The Association for the Capital Projects Engineering & Construction Community.

Future Leaders Blog


Don't lose sight of what's important. Stay focused on the latest news, insights, and events that keep our future industry thought-leaders at the top of their game.

June 4, 2019

ECC’s Future Leaders Set Sights High for 2019

The Future Leader program is an exclusive benefit offered to ECC sponsor companies that provides up to three years of networking and professional development opportunities to emerging industry leaders (you can read more about it here).  Started in 2005, the Future Leader program has grown into an integral part of the ECC Association, as demonstrated in the chart below, which shows participation in the Future Leaders two key events each year.


August 30, 2018

#FLASHBACKFRIDAY – Future Leaders Look at the 2010s and Beyond

The Future Leaders have covered significant ground in the Flashback Friday Blog Series, and we wrap up the effort this week with a bit of a “Look Forward” focus. This year’s conference theme, The Next 50 Years: Capturing Transformational Possibilities, has provoked quite a bit of reminiscing of how much has changed over the past five decades. 


August 24, 2018

#FLASHBACKFRIDAY – Future Leaders Look Back on the 2000s

Join the ECC Future Leaders as we continue our journey through the last five decades of ECC. This marks week four of the Flashback Friday Series where we will take on the 2000s. For many of the Future Leaders, this was the decade that we became “kind of a big deal” and we had the Razor flip phone, iPods and Myspace pages to prove it.


August 17, 2018

#FLASHBACKFRIDAY – Future Leaders Look Back on the 1990s

Join the ECC Future Leaders as we continue our journey through the last five decades of ECC. Last week, we looked back at the 1980s - a decade marked with technological advancements. This week, we are excited to discuss the 1990s, a decade that brought us changes on a global stage with both political and business implications.


August 10, 2018

#FLASHBACKFRIDAY – Future Leaders Look Back on the 1980s

Join the ECC Future Leaders as we continue to look back on five decades of ECC, one week at a time. Each post will feature a brief interview with industry leaders who were active during those decades. Last week, we looked back at the 1970’s, and this week, we are excited to discuss the decade that brought us big hair, big phones, pastel suits, shoulder pads, and Pac Man.


August 3, 2018

#FLASHBACKFRIDAY – Future Leaders Look Back on the 1970s

As we approach the ECC Annual Conference, we are reflecting on the magnitude of reaching the 50th Anniversary of the ECC Conference. The Future Leaders Communications Team seeks to help the ECC community reflect on the significant events that have impacted our industry over the past five decades, and to do this, we will leverage perspectives from industry leaders who have pioneered the way to today.


July 23, 2018

2018 Future Leader Update: Breakout Forum Teams

One of the most impactful ways that the Future Leaders contribute to the ECC Annual Conference is through the Future Leader Forum Committee efforts. The process begins several months before the conference with the assigning of committee leads from the Future Leader community.


July 16, 2018

2018 Future Leader Update: Safety Committee

The Safety Committee is focused on raising awareness of safety issues & concerns during the Future Leader meetings as well as the Annual Event. But what does that mean? It means during the mid-year meeting we tried something new: using to ask questions about previous year’s impact of the safety committee during the Wednesday session & Annual Event.


July 2, 2018

2018 Future Leader Update: Wednesday Session Speaker Lineup

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.


June 22, 2018

2018 Future Leader Update: Networking Committee

The Networking Committee has always been driven towards finding ways to bring our Future Leaders together in fun and rewarding ways and this year is no exception! 


August 30, 2017

ECC Summer Social

The ECC Summer Social was held on the evening of July 12, 2017, at Top Golf in West Houston. By all measures, it was a big success with record attendance making the event a great way to reconnect with Future Leaders past and present along with ECC Board Members.


August 24, 2017

Driving Competitiveness

The energy industry is under a shift from a focus on large multi-year mega-projects into a new world where programs of Small Capital Projects are increasing in strategic importance. These projects don’t always make the top of the company home page, but are increasingly vital to a company’s bottom line in the low oil environment.


