location: Museum Of Plumbing, Watertown, MA

May 18, 2016
Improving Financial Management: Insights, Strategies and Skills
Mark Paronich, New Focus Consulting
James Bryson, TRO Jung|Brannen

Pitfalls, key indicators and best practices for managing your project finances. Beyond projects: understanding, contributing to your firm’s financial performance.

Location: TRO Jung|Brannen, Boston, MA

June 15, 2016
Improving Presentation Skills 
William Ronco, PhD, YDPDI director
Anastasia Vassos, WSP / Parsons Brinckerhoff

Clients and principals want young designers to present. Hands-on workshop increases confidence and builds skills. Learn to improve your materials, tell compelling stories and facilitate lively, productive discussion.

Location: EYP Architecture & Engineering, Boston, MA

July 14, 2016
Human Resources: Requirements, Pitfalls, Opportunities
Jess Smith, Bergmeyer
Shelley Kolesar, HR Consultant
Diana Hasan, CE Floyd

Knowing your HR legal rights, opportunities and Achilles heels. Understanding architects’ salary policies. Why, when and how to work with your firm’s HR manager.

Location: Bergmeyer Associates, Boston, MA

August 17, 2016
Improving Writing Skills 
William Ronco, Ph.D., YDPDI Director
Chris Floyd, CE Floyd Construction

Skills-building workshop improves your writing professionalism, efficiency and coherence and speed with emails, reports and proposals. How to write more persuasive emails. Why and how to get published.

Location: TBA

September 14, 2016
Professional Sales and Marketing Skills
Ed Bond, Bond Brothers
Margaret Neil, Consigli
Dana Kelly, Bruner Cott

Why, how to market to existing and new clients. Increasing your comfort and effectiveness with networking. Why, how to market to existing and new clients.

Location: Gilbane Construction, Boston, MA

October 19, 2016
Increasing Negotiations Skills
Mary Feeney, Esq., Bowditch & Dewey
David Hancock AIA, CBT Architects
Robert Douglas, Town of Andover

Held jointly with the AGC Young Contractors Professional Institute.

Recognizing your negotiations style, strengths, blind spots, weaknesses. Approaching negotiations objectively, pragmatically. Getting to – and beyond – Yes. Increasing your effectiveness achieving 1 + 1 = 3 results.

Location: CBT Architects, Boston, MA

ABX CONFERENCE 11/15/16–11/17/16

YDPDI participants can attend three ABX workshops free of charge.

December 7, 2016
What Clients Really Want
Douglas Noonan, Adidas-Reebok
Buzz Stapczynski, Town of Andover
Kim Plummer, Partners Health Care/ MGH
Ralph DeFlorio, Harvard University

Held jointly with the AGC Young Contractors Professional Institute.

Clients from four markets explain how contractors and architects do and don’t understand real priorities. Issues, opportunities, best practices. How much is enough? Increasing client satisfaction and repeat business.

Location: Reebok Global HQ, Canton, MA

January 11, 2017
From Manager To Leader
Roger Goldstein FAIA, Goody Clancy

Life after APM and PM. Increasing awareness and focus, clarifying personal vision, thinking more strategically. Increasing professional productivity.

Location: Goody Clancy, Boston, MA

February 15, 2017
Effective Architect /Contractor Teamwork
Marc Truant, Marc Truant Associates
George Takoudes, Martin Batt Architects
Kimberly Plummer, Partners Health Care

Held jointly with the AGC Young Contractors Professional Institute.

Understanding architect/ contractor differences; using differences as a resource. Improving meetings discussion and follow through. Building real teams.

Location: Payette Associates, Boston, MA

Program ROI, Features

Now in its 14th award-winning year, YDPDI is one of the best investments your firm can make in its success now. YDPDI pays for itself many times over in terms of your increased performance and productivity, improved focus and motivation, increased range of tasks you can take on, ability to manage existing work and win new projects.

Program features enhance learning, create lasting impact:

  • Small group environment fosters individual focus
  • Hands-on learning methods maximize understanding
  • Industry-leader instructors work directly with you
  • Monthly half-day seminars that fit your schedule
  • Schedule of monthly half-day seminars fits your schedule
  • Four joint sessions with the Associate General Contractors (AGC) Young Contractors Council build professional relationships (marked with an *)

YDPI Costs and Benchmarks

Fee for the 12-month program is an excellent and small investment for any firm to make in its employees and in its future:

  • Cost of two-day management seminars offered by traditional providers usually reaches $1,495. Such seminars are costly and lack the sustained continuity and networking the Institute provides.
  • The cost to a firm of turnover, often triggered by frustration with career development, is typically 1.5 times the person’s annual salary. Based on human resource organization bench-marks, this figure reflects losses of continuity and learning along with direct costs of search, interview and signing on
  • The cost to a firm of diminished productivity resulting from lack of skills = ?????

