Chief Executive Officer and President
Accu-Cost Construction Consultants, Inc.
October’s Member of the Month is a true SMPS veteran. Patricia Neumann joined the New York chapter in 1997 and immediately became involved by joining the Programs Committee. She has served on the Board of Directors as secretary, treasurer, vice president/president elect, president, and immediate past-president. She has also served on the Communications Committee, was the Director of Public Relations, and oversaw the SMPS Job Bank. In addition to holding her position as the CEO and President of Accu-Cost Construction Consultants, Inc., Patricia has continued her involvement with the organization by participating on the Westchester Affiliate Committee and co-chairing the SMPS Mentor Program since 2012. In 2013 she was the winner of the SMPS NY Area Chapter Industry Leadership Award, and in 2015 earned the President’s Cup for Outstanding Service.
1. Where are you from originally and what brought you to New York City?
I am a New Yorker who grew up in the Bronx, so it was natural for me to start my career in Manhattan. My first job was at National Geographic Magazine. I was hired to be an executive secretary for two salesmen in the advertising department. I was there for 10 years and worked in various departments including international advertising, production, and was subsequently promoted to assistant manager of administration. When National Geographic’s advertising headquarters was moving to Washington D.C., my Dad, by chatting with the owner of Federman Construction Consultants, Inc. at the train station, got me an interview there. I was hired and stayed for 6 ½ years prior to joining Accu-Cost Construction Consultants, Inc. in March of 1993.
I was officially hired as the Director of Marketing, but as Accu-Cost was a start-up firm I was also responsible for the accounting and office management of the firm. As the firm grew and staff was added, I was able to concentrate more on marketing and business development. In 2003, Accu-Cost’s 10th year anniversary, I took on a major leadership role and was asked to be a principal of the firm. In July of 2009 an opportunity arose that allowed me to take over as CEO & President of firm and we have been providing our services for nearly 24 years now.
2. Can you tell us more about the SMPS Mentor Program?
Started 8 years ago, the SMPS Mentor Program came out of a past committee called PAR (Professional Advisory Roundtable) and was run by Michael McCann, FSMPS, CPSM, Business Development and Marketing Manager at The Clarient Group. Martha Huguet, Marketing Director at Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers and I were involved in the program from the beginning and in 2012 we took over as Co-Chairs of the program. This September we kicked off our 5th Season and we are very excited to have 14 pairs of mentors and protégés, our biggest group ever.
The program runs from September through August and the pairs have an in-person meeting once a month. We plan about 4 group meetings during the year, starting with our Orientation in September. Past meetings have covered topics such as “Your Career Strategic Plan”, “How to Manage Stress and Prevent Burnout”, “A Conversation About Expressed and Unexpressed Expectations”, and “Dealing with Technical People” and we bring in a guest speaker to present these programs. We are always looking for ways to improve on our group meetings and bring different programs to the group.
The SMPS Mentor Program is primarily focused on the professional development and career needs of the protégés, but we hear from our mentors that it is equally beneficial to them. Each year we seem to have more and more mentors who are willing to give up their free time to mentor a protégé and share their experience and knowledge within this industry. We are happy to have several experienced mentors who have volunteered for several years in a row now, making our program one of the best in the industry.
3. Describe your perfect Saturday.
After a hectic work week, I look forward to just relaxing and enjoying the simpler things in life. With that said, at this time in my life, my perfect Saturday starts with waking up in my home in Cape May, NJ with my family, having breakfast outside on my deck, taking a bike ride, hitting the beach in the afternoon with my 3 ½ old grandson, and ending the day with a nice dinner out.
4. What advice do you have for some of our more recent SMPS Chapter Members?
My advice for recent SMPS Chapter Members is to get involved in your organization. SMPS is a great organization that I have seen evolve over the years and is always improving on the events and programs that are offered. Once you get involved you will meet others in your industry that you will be able to have relationships with. This will lead to contacts within the industry, possible work for your firm, and some wonderful friendships. Also take advantage of the professional development programs that are offered. If your firm will not pay for some of the programs, there are many free programs given by the Coordinator’s Club and Leadership Committee.
5. What blogs do you read on a regular basis?
Sorry to say I do not read any blogs. I do however read the trade magazines and papers such as Crain’s New York, Architectural Digest, Engineering News Record, The Real Estate Weekly and of course the Marketer that are delivered to our office.