August 22, 2017

2017 Wednesday Session Planning Team

The Wednesday Session Planning team has been extremely busy since the Future Leaders Mid-Year Meeting in March. If you’re unfamiliar with our team, allow us to give you a little background: The Wednesday Session is the invitation only event for Future Leaders that occurs the day before the annual ECC Conference.


August 18, 2017

You Get Out Of It What You Put Into It

"You get out of it what you put into it."

The quote above was what stood out to me at my first Future Leader event. Like most others, I received the email from my sponsor company letting me know that I had been selected to be their current year, 2016 for myself, representative for ECC Future Leader Program.


August 16, 2017

ECC Future Leader Program Demystified

Most industries have a trade association that produces industry events. The engineering and construction industry, however, represented by the ECC organization, directly taps its companies and people to self-produce a world-class annual conference.


August 10, 2016

2016 ECC Speaker: Luke Williams

Join us after lunch on Day 2 to hear Luke Williams talk about “Disruptive Thinking: Fostering a Culture of Game-Changing Leadership”.

Luke Williams


August 10, 2016

2016 ECC Speaker: Scott Snook

Continuing with our ECC Speaker series, Day 2 begins with a Keynote from Scott Snook on “Driving Leadership”.

Scott Snook


July 27, 2016

2016 ECC Speaker: Don Vardeman

ECC Executive Interview Series: An interview with Don Vardeman, retired VP of Anadarko, and former recipient of the ECC Achievement Award.

Don’s leadership in project management at Anadarko was a key contributor to their ranking as the Industry leader in project execution excellence. This interview will focus on Don’s “secret” for delivering best-in-class performance, as well as developing the next generation of Project Managers at Anadarko.

Don Vardeman


July 13, 2016

2016 ECC Speaker: Dr. Mahzarin R. Banaji

Our third speaker at this year’s conference will be Dr. Mahzarin R. Banaji.

Mahzarin Banaji


July 6, 2016

2016 ECC Speaker: Lorenzo Simonelli

Our second speaker at this year’s ECC Conference is Lorenzo Simonelli.


July 6, 2016

2016 ECC Speaker: Parag Khanna

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be highlighting the Speakers for this year’s ECC Conference.


May 31, 2016

Safety Team

By Phil Hoener and Rahim Ghassemi

The Safety Team’s mission is to provide Safety Awareness during the Annual Conference. We also support the Midyear, Wednesday Session, and Networking Teams in providing safe activities and events throughout the year.


May 13, 2016

Wednesday Session Planning Team

After an exciting Future Leaders mid-year meeting, the Wednesday Session Planning Team has begun planning the itinerary for the day preceding the open portion of the ECC Conference. The Wednesday session of the conference is specifically for Future Leaders and is an opportunity to network in a smaller group setting before the conference. There are always motivating and engaging speakers and networking activities to benefit Future Leaders both on a professional and personal level.


August 31, 2015

2015 ECC – Conference Thoughts from Board Member Stephen Buras

By Stephen Duda, ECC Future Leaders

Future Leaders take note – the 47th annual conference is right around the corner! We wanted to share with you some perspectives from our ECC Board as we look forward to the conference. We were honored to hear from Board Member Stephen Buras, as he shares with us about the conference.


August 18, 2015

2015 ECC – Conference Thoughts from Chair Mahesh Thadhani

 By Mark Lambert, ECC Future Leaders

Future Leaders take note – the 47th annual conference is right around the corner! We wanted to share with you some perspectives from our ECC Board as we look forward to the conference. We were honored to hear from Chair Mahesh Thadhani, as he shared his thoughts on the conference.


July 30, 2015

2015 ECC Future Leaders Mid-Year Meeting

By Brian Davis, ECC Liason Serving this year as one of the ECC Future Leader Liaisons and having been involved for 4 years with the Future Leader program, I find myself blessed with many new acquaintances and friends.


