Championing collaborative engagements between government and industry is a central aspect of the 2025 SAME Strategic Plan. As one of the largest Posts in the Society, the Washington DC Post is delivering value by informing, educating, and impacting decision-making through a full calendar of speaker presentations, networking events, and joint workshops with other organizations.
Bricks & Clicks recently chatted with Philios Angelides, P.E., F.SAME, recipient of SAME’s 2019 Industry-Government Engagement Award (Industry), about how to foster collaboration and engagement at the local level, how to capitalize on existing connections to conduct impactful events, and takeaways for other Posts looking to deepen public-private partnerships.
Bricks & Clicks: How is the Washington DC Post working to build relationships among military, public, private, academic, and professional organizations?
Angelides: Our industry-government engagement efforts include monthly luncheons, joint conferences, and technical workshops with other professional associations, focusing on current industry trends, challenges, and opportunities. We have speakers from military and civilian federal agencies, state and local governments (transportation, airport authorities, utilities, municipalities); and other institutions such as the Smithsonian and International Monetary Fund. The programs focus on construction, planning, procurement, project delivery, sustainment, and resilience practices, educating participants and facilitating dialogue between industry and owners on best practices.
Our Post also strengthens industry-government engagement through collaboration with the Northern Virginia Post in hosting our annual Small Business Conference. This event brings together industry and government, in a local forum, to expand awareness of and knowledge to pursue procurement opportunities.
Additionally, the DC Post has relationships with Howard University, George Washington University, Catholic University, and George Mason University where we engage in student mentoring by supporting on-campus programs of engineering focus. These efforts expand our visibility with students and build the foundation for developing future leaders. Similarly, we developed a strong partnership with our Field Chapter at Joint Base Andrews where we host on-site professional development workshops.
Bricks & Clicks: Any particular success stories you would like to highlight?
Angelides: I was honored to moderate industry engagements at the Pentagon with The Honorable Lucian Niemeyer, Performing the Duties of Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations & Environment) and James Balocki, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy (Energy, Installations & Environment), following their participation at two of our events. Specifically, the DC Post was invited to engage in additional dialogue regarding best practices to improve delivery of Navy projects and manage associated risks. Our Post representatives were received as subject matter experts and our contributions and recommendations were appreciated.
Bricks & Clicks: Is there a specific objective in the 2025 SAME Strategic Plan goal to strengthen industry-government engagement you are excited to contribute to?
Angelides: I see objectives 1, 2, and 5 aligning well with the positive outcomes experienced at our Post. Specifically, leveraging the multidisciplinary expertise of our members in engaging in dialogue with government leaders on a broad spectrum of topics during conferences and follow-on meetings; partnering with other professional associations to broaden subject matter expertise and trend awareness; and advancing engagement to appropriate higher forums at the regional and national levels, especially to impact and formulate policy decisions at the senior leadership levels.
As contributing to Goal 1 is required of every Post to earn the new Streamer (starting in 2021), it is great there are a number of different ways for members to engage in industry-government engagement, whether you are part of a large, medium, or small Post.
Bricks & Clicks: How has the Post gotten more members engaged?
Angelides: Post members volunteer to organize events and invite speakers with whom they have relationships. They also serve as speakers for technical workshops or mentoring sessions where they are recognized as subject matter experts. These opportunities offer a platform to elevate their visibility and be recognized as experts.
Our events also attract members as attendees or as participants in follow-on discussions with speakers. We focus on topics of industry-wide interest, direct engagement with impactful agency leaders, and professional development and networking opportunities. The efforts have resulted in consistently sold-out events.
Understanding the local requirements starts with creating forums where government can share program trends and needs and where industry can listen and share expertise.
Bricks & Clicks: What benefits have you seen in hosting events in partnership with other professional organizations?
Angelides: Partnering with other organizations in hosting events allows our Post to increase visibility and grow program attendance. In addition, we leverage the resources of partnerships to access speakers and promote networking platforms.
The collaboration expands our message and improves feedback to government by bringing together the combined voices of multiple experts from similarly aligned organizations. Ultimately, our Post, and by extension SAME, is viewed as a leader in advancing the awareness of industry trends and as a facilitator of solutions.
Bricks & Clicks: What advice would you give Posts looking to increase industry-government collaboration in their local area?
Angelides: Collaboration between industry and government is necessary to develop solutions for mission needs. But it is also critical to know what those mission needs are, because Posts near a military installation may support different mission needs than a Post closer tuned to state or municipal needs.
Understanding the local requirements starts with creating forums where government can share program trends and needs and where industry can listen and share expertise. Each Post can leverage the relationships of their members with agencies and organize appropriate events to facilitate dialogue. The events can include a discussion of best practices (technical, management, procurement, or sustainment) to identify solutions. Proactive and ongoing industry-government engagement enables identification of business trends, best practices, and successful project outcomes.