SSOE Group’s Lean Leaders to Present at Lean Construction Institute’s 2024 Lean in Design Forum

CHICAGO, Illinois, April 24, 2024 – SSOE Group (, an internationally ranked architecture and engineering firm, announced today that members of its Lean Operating Strategy Leadership Team alongside some of their SSOE colleagues will present at the Lean Construction Institute’s (LCI) 2024 Lean in Design Forum. The event will take place May 1-2, 2024 at the Palmer House Hotel in Chicago, Illinois. This year’s theme is “Lean in Design Thinking.”

On Thursday, May 2nd, SSOE representatives will participate in three sessions to share their background and experience leveraging Lean tools and concepts to bolster the design process. Leading off, Mechanical Designer Monica Steele will serve as one of four panelists engaging in a discussion on the topic “We Have a Design Manager, Now What?” at 11:30 a.m. (CST). In this session, participants will hear and learn about the role and value of a design manager, how Lean practices can help individuals in this role, why a design manager is necessary in addition to a project manager, as well as cautionary tales from the panelists.

Next, Lisa Hitchingham, PE, Chemical Process Engineer, will join other experienced Lean professionals to serve on a panel titled, “How Are Firms Educating Their Employees?” at 1:15 p.m. (CST). In this session, the panelists will unveil their strategies for driving process improvement and Lean methodologies forward within their organizations. The discussion will focus on empowering teams to shift their mindset towards continuous improvement, waste reduction, and adding value. Attendees will discover practical insights into enhancing productivity, streamlining workflows, and empowering team members to improve the design process.

Finally, Julie Dolan, Client Advocate and Lean Practice Leader, will present “Trials and Tribulations of Organizational Adoption of CBA” at 2:30 p.m. (CST). This presentation will take attendees through SSOE’s Choosing By Advantages (CBA), journey, speaking directly to what problem the firm was trying to solve with this particular decision-making system, the starts and stops of adopting this Lean behavior at the individual and organizational level, and the pitfalls that befell the team. Attendees will learn from SSOE’s lessons on leadership resistance and overcoming the investment required. They will also hear about the discipline required to implement a Lean mindset shift around CBA in a manufacturing ecosystem design environment.

About SSOE’s Presenters

SSOE’s Monica Steele performs several different functions within SSOE, including mechanical process engineering and most recently, serving as Design Manager / Area Coordinator on several projects. In this role, she is responsible for managing design teams, from Front-End Loading (FEL) through detailed design and construction. Steele collaborates with clients throughout the project phases, manages changes, and strives to meet the client’s schedule and budget.

Lisa Hitchingham, PE, HFDP, has served on the LCI Design Forum planning committee for the past three years and has an incessant passion for reducing waste in the world. She also has been an active core team member of SSOE’s Lean Operating Strategy CoP which trains and leads the rest of the company in Lean methods, striving to encourage a more Lean-driven mindset on projects. Hitchingham continues to grow in her Lean journey by seeking more efficient ways to complete tasks, working toward a life of essentialism, making the world a better place for future generations, and continuously improving communication techniques to help lead others to success. In a technical role, Hitchingham serves as the “boots on the ground” getting the work done, but also often oversees engineers with less experience; helping to promote a Lean mindset from the ground up.

Julie Dolan is passionate about utilizing Lean principles in the built environment and partnering with like-minded industry professionals. Based out of SSOE’s Lima office, she is an LCI-approved instructor and has led a number of industry events with owners and trade / construction partners. Dolan is also a core team member of the LCI Ohio Valley Chapter Community of Practice (Co-Chair) and leads SSOE’s Lean Community of Practice. Focused on raising awareness of mental health in construction and spreading kindness, she is also the executive sponsor of the firm’s Sustainable Design Committee. As the grandmother to two active girls currently in her care, she enjoys bouncing on the trampoline, taking nature walks, riding bikes, and digging in the dirt.

Beyond Lean Speaking

SSOE is excited to have Greg Verhoff, Business Leader for SSOE’s Pharma and Life Science sectors, involved on the core team of LCI’s Manufacturing Ecosystem Group (MEG). The MEG was formed to accelerate the development and adoption of Lean Design and Construction practices in the industrial manufacturing setting. This core team will be meeting in person for the first time in Chicago on April 30th, in advance of the LCI Design Forum.

In addition to the several speaking opportunities and Verhoff’s involvement with LCI’s MEG, SSOE is a gold-level sponsor for this year’s design forum. SSOE’s President and Chair of LCI’s Board of Directors, Catherine Myers, PE, will also be in attendance. She joined the board in 2022 and is the executive sponsor for SSOE’s Lean Operating Strategy. Myers has participated in a Construction Industry Institute research team on the advancement of Lean strategies, the results of which were presented at both the Construction Industry Institute and the Construction Management Association of America’s national conferences.

For nearly a decade, SSOE has maintained a corporate partnership with LCI to align with the firm’s efforts to advance Lean principles as the cornerstone of its culture and organizational strategy. Over the past several years, SSOE’s Executive Management Team has worked to solidify the firm’s internal Lean Operating Strategy as a component of the Strategic Plan by identifying communication, defining value, and visual planning as areas of focus. Today, the firm continues to evolve its Lean Operating Strategy initiative through its Lean Community of Practice (CoP), with several years spent training and mentoring in a way that supports SSOE’s focus on the voice of the client while furthering employees’ knowledge base and understanding of Lean.

For more information on LCI’s Lean in Design Forum, click here.

About LCI

LCI is a member-based organization whose mission is to lead the building industry in transforming its practices and culture through Lean thinking, tools, and technology. They envision a healthy and thriving building industry delivering outstanding project outcomes every time for everyone. Their plans include developing research products to help companies implement Lean production more effectively, learning programs to help answer the “why” and “how” of Lean implementation, and unique national and regional activities to promote Lean learning and networking across the industry.


About SSOE Group

As an internationally ranked architecture and engineering firm, SSOE is known for delivering unparalleled client value that advances the AEC industry. They have been named a “Great Workplace” (Great Place to Work®) and one of the “Best AEC Firms to Work For” (BD+C).

Over the company’s 75-year history, it has earned a reputation for providing quality project solutions to high-tech and general manufacturing clients in the semiconductor, automotive, battery, food, chemical, and glass industries. SSOE also provides forward-thinking design across healthcare and general building sectors such as corporate workplace, education, and judicial—with projects completed in 40 countries. Visit for additional information and career opportunities.

Media Contact:
Jenni Roder
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