July 9, 2015

Wednesday Session Planning Team Update

By Mark Lambert and Gray Slocum, ECC Future Leaders

Future Leaders take note – work is underway by the Wednesday Session Planning Team! You will want to attend and participate in the Wednesday session at the conference on September 9, 2015 in San Antonio. There are always great speakers and opportunities to meet other Future Leaders in a smaller group setting before the conference. The Wednesday Session Planning Team is tasked with the preparation and execution of the itinerary for the entire day—preceding the open portion of the ECC Conference—specifically for Future Leaders. The planning team has put together a draft of the agenda, which includes several networking sessions. In addition, several of these sessions are filled with external speakers. The speakers will be engaging and knowledgeable on a topic that fits the conference’s theme—Complexity, Ambiguity, and Volatility.


July 7, 2015

Submit Your Safety Video Today

By the Safety Team

The Safety Team is once again producing videos with comments about Safety and what it means to each of us. One fantastic addition this year is that we would like you to help us source these videos using your own device and with people that you know and love. How exciting would it be for some of us to have our kids record a video on what safety means to them and how important it is that at the end of the day you come home safe? A Consent Waiver is required for those who wish to participate. The videos were a huge success last year and we look forward to greater things this year!


June 24, 2015

Embrace the #2 Pencil

By J.D. Slaughter, ECC Executive Advisory Committee

It still amazes me how fast technology changes. Improvements seem to be happening constantly. It has been said the only things certain in this world are death, taxes and an inconvenient software update. Our industry is not immune to this, of course. The programs we use are in a constant state of improvement. By the time we get the latest version of PowerPoint or a Pipe Design platform figured out it changes “for the better”. And I often wonder, have things really improved?


June 2, 2015

Forum 2 — Military Tech Meets Today’s Industry

By James Edwards, ECC Future Leader We’re looking forward to ECC Conference 2015!! The Forum 2 team has been busy since the mid-year. We have been asked to present the topic of “Military Tech Meets Today’s Industry”. I can’t begin …


May 19, 2015

2015 ECC Future Leaders Mid-Year Meeting 1

By Mark Lambert, ECC Future Leader

Greetings! The ECC Future Leaders mid-year meeting was a great success! The sessions began on Wednesday March 4th with the welcome reception. This was a great chance to network, meet first year Future Leaders.


May 5, 2015

1st Year ECC Future Leader

By Stephen Duda, 1st Year ECC Future Leader

Pleasantly Surprised! Is how I felt at my first Mid-Year meeting. I have only been exposed to trade shows in the past and did not know what to expect when I arrived in Houston. I had a great time at the Welcome Reception networking and meeting professionals from various businesses and disciplines. I also ran into some past co-workers that I have not seen in years!


May 28, 2014

So once we get them... how do we keep them?

The Mystery of Employee Retention – Beyond Compensation

By Angelle Adams, ECC Future Leader

I have heard it said lately that whoever has the people will get the work. Working feverishly to recruit top talent is always a priority, and it certainly makes my Business Development gig a lot easier with an org chart loaded with rock stars.


April 28, 2014

Brilliant Failure

By Steve Kent, ECC Future Leader

Steve Kent
Future Business Development Executive…in motion, and a continual product of Brilliant Failure.

Of the many interests that I engage in to balance life, I often entertain this idea of writing a book. My mind jumps from topic to topic. I get caught up in an expansive list of my ‘brilliant’ ideas…those that I think others would actually read and benefit from. I’m convinced, at least for a moment, that


March 26, 2014

Why Relationships Matter Most in the Energy Industry

By Philip Larkin, ECC Future Leader

Like many industries, the energy industry is one where the strongest relationships are based on trust and mutual respect. Confidence in delivering the job comes first and foremost, but we also choose to work with companies we like. The development of key relationships with


February 20, 2014

Revisiting Stages of Team Development

Laurie Giner, ECC Future Leader

It was 1965 when Bruce Tuckman coined the four stages of team development. He called the stages Forming, Storming, Norming, and Performing. You may or may not have discovered these stages. They apply to both business and social activities. I try to refresh myself whenever I know about scheduled group activity.


August 22, 2013

Safety Leadership

By Quentin Smith, ECC Future Leader

As ECC Future Leaders, we actively participate in organizing a portion of the conference content. This is a great opportunity to contribute to a successful conference and also to establish some meaningful networking connections with fellow future leader team mates. One of the Future Leader Committees this year is the Safety Committee.


