Cogence Chapters Launch Virtual Roundtables in July

The Northeast Ohio and Central Ohio Chapters of the Cogence Alliance have moved online with their partnership roundtables in the month of July.

On Wednesday, July 22, 2020 at 4 p.m., the Northeast Ohio Chapter will hold a virtual roundtable on the topic, “When Scope Doesn’t Meet Budget.” The roundtable, facilitated by Gary Hribar, CEO of Osborn Engineering and Pam Neckar, President of Cogence and Project Coach at Bostwick Design, will also feature panelists from each partnership group, including:

  • Cynthia Leitson, Vice President, Capital, Construction & Facilities, Cuyahoga Community College
  • Mark Seifried, Managing Director & Senior Consultant, NV5, Inc.
  • Bryan Wahl, AIA, Director of Integrated Design, Bostwick Design Partnership
  • Aaron Lobas, PE, SE, Director, Facility Engineering, Osborn Engineering
  • Brett Klinger, LEED GA, Preconstruction Manager, Turner Construction Company
  • Jim Connole, President, US Communications and Electric

The following week, the Cogence Central Ohio Chapter will hold a virtual roundtable on the topic, “The Cogence GMP Process,” a facilitated discussion with Gary Hribar, Don Drier, and Mark Crawford. This virtual roundtable will be on Wednesday, July 29, 2020 at 4 p.m.

Roundtable registration is available to partners, guests, and members of the Emerging Leaders program. Please RSVP to for more information.

Ann Barnett News

Cogence Announces Free, One-Hour Webinar for May 2020

Cogence Alliance announces its first webinar, “Hands-On to On-line,” with a panel of design construction leaders to discuss how the industry is finding innovative ways to progress work while also remaining safe. Scheduled for Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 11 a.m. EST, this webinar is free and open to all who would like to attend. Registration deadline is May 10, 2020.

This facilitated discussion with design construction industry executives (listed below) will share emerging best practices and innovative ways in team selection and design & construction techniques—with a perspective on the new liabilities it all may bring.

Webinar Panelists
Sean McDermott, 
Chief Planning and Design Officer, Cleveland Metroparks

Sherm Moreland, AIA, ACHA, LEED AP BD+C , CEO, DesignGroup

Pat Klanac, PT, ATD, LEED, AP, Managing Principal, PTA Engineering

Jason Jones, Vice President & General Manager, Turner Construction Company

Armando Francisco, Senior Vice President of Operations, Lake Erie Electric 

Jeffrey R. Applebaum, Managing Director, Project Management Consultants, LLC; Partner/Chairman of Construction Law Group, Thompson Hine LLP

Facilitator: Pam Neckar, CFO and Project Coach, Bostwick Design; President, COGENCE Alliance, Inc.

Online registration can be made, here.

Ann Barnett News

Cogence Alliance Names an Executive Director

Ann Barnett will lead the volunteer-based organization, which focuses on improving design and construction project delivery outcomes

Ann Barnett
Cogence Executive Director Ann Barnett

Cogence Alliance has added an Executive Director to its team. Ann Barnett will lead the organization, working with its Board and Partners to transform the design and construction industry through collaborative project delivery methods.

Barnett comes to Cogence from The Cornerstone Fund, a $100 million financial services organization for churches and non-profit organizations, where she served as Chief Marketing Officer.

“We have an amazing group of volunteers that has gotten Cogence to where it is today. Now we’re ready for an executive director who can dedicate their focus to leading and growing the organization,” said Cogence President Pamela Neckar.

“With the COVID-19 pandemic sweeping the globe and changing how we work almost overnight, Cogence’s mission to improve project team collaboration takes on new urgency,” she said.

Barnett is a marketing communications leader with experience in the corporate and nonprofit sectors. She has worked with organizations to create effective marketing programs, increase consumer engagement, and grow the bottom line.

“With her experience and background, Ann brings fresh ideas to Cogence,” said Neckar. “She has a dynamic combination of skills in strategic planning and deployment. And most importantly, she has a track record of delivering measurable success.”

As Executive Director, Barnett will be responsible for managing Cogence’s day-to-day operations, supporting its chapters, and fueling long-term organizational growth.

