Bernice Bako Newton, FSMPS, CPSM

Director of Marketing

  • Turner Construction Company
  • Co-Chair SMPS National Marketing Communications Awards
  • Member, Westchester Affiliate
Known for her outstanding dedication to SMPS as a whole, our New York Chapter is lucky to claim June’s Member of the Month, Bernice Bako as one of our own. While serving as the Director of Marketing at Turner Construction, she has recently been able to devote much of her time to the MCA’s on both a national and local level. Her education and experience as a marketing professional is much appreciated by all her industry peers. Read below as Bernice has shared some of her thoughts and ideas with us. Where are you from originally and what brought you to New York City? That is such a complicated question for me to answer having been raised an Army brat, and serving in the Air Force myself. The short answer is I basically grew up in North Carolina and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. After traveling the US, I landed in Connecticut for 10 years where I received my MBA from the University of Connecticut. I started with Turner 18 years ago in Toledo Ohio. I transferred the Connecticut office in 1996, then to Hawthorne in 2006. I landed in NYC in the summer of 2011.

[expand title=”Read the rest of the article here…”] How did you first get involved with the SMPS MCA’s and can you elaborate on your duties as co-chair? Kevin Hebblethwaite approached me to get more involved on a National level – I knew hosting the SMPS MCA awards was a project that would be great for the New York Chapter while supporting the organization nationally. But I couldn’t do it alone – I needed support. Luckily I knew Michael McCann from working with the Westchester Affiliate and he agreed to be my MCA co-chair. He was the best partner – he knows the city and is very knowledgeable. I also had the support from Turner. Our facilities were large enough to host the 83 people on April 6 for the all-day judging event.

The best part of SMPS is that any activities that you get involved in you have the opportunity to work with some of the most talented, responsible, passionate people in the industry. With the support of a national committee and SMPS professionals – we were able to not only break record attendance on judging day, but also work to start improving the scoring sheet – providing more feedback from the focus groups that were judging the event. We think this is invaluable information for SMPS members. SMPS is the only organization that sends the scoring sheets back to the entrants. Think about it, you get a group of professionals from all over the country that will give you feedback on your marketing materials. That is why I wanted to be part of MCAs – submitting for an award is not just about being recognized for your work, but it also gives us perspectives on what works and what doesn’t from neutral parties which often times provides guidance for improvement. Can you describe for us a typical day as the Director of Marketing at Turner Construction Company? Building in New York City is amazing to me. Whether it is projects like the Tower at 250 West 55th Street or the renovations at Madison Square Garden, you know that you are marketing a professional team of construction managers whose talent and capabilities are truly unique. Typical day – I am not sure there is such a thing. The Westchester Affiliate plays a very important role in the SMPS-NY chapter, are there any events or programs coming up that they have organized? I got involved in Westchester Affiliate when I was still active with the Connecticut Chapter of SMPS. With SMPS there are no boundaries; I feel this is true especially since SMPS helped me to adapt in each career transition. Westchester is particularly special. Located between NYC and Lower Fairfield County, it has a lot of growth opportunity. It is the home of many commuters’ as well major businesses. A few years ago we teamed up with Connecticut’s Construction Institute – an organization that also saw the need to provide education and networking opportunities to the area. It’s been a great relationship. And now Robin Carathansis is looking at more ways to connect members through Westchester Webinars. Describe your perfect Saturday. My perfect Sunday will always involve my new husband and puppy – Willow. It includes a couple of hours of tennis, maybe a walk on the beach, and grilling on the deck in the late afternoon watching my garden in bloom. Interview by: Elise Martos, Marketing Coordinator for Dominick R. Pilla Associates PC. [/expand]