August 15, 2013

Start Late. Finish Early.

By Tim Rowe, ECC Executive Board of Directors Member

A former manager and mentor of mine used to say about executing projects, “you should start late in order to finish early”. On the surface that sounds like very strange advice, but as I have progressed in my career, I have grown to really appreciate the meaning behind this statement.


July 11, 2013

A Bit of Advice…Notes for the Ambitious

By Stephen Buras, ECC Future Leader

A colleague recently asked if I had any advice on what he could do to improve his chances of becoming an Engineering Manager. This made me ponder what has worked for me over the years. So here is my answer.


June 27, 2013

Intentional Team Work Makes the Dream Work

By Laurie Giner, ECC Future Leader

“Teamwork makes the dream work” ~John Maxwell

Last week, I returned home from the most important team leadership experience of my life so far. I was able to tour an iconic building with a Project Manager that clearly has “intentionality” wrapped around his little finger. His intentionality affected


June 5, 2013

Future Leaders at Any Age

By Melissa Tompkins, ECC Future Leader

Have any of you recently been to a Boy Scout, Cub Scout or Girl Scout bridging ceremony? I have, and I have to say that there are some really key


April 26, 2013

Secrets Revealed! - ECC Future Leaders 'Communication and Social Media Team' tells all !!

By: Paul Cleary, P.Eng, PE, ECC Future Leader

What’s the secret to an even more successful ECC conference?

Your skunk works ECC Future Leaders ‘Communication and Social Media Team’ is going to spill the beans on what we’re planning.


September 19, 2012

Relationships: A Crucial Element to Success

By Michael R. Carlson, P.E., ECC Future Leader

Whether it is with our family, friends, coworkers, our suppliers of goods, materials, and/or services, our business partners, or our customers, all of us are engaged in relationships. When it comes to


September 10, 2012

We All Hope for the Best, But Are We Prepared for the Worst?

By Eric K. Rodriguez, P.E., ECC Future Leader

Think about the project you are currently working on or planning. Now, think about what could go wrong. Is this the first time you have thought about the potential setbacks you could encounter? Have you


August 27, 2012

While at the Conference, Give Feedback!

By Shannon Johnson, ECC Future Leader

It’s hard to believe that the 44th Annual ECC Conference is just around the corner. I’m excited to be there, to connect and reconnect with you, to learn trends and new things during the forums and plenary


August 7, 2012

Foreign Assignments: Yours or Your Family’s?

By Lisa Nash, Future Leader Liaison

Early in my career, working in manufacturing in Montreal, my supervisor called me into his office out of the blue to say that I was being offered a job in Germany. I was incredibly excited. My first foreign assignment with this company – for a really important, high profile project for our business! I couldn’t quell my enthusiasm and immediately called my husband, a production manager at another company and told him about this exciting opportunity for us to live in Europe.


July 23, 2012

What Makes a Leader?

By Stephen Buras, ECC Future Leader

What makes a leader? In my experience, I’ve had the pleasure of working under a few individuals who were not just talented engineers, but also excellent mentors and exemplary leaders. The greatest


July 11, 2012

Parenting Can Give You Practice as a Leader

By Justin Sherfy, ECC Future Leader

You don’t have to be a parent to be a good leader, but if done correctly, parenting is a good platform to develop your character.


July 2, 2012

Traveling This Week?

By Karen Bray, ECC Future Leader

For many of us in the ECC organization, the answer is “yes.” We go where the projects are! We consistently talk about maintaining and improving safety, quality, and productivity; often times in locations


June 22, 2012

The Near Miss Culture

By Brian Hardink, ECC Future Leader

The construction industry has made remarkable strides in personnel safety. For skyscraper construction during the early and mid-20th century, it wasn’t a question of if there would be a fatality, but how many?