“The design and construction industry presents tremendous opportunities for innovation and growth,” said Barnett. “In the coming weeks, I’m looking forward to meeting virtually with the Board and Partners to capture their vision for how Cogence can be a leader in that transformation.”

Sarah Rozman News

Cogence Announces Opening for Executive Director

Cogence is seeking an Executive Director to provide overall leadership and management in carrying out the organization’s mission. The Executive Director is responsible for managing day-to-day organizational operations and for fueling growth consistent with the strategic plan as set by the Board. Cogence is a non-profit organization designed to improve the productivity of all parties who come together to design and construct a building. We are Owners, Architects, Engineers, Construction Mangers, Trade Contractors, and other Industry Affiliates who collectively develop industry best practices. We are organized in regional chapters with a central governing Board. We have chapters in Northeast Ohio, Northwest Ohio, and Central Ohio, with plans to expand to other regions across the nation.

Here’s what you get to do:

  • Provide strong leadership for Cogence, working with the Board to identify, develop, and execute the organization’s priorities.
  • Manage the Cogence Chapters, helping them set goals, develop programing, and attract new Partners.
  • Work collaboratively with the Board Executive Committee to define growth strategies and increase the organization’s visibility.
  • Oversee and manage all accounting functions; prepare annual operating budgets and financial plans for Board approval.
  • Develop communications to promote brand and events. This may include grant writing for the funding of special projects.
  • Attend Board meetings, providing operations updates and cultivating strong relationships with Board members.
  • Cultivate and maintain external relationships, while overseeing communications.


  • Passion for the mission of an organization that is working to impact an entire industry.
  • Demonstrated success in a leadership position overseeing an organization’s operations while maintaining a remarkable track record of building long-term, productive relationships with partners. We are looking for someone who is excited to work closely with the Board to influence our growth and impact.
  • Superb interpersonal communication skills and strategic thinking.
  • Poise, integrity, dignity, and reliability in your professional life.
  • Ability to thrive in an environment where you set the pace.
  • Eagerness to bring people together to achieve a goal. People enjoy working with you and trust you.
  • Solid knowledge of marketing and financial management.
  • Minimum of three years non-profit experience or small business management.
  • Ability to recognize opportunities for improvement, and then identify and implement solutions.
  • Self-motivation, ability to get things done, and a strong work ethic.
  • A strong desire to make Cogence a national organization.

For more information and to submit qualifications, please contact Pamela Neckar at

Sarah Rozman News

Cogence Special Event: Leadership in the Four-Generation Workplace

Join us January 22 for this special event on leadership in the 4-generation workplace. In partnership with SMPS NEO.

The Leadership Dilemma

Change, Complexity & Distraction in the Chaotic 4-Generation Workplace

January 22, 2019 • 11:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. • City Club of Cleveland

Today’s workplace is radically different than it was even 20 years ago, and the impact of technology is not always for the better. There are now four generations of employees in the workplace, mashed together in a cauldron of constant change, distractions, and complexity.

In this interactive workshop, author, speaker and business coach Kelly Riggs presents the most pressing leadership issues and offers specific approaches to dealing with the challenges of the new, technology-infected workplace.

Register Now

Cogence is sponsoring this event in place of the Northeast Ohio January Roundtable. Feel free to forward the invitation! Attendees do not need to be Cogence Partners or SMPS members to attend.

Sarah Rozman News

Announcing the Winners of the 2018 Cogence Drive Awards

Cogence Alliance announces the winners of the 2018 Cogence Drive Awards.

Cogence created the Drive Awards to honor the best in project collaboration. The awards highlight the critical role and immense value that collaboration and innovation bring to building projects. The awards also demonstrate to the A/E/C community how their contributions are improving project outcomes.

Cogence accepted submissions for three categories: the Project Award (Large), Project Award (Small), and the Individual Award. Submissions were evaluated by an independent, national jury.

The awards were presented Wednesday, September 12, at the Cogence Town Hall in Cleveland, Ohio.

Drive Award, Small Project: University Hospitals UCRC II Data Center Upgrades

This complex and sensitive data center upgrade project was ultimately successful because each team member supported a collaborative culture.

