Tell us a little about yourself!
I am a Project Management Professional (PMP) with over 16 years of experience in Project and Program Management and Leadership roles of varying size, scope, budget, and influence. I have a proven track record managing the delivery of key strategic initiatives in technology, functional design, process improvement, competency development, and planning, resulting in increased organizational capability and efficiency.
As a driven, dynamic leader I leverage my consulting skills, professional knowledge and established relationships in the international project community to effectively facilitate buy-in at all levels of the organization while providing innovative and focused solutions.
I first got into PM right out of the US Air Force Academy. I graduated with a BS in Management and dropped directly into the PM career field as an AF Acquisitions Officer in Dayton, Ohio. While in Dayton, I received my MBA in Project Management, Management and International Business. I also managed the weapon systems for the B1 and F-16 Programs (2000-2004). After that, I was assigned to be an IT PM in Montgomery, Alabama, from 2004-2007 where I managed the overall IT Enterprise for the Air Force working closely with Microsoft. I was given the opportunity to study French abroad in Strasbourg and deployed to South Korea. In 2007, I left the Air Force and joined the consulting industry in Hartford, Connecticut, with The Hartford Insurance Company. In 2008, I received my PMP and participated in a senior management program with Fidelity in Boston, Massachusetts. I returned home to Houston in 2011 and took a position with Deloitte Tax as a PMO Lead from 2011-2015. In 2016, I moved to Deloitte Global to set up a PMO.
How long have you been working in Project Management and what's your current professional position?
I have been working in Project Management since 2000. I am currently the Director of Business Development for a startup company called En Route Cleaners. We hope to disrupt the dry-cleaning industry by providing same-day service to business professionals at their workplace parking location/garage.
How long have you been involved with the Houston PMI® Chapter and in what capacities?
When I returned to Houston, I immediately became involved with PMI Houston, working on the annual conference. I led the Social Networking Committee (team of 1 at that time). In 2012, I co-chaired the conference with David Thomas. From 2013-2016, I stayed involved with the conference via the social networking committee, where we added networking games to the program to incentivize attendees to get to know each other and have fun in the process. In 2016, I presented a breakout session to the Houston and Dallas Chapters about communications at our conference. I am now Director of Public Relations for PMI Houston Marketing.
What are the biggest benefits you’ve realized from volunteering at PMIH?
I have made life-long connections (and friends) with professionals who share the same passion for project management as me. By getting involved in the conference, I’ve had the chance to meet many volunteers and attendees who I look forward to seeing again each year. Getting involved in the Board of Directors has allowed me to gain exposure with other PMI teams across the region to help the Houston Chapter grow.
Describe the most interesting/challenging/exciting project you've ever been involved with.
That would be my current position as Director of Business Development for En Route Cleaners. I have leveraged my PM background to get the company up and running and I am tapping into a new skill set (sales) trying to sell the concept to prospective clients. Working with a start-up is exciting and challenging.
Feel free to add any other work or personal tidbits you think would be an interesting add.
I am a proud “Auntie Mame” to 18 nieces and nephews who live in Houston, Utah, and Indiana. I love to travel with my husband of 18 years and my lil’ one (“Random” – a 7 y/o Chihuahua). I love to go to Broadway show and the movies any chance I can get. I am training for the Houston half marathon (this will be my 7th half or full marathon).
The Houston economy was significantly impacted by the fall in oil prices in late