June 15, 2012

Managing the Expectations of Customers

By Daniel Clark, ECC Future Leader

Scanning through our list of blog entries on the ECC Future Leaders Blog, I see many articles (all recommended reading, by the way) which, in one way or another, apply to this very topic – Effective Communication;


June 8, 2012

Living and Working in India: Rise of New India

By Robert Smetana, Future Leader

Last summer, I read a New York Times article on my phone about a city in India by the name of Gurgaon, also nicknamed “The Millennium City.” I tried to envision this city that houses many of the world’s most recognized corporations and, to paraphrase the article, has everything


May 24, 2012

Cyber Security

By Chad Supan, Future Leader

You may stop this individual, but you can’t stop us all…
excerpt from The Hacker Manifesto
published by ‘The Mentor’, 1986

It’s a near certainty that if you are reading this blog you are familiar with the word hacker, a blanket name typically applied to any and all cyber criminals. But what about


May 18, 2012

The BPMS150 — Getting Healthy, Engaging Employees, and Raising Money for a Great Cause

By Quentin Smith, Future Leader

Networking, Teambuilding, Getting in Shape – few activities are able to bring all these things together as well as the BPMS-150 Houston to Austin Bike Ride. When I found out last fall that I was moving back to Texas, one of the things that I was looking forward to doing was riding in this event as I figured it would be a great way to get to know Houston.


May 7, 2012

Engineering, Construction, and Getting Around in Saudi Arabia

Conrad Woodard, ECC Future Leader

Up until a few months ago, I had a pretty active work and personal life balance. I was managing offshore assets and leading corporate initiatives for a global engineering consulting firm going on 5 years now. I’ve also been managing 2 sons, 2 dogs, and


April 16, 2012

Effective Communication

By Justin Borchardt, Future Leader

“Excuse me, waiter? I ordered this burger with onions.” The waiter apologized, “I’m sorry sir. I thought you wanted no tomatoes and no onions. I will bring some onions out shortly.” Thinking back, I remembered specifically ordering my burger, “I’ll have the hamburger, all the way except no tomatoes and um, onions.” Where was the problem?


March 30, 2012

The Management of Your Time

By Gary Berman, ECC Board Member

Imagine my disappointment after 35 years in engineering and construction to learn that there is still only 24 hours in a day and 7 days in a week. Imagine also believing that all those devices we did not have in the 1970’s would be saving me time so that I could do more in a day (or enjoy more time off). I am convinced that, on certain occasions,


March 19, 2012

Musings from a Former Future Leader

By: Peter W. van der Schans, Future Leader Alumnus

The ECC’s Future Leader program is much talked about… but why? Can you attest to the benefits of this program? As a Future Leader Alumnus, I can. In recent years, the feedback from participants in the ECC’s Future Leaders program has been overwhelmingly positive. My experience was in line with that – I had a fantastic


March 1, 2012


By Mike McAtee, ECC Board Member

As we begin our careers in the corporate world, we are immediately confronted with a number of unanticipated dilemmas: The theories of academia versus the realities of business; the daunting realization that being a top student doesn’t compare to the applied experience of a seasoned practitioner; and the need to fit into a company’s culture


February 15, 2012

Planning, Execution and Construction Safety

By J. D. Slaughter, ECC Board Member

It has long been established that excellence in safety performance for any given project is the responsibility of everyone associated with that project. We talk about taking personal responsibility for our actions, taking responsibility for watching over our immediate co-workers, taking the time to look over the project and identify areas of concern, following proper procedures, using the right tool for the job, etc. We also talk about stop work authority, which is empowering every employee to stop any action perceived to be unsafe.


February 6, 2012

A Welcomed Transition

By Michael Padilla, ECC Future Leader

What is it about something new or different that derails our momentum?

Even though we know transition is a necessary course of action and can lead to bigger and better things, we still have a tendency to hesitate before making that leap outside of our comfort zone. I’m currently working my way through a transition from one very cozy and familiar position to a position of little experience. There are other alternatives, but few so polarizing, forcing me to consider the risks and rewards.


December 14, 2011

The Value of Networking

By Shannon Johnson, ECC Future Leader

Network. That can be a scary word, no matter which way you use it. A network of buildings downtown is connected through a tunnel system that I constantly get lost in. Ask me to put together a computer network, and you’ll see a very confused and frightened face. However, the one way it can be used that I see a lot of confused faces is as a verb. To network, means to cultivate people who can be helpful. In other words, build relationships.