The Association for the Capital Projects Engineering & Construction Community.

2018 Future Leader Update: Wednesday Session Speaker Lineup

July 2, 2018

The Wednesday Session Planning Committee has been working hard to bring an array of speakers for the Wednesday Session that are informative, relevant and engaging. Through a dedicated process of identifying qualified speakers, conducting interviews and voting on the best available speakers, we are proud to present the Wednesday Session speakers list:

  • Dr. Eric Jing Du, Assistant Professor, Department of Construction Science, Texas A&M University who will lead a discussion on the “Internet of Things”
  • Lionel Sosa, CEO,, who will lead a discussion on “Disrupting the Cycle of Generational Poverty”
  • Rod White, President, RW&Associates, LLC who will lead a discussion on “5 Key Areas of Leadership”
  • Jill Hickman, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, President, Jill Hickman Companies who will lead a discussion “Create a Workplace Culture that Retains and Engages the Best Employees”


Dr. Eric Jing Du

Dr. Eric Jing Du

Dr. Eric Jing Du is an assistant professor in the Department of Construction Science at Texas A&M University (TAMU). Before joining TAMU in 2015, he was a senior data analyst at Zachry industrial Inc in San Antonio, TX. He has 15 years of research and teaching experience in the areas of civil engineering, data science, and computer simulation. As an active researcher at TAMU, Dr.Du focuses on smart information technologies for the next generation infrastructure systems, and aims to tackle engineering problems of significance to industry and society. Dr. Du’s research has been funded by a variety of agencies, including National Science Foundation (NSF), US Department of Transportation (US DOT) and Fiatech. He is also the receiver of many scholarly awards, such as American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) best paper award. Dr.Du received his PhD degree in Construction Management from Michigan State University in 2012.

The Internet of Things (and How it Will Revolutionize Construction and Engineering)

An introduction to the basic concepts of Internet of Things (IoT), and its recent development in engineering and construction applications. Dr. Du will give examples of how IoT can be used to promote the productivity, safety and quality of capital projects from multiple perspectives. This presentation will envision the future of construction work and human-technology frontiers in the area of architecture, engineering and construction. This presentation will feature, a simple demo and an interactive group discussion with the audience.


Lionel Sosa

Lionel Sosa

Lionel Sosa is CEO of, a not-for-profit social enterprise. It is the first and only digital educational platform designed to transform the futures of families living in poverty. It brings the disciplines of research, communications, public education and digital technology together to deliver messages on smartphones that motivate students and their parents to set high educational expectations starting in grade one.

In an earlier life, Lionel founded Sosa Bromley Aguilar and Associates which became the largest Hispanic ad agency in the country serving Fortune 500 clients such as Coca Cola, Anheuser-Busch, Proctor & Gamble and American Airlines to name a few.

Sosa helped the University of the Incarnate Word increase enrollment from 1200 to its current level of nearly 11,000. Sosa served on the Board of Regents of The Texas A&M University System and the Boards of Sesame Workshop (creators of Sesame Street), ACT (American College Testing), PBS, the Public Broadcasting System and the Board of Trustees for the University of the Incarnate Word. He currently serves as an advisor to the president of Texas A&M San Antonio, is on the board of KIPP San Antonio and the Texas Aspires board of directors.

Lionel was named “One of the 25 most influential Hispanics in America” by Time Magazine. named him as one of the five people in the U.S. who are “The Keepers of the Latino Culture.” He was a fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics in 2001 and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree by the University of the Incarnate Word.

Disrupting the Cycle of Generational Poverty

A presentation and interactive discussion on what we can do to close the gaps between the educational and economic divides and how to increase prosperity in economically under-resourced communities. Lionel will discuss the potential for increasing prosperity based on increasing access to education and getting the entire family involved to make the whole family prosperous. The interactive discussion will be based around the topics of bridging the educational gap, scalable solutions, the use of technology and making outreach more effective.


Rod White

Rod White

Rod White is a Communications/Business Coach, Keynote Speaker, Sales Trainer and Author of "They Call Me Pops", and "Sales Secrets of The Left Eye" as well as the Best Selling book, “The Power of Networking – Putting All of the Pieces Together.” Through a 30-year career as a coach and trainer for sales professionals at the corporate level, Rod brings an immense amount of experience and enthusiasm to help organizations and individuals achieve their goals through improved performance.

Dubbed Rod “The Storyteller” White, he is the creator of The Power of Story Workshop… teaching participants how to use storytelling as a business strategy. Understanding the old adage, “Facts Tell but Stories Sell,” Rod helps clients to improve their effectiveness and production through storytelling.

5 Key Areas of Leadership

In this interactive presentation, Rod will cover leadership attributes, networking skills and story-telling style of communication and the power behind these principles. Be ready for a fun, interactive and hands-on presentation where you will not only learn but will be encouraged to immediately put Rod’s principles into action.


Jill Hickman

Jill Hickman

Celebrating 20 years in business, Jill Hickman is an experienced leader equipped to guide leadership development, implementation, and sustainability plans within organizations. Client success stories include creating and launching corporate universities, developing customized leadership curriculum, and providing group and individual coaching for leaders within global organizations as well as small, family businesses.

Jill is an honors graduate from the University of Texas, earning a BA degree in Psychology and a MA in Human Resource Management from the University of Houston. She is Past President of two Houston professional associations (Institute of Management Consultants and Association for Talent Development). She has been honored with the Outstanding Leadership alumni recognition from the University of Houston and named as Houston Business Journal’s top 40 professional women in business selected for its 2018 Mentoring Monday. Remaining an active member and volunteer in these and other professional, community, and service organizations, Jill demonstrates a powerful example of her belief in leadership’s responsibility to give back. She devotes her leisure time to family and friends, enjoys opportunities for travel, and nurtures her flower gardens whenever she’s home!

Create a Workplace Culture that Retains and Engages the Best Employees

In this presentation, Jill will identify why talent leaves and what leaders can do to ensure that they create cultures that encourage their people to stay. The presentation will include an interactive question and answer session, videos and take-home materials.