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Luncheon Speaker Series: Making Master Plans Become A Reality

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

How complex is making a master plan for colleges and universities? VERY. Executing it is even more challenging. We’re bringing together some of Northeast Ohio’s colleges and universities to dive into the whole process and what it takes to make their master plan a reality, hitting all the major strategic initiatives including: academics, social, financial, environmental, and physical spaces. Join us for this diverse conversation and be “in the know” about what colleges universities are planning for the future.

Brenden Shea, Vice President (Signet) - Moderator

Brenden Shea serves as Vice President for Signet Development and leads the Signet Project Management business. He is responsible for the strategic and operational functions of Signet Project Management that provides expertise to all our real estate development and third party capital construction projects.  In this role, Brenden fosters collaboration with clients in order to exceed their expectations with schedule, fiscal savings and client-specific objectives on projects.




Bruce Ferguson, RA, NCARB, LEED AP, Director of Planning, Design & Construction (Cleveland State University)

As the Director of Planning Design and Construction and University Architect for the Office of the University Architect, Bruce oversees a talented staff of architects, engineers, planners and interior designers who manage the planning, design and construction of all new buildings and renovations at the university.

In addition, OUA oversees the selection of furniture for faculty and staff, makes recommendations on offices, labs and classroom relocations, manages the CSU Master Plan and Facilities Guidelines and Standards, and is integrally involved with campus committees related to public art and general use spaces.



Mark Green, Director of Construction, Design, and Planning (Cuyahoga Community College)

Mark Green has been Director of Construction, Design and Planning at Cuyahoga Community College for the last 9 years. Prior to that, he also worked as a Regional Office Manager for an ENR 500 Engineering Company and as a Senior Staff Architect for Cleveland State University.

Mr. Green has expertise in higher education programming, master planning development & execution, design and construction of capital projects, contracting, and delivery method selection and implementation. In addition to his higher education experience, he has over 10 years of experience working in the healthcare & historic preservation markets. His career has acquired both public and private sector experience for major building development as well as interior redevelopment projects. Personally, Mark enjoys outdoor activities, golf and spending time with his family.



Michael Bruder, Executive Director, Facilities Planning & Design (Kent State University)

Michael Bruder has been with Kent State University in the Office of the University Architect since 1999.  In his current role as University Architect and Executive Director of Facilities, Planning and Design, Michael is responsible for all design and construction projects on the Kent Campus as well as Kent State University’s seven regional campuses.  

With a staff of 25 full time employees, the office manages over 200 projects per year with an annual design and construction budget of $100 million.  In the fall of 2017, the university will complete the Foundations of Excellence construction initiative that involves significant renovations and modernizations to multiple scientific facilities and several high-profile new buildings. He strives to provide well-designed, sustainable buildings in a cohesive campus plan that fosters a positive environment for learning, researching, living and working for students, faculty and staff.



Steven Varelmann, AIA, College Architect, Facilities Planning & Construction (Oberlin College)

Steve Varelmann joined Oberlin College as College Architect in 2008, leading the Office of Facilities Planning and Construction.  During this time his office facilitated master plans for Athletics and Physical Education, the Green Arts District, and the Conservatory of Music.  Oberlin College is currently performing a Space Utilization Study which will result in a comprehensive master plan for the entire campus, in support of the College’s 2016-2021 Strategic Plan.  Capital projects completed 2008-2016 total nearly $300 million.

Mr. Varelmann began his career as a construction manager in commercial design/build real estate development before becoming an architect, practicing in the higher education, aviation, and health care markets.



Member - $30

Non-Member - $45

Student - $15

Registration increases by $10 at every level after noon on 3/16.

An important note about parking at the City Club:

Please allow extra time for parking. Discounted parking is available between the hours of 11 AM and 2:30 PM at the AMPCO Euclid/Prospect parking garage, located West of the City Club. However, this lot will fill up very quickly and parking is NOT guaranteed in the lot. Additional, non-discounted downtown parking can be found in the Atrium Garage (645 W Prospect) and Osborne (1057 Prospect Garage), and the Q Arena lot (4th and Prospect). $10 valet parking is also available now at the 9. Please make sure to bring your ticket to the City Club and they will replace it for a new ticket that you take back to the 9.  However, you are on a two-hour time limit. 

More parking information can also be found here.

If you are taking public transportation to the City Club, the RTA's free trolley service stops in front of the building and the health line stops just on the other side of the intersection.

Register for Event  

Event Location

City Club
850 Euclid Avenue, Suite 200
Cleveland, Ohio
When: 11:30 am - 1:30 pm

Event Sponsors

CBLH Design, Inc.
Intertek/Professional Service Industries, Inc.
Karpinski Engineering
Moody Nolan, Inc.
Osborn Engineering
Peller & Associates, Inc.
Thompson Hine/PMC
Weber Murphy Fox

Sponsor the Event

What our sponsors are saying...

“SMPS has been a tremendous resource to our company [CBLH]. It has reshaped the way we conduct marketing. All of their programs, seminars, articles and conferences have given us the ability to educate our marketing staff on the changing tactics and strategies facing our industry. Lastly, we have built relationships through all the networking opportunities SMPS offers. It only made sense to support our chapter through sponsorship as they have supported us”.

John Rach, AIA, Director of Marketing
CBLH Design, Inc.

“We are proud once again to support the local SMPS Northeast Ohio Chapter as renewing Annual Sponsor, and have been actively engaged with the SMPS NEO Chapter for over 5 years now. It has been a pleasure to be a part of the SMPS NEO family, as it has brought us closer together with the local A/E/C community and has created new partnerships with fellow SMPS'ers.”

PCS Annual Sponsor

"My membership with SMPS was gifted to me while working at Karpinski Engineering and while I was hesitant to get involved in the operations of the board, I can’t imagine life without SMPS and my fellow committee members. Volunteering has afforded me not only great professional relationships, but great friendships as well. I truly believe our board members are the best around and some of the hardest working individuals I know. In short, I joined SMPS for the educational resources and have stayed for the relationships and interaction with fellow contemporaries and the fun."

Vanessa Aron

"As someone who was new to the industry, I was inspired by the NEO board members and all the hard work and dedication they put in to provide this region with an organization that is educational, entertaining and that puts you face to face with some of the most significant people throughout the A/E/C industry. As Membership & Social Media Chair, if I can give back to others half of what SMPSNEO has given to me; my job will have been a success."

Dave Eyssen
Precision Environmental Co.

"I discovered SMPS while looking at a Properties Magazine (no plug intended) and had a discussion with the owner of my firm, Scott Maloney. He encouraged me to get involved but stressed to really be engaged and take a role in the organization to really get something out of your membership. He was right! It was easy to engage with such a great group of people but really getting involved, being a part of the organization and not just an attendee has really opened up doors and introductions that would not have been possible. Coming from outside of the A/E/C industry prior to working at K2M, SMPS really helped me to understand and grasp this dynamic industry."

Stephanie C.
K2M Design

“The Mentor/Protégé program provided me a third-party resource to help me clarify and realize some of my career goals. By working with a mentor, I was able to identify those areas where I could improve my marketing skills, but also helped me see where my strengths were of benefit to my organization. I highly recommend this one-on-one program!”

Tamara Zupancic
Tec Inc.