Benefits/Outcomes for Participants

Training and development are intangible, but they can produce very tangible results. Participants’ outcomes from participating in the program include:

  • Improved ability to add value in their firms
  • Increased skills taking on new, challenging tasks
  • Increased performance in areas that matter most for the firm’s performance
  • Improved ability to develop meaningful relationships with clients
  • Increased performance in marketing, business development, and networking
  • Development of essential skills (e.g., communicating, writing, presenting, managing projects, managing finances, marketing, managing CA and CD, etc.)
  • Acquisition of perspective resulting from interaction with peers from other firms, instructors, and interaction with contractors in the Young Contractors program
  • Increased insight and self-awareness resulting from work with personality profiles
  • Increased focus, job satisfaction, and motivation resulting from all the above

Benefits/Outcomes for Sponsoring Firms

Beyond the individual participants, it is also quite possible for sponsoring firms to benefit as organizations from participating in the program:

  • Enhanced retention and development of key talent
  • Increased marketing and business-development activity and success
  • Improved morale and firm spirit resulting from clear demonstration of the firm’s commitment to professional development for young designers
  • Increased understanding and improved working relationships across levels, departments, and groups in the firm
  • Acquisition of current ideas and a fresh perspective on best practices being developed by other firms and industry experts participating in the program
  • Improved employee alignment with the firm’s strategic plan
  • Raised expectations for job performance and productivity from program participants
  • Use of the program to strengthen the firm’s efforts at mentoring and coaching between senior managers and younger designers
  • Recognition of the firm as an excellent employer

Getting the Most From YDPDI: Memo From William Ronco, Institute Founder and Director

The YDPDI program in itself offers participants and their sponsoring firms extensive, important outcomes and benefits. Observing many firms’ experiences sending people to the program over the years, we observe several strategies that help firms and participants get the most from the what the program has to offer:

  1. Select participants on criteria important to the firm as well as the individual. We usually believe that the best participants in any program are the ones who really want to be there, and that premise has held for many YDPDI participants. Some firms actually hold contests to select their participants. However, some of our most enthusiastic participants have been selected by their firms and placed in the program as a way of communicating to the participant that the firm has high hopes and increasing expectations for the participant.
  2. Make it clear that program participants are expected to bring what they learn back to the firm. Firms have done this effectively in several ways, e.g. having program participants give a brief talk at an informal firm lunch meeting, having program participants discuss what they are learning as an agenda item in established firm meetings, having program participants conduct quarterly seminars.
  3. Establish a clear link between program participants and a senior manager or principal in the firm. We call these people “program mentors,” and copy them on all the program emails and updates we regularly send to program participants. Program mentors help participants connect program content to their everyday work and performance development. Ideally, program participants meet with mentors before each session to discuss what they should focus on, then again after the session to discuss what they learned and how best to bring it to the rest of the firm.
  4. Have participants designate four to six clear learning goals. Participants and the firm get more from the program when participants have clear learning and development goals they are using the program to address.
  5. If possible, enroll at least two participants in the program. (We try to encourage this with discount pricing for multiple registrants from a firm.) It is much easier for participants to apply what they learn if they get support from a peer.
  6. Designate a backup person for each participant. Even with the best planning, participants must occasionally miss a session due to project demands. When this happens it is very useful to have a backup already “on deck.”
  7. Encourage past participants to attend current sessions. Encourage all to attend Young Contractors sessions. We welcome past program participants to attend any current program session they may have missed when their own program was offered, or even to repeat a program they enjoyed. We also make all the Young Designers and Young Contractors sessions mutually open to both groups.
  8. Finally, please stay in touch with us. I am always interested in your questions, comments, and suggestions.

William Ronco, PhD, founded and directs the YDPDI program. Dr. Ronco consults to design, engineering, construction, and real estate organizations on strategy, partnering, and leadership. He wrote the Reports on Strategic Planning, Leadership and Partnering for the AIA Practice Manual Update.  A global partnering expert with more than 200 successful partnering projects, Dr. Ronco is the author of the Partnering Manual for Design and Construction (McGraw-Hill) and The Partnering Solution (Career Press). Dr. Ronco has run continuing-education programs for the Boston Architectural College and MIT, and taught at the Harvard Graduate School of Design.


Acknowledgement: The Institute was conceived in 1998 by George Takoudes AIA, then a young designer at Payette in Boston and chair of the BSA Membership Committee. Takoudes is a principal at isgenuity.