University Hospitals (UH) completed a $4.07 million data center upgrade to eliminate single points of failure and to upgrade existing infrastructure. UH was a tenant in the building, and their goal was to install new redundant data center cooling and emergency power, isolated from the landlord’s systems.

Highlights from the project:

  • The consultants and CM all advocated for a more collaborative approach to improve project delivery. The design team advocated for CMR, given the complexity of the project and need for full-team collaboration. The CM took it a step further, recommending design-assist.
  • Despite delays that negatively impacted the schedule, the team delivered the project six weeks early. They collaborated to rework construction activities and phasing.
  • The project had one change order: a deduct returning $21,000 of the remaining contingency to UH.

Drive Award, Large Project: Cleveland Clinic Lakewood Family Health Center

This project was Cleveland Clinic’s first Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) project. Their investment in collaboration realized an actual savings of approximately $1.2 million.

Cleveland Clinic’s new Lakewood Family Health Center is focused on community health and wellness. It replaces dated facilities with a new, $24.3 million (construction) building offering a 24-hour emergency department, imaging services, and multi-specialty and family medicine.

Highlights from the project:

  • Cleveland Clinic used an IPD contract, using a Tri-Party Agreement with joining agreements. The 13 signatories put 100% of their profit margin at risk, meaning they would need to perform at a certain level to earn their profit.
  • The team used Lean tools (such as Last Planner, A3s, collocation, and component team design) for collaboration, decision-making, and waste reduction.
  • Fostering and monitoring the team culture was an important part of the project. Among other things, Cleveland Clinic used team surveys throughout the project to evaluate the level of trust on the team.
  • The mechanical team tried something radical: Working in the same model. Instead of having a separate “design model” and “construction model,” the mechanical contractors worked in the mechanical engineers’ model. Their goals were to reduce known waste, increase the level of detail in the design model, and eliminate the separate creation of a construction model.
  • During construction, batching led to productivity gains and a high level of quality craftsmanship.

Drive Award, Individual: Bryan Wahl, AIA, Bostwick Design Partnership

Bryan Wahl, AIA, brings his passion for collaboration to both his projects and his firm.

Wahl, a Senior Associate at Bostwick Design Partnership (BDP), leads projects from design through construction, focusing on healthcare, higher education, library, and corporate design. He emphasizes continuous innovation and improvement in design.

Wahl has provided leadership on five different collaborative projects. Most recently, he was the project manager for Cleveland Clinic’s Lakewood Family Health Center, which had the first Tri-Party agreement signed in the greater Cleveland region.

Within BDP, he has become a leader in Lean design practices and processes. He brought his passion for collaborative process back to his office, organizing internal presentations to introduce his colleagues to the project tools that made Lakewood Family Health Center so successful.

Wahl has also presented at professional conferences regionally and nationally, educating owners on collaborative delivery.

The recommendation letters accompanying Wahl’s nomination emphasized his authenticity and engagement, as well as his desire to keep learning and growing.

Sarah Rozman News

Join Us in Cleveland for the 2018 Town Hall

At this year’s Town Hall:

  • Learn practical ways to elevate your team’s performance by focusing on their strengths
  • Discuss collaboration best practices for delivering high-level outcomes
  • Network with industry colleagues who share your passion for creating better projects

Key Dates

  • July 11 – Drive Awards intent to submit due
  • August 5 – Drive Awards submissions due
  • August 29 – Registration closes
  • September 12 – Town Hall convenes

Learn more and register.

Sarah Rozman News

A Five-Step Process to a Successful Guaranteed Maximum Price

On May 3, 2018, Don Dreier of Donley’s Inc. and Gary Hribar of Osborn Engineering will present “A Five-Step Process to a Successful Guaranteed Maximum Price” at CMAA Ohio.

The goals of the Cogence GMP Process:

  • Fair
  • Transparent
  • Effective
  • Reliable
  • Accountable
  • Increase Sophistication
  • Measurable Improvement to Projects Outcomes
  • Educate Participants

Learn more and register.

Announcing the Winners of the Inaugural Cogence Drive Awards

Cogence Alliance announces the winners of the inaugural Cogence Drive Awards.

Cogence created the Drive Awards to honor the best in project collaboration. The awards highlight the critical role and immense value that collaboration and innovation bring to building projects. The awards also demonstrate to the A/E/C community how their contributions are improving project outcomes.

Cogence accepted submissions for two categories: the Project Award and the Individual Award. Submissions were evaluated by an independent, national jury representing owners, architects, engineers, and construction teams.

The awards were presented Friday, November 10, at the first Cogence Town Hall, in Cleveland, Ohio.


Drive Award, Project: Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Center

Cleveland Clinic designed and built the Taussig Cancer Center with the same care and attention to detail that drives its commitment to Patients First. During the project, Cleveland Clinic engaged individuals, focused on quality, and relied on collaboration.

Taussig Cancer Center is a seven-story, 390,000-SF facility that combines exam rooms, treatment spaces, and physician offices under one roof. The construction cost was $194 million. In the award submission, the team listed 46 companies as collaborators on the project.

In their evaluations, the jurors highlighted many components of project success, including:

  • The effort the team put into learning and practicing collaboration throughout the project. Cleveland Clinic delivered the project using its Owner Controlled Team Project Delivery (OCTPDSM) practice model. OCTPD is an owner-led, collaborative delivery method that cultivates trust, respect, and accountability. The project team also committed to Lean processes, including pull planning and colocation.
  • Their use of design-assist. The project had 11 design-assist partners, and the MEP teams used a prefab warehouse for select portions of assembly.
  • The outstanding financial results because of the collaborative approach. The final project cost indicated an overall savings of $21 million, $17 million of which can be directly attributed to the collaborative efforts of the design and construction team.

In the submission, the team also noted that “the response from visitors, patients, caregivers and the community is overwhelmingly positive. Upon entering the main lobby for the first time, most patients are in awe of their new surroundings and smile in appreciation for the new environment.”


Drive Award, Individual: Ronald J. Lawson

Ron Lawson has been a pioneer in collaborative project delivery at Cleveland Clinic. As a founding board member of Cogence, he has demonstrated his commitment to improving outcomes for the industry as a whole.

Lawson recently retired from his role as Director of Construction at Cleveland Clinic, a position he held for 16 years. Lawson led the creation and implementation of Cleveland Clinic’s Owner Controlled Team Project Delivery (OCTPDSM) method. With OCTPD, the owner leads a team of industry experts to deliver the project in a transparent, collaborative team fashion. The culture is one of trust, respect, and accountability. In the past several years alone, Lawson managed $1.55 billion in projects delivered collaboratively.

Lawson’s nomination for the Drive Award received resounding support. While the entry requirements called for only two letters of recommendation, Lawson’s nomination included 10. Letters came from all the roles that exist on a project: owner, architect, engineer, construction manager, trades, and allied consultant. They speak powerfully to Lawson’s influence and legacy.

  • “Simply put, Ron became the agent for that change. Single-handed at first, but step by step and person by person, he led the charge to change the long-held ‘silos’ of design, construction, and ownership.”
  • “Ron understands that this [collaborative] spirit is important to communicate throughout the entire team, not only at the management level. Throughout his career he has committed to push these concepts down to the trade level, and he is is highly respected by union leadership.”
  • “His expectations for continuous improvement using new tools and technology have resulted in a great opportunity for the younger project stakeholders to embrace and therefore lead the solutions to these new challenges…Future generations are now positioned to continue the journey forward as the next leaders of this improved collaborative delivery vision.”

Honor Award: Pamela J. Neckar

Pam Neckar is the founding president of Cogence Alliance, as well as Project Coach and CFO of Bostwick Design Partnership, a Cleveland-based architecture firm.

The Board of Directors surprised Neckar with an Honor Award in recognition of her dedication to Cogence.

Pen Wolf, Vice President of Cogence, presented the award. He praised Neckar for her vision, her insistence that the team do the work, and the “incredible amount of work” she has done for the organization.

As Neckar accepted the award, she turned attention back to the Town Hall attendees.

“Today is a very important day for Cogence,” she said. “This is the start…of something that will really change the industry.”

“I’m excited because of all of you and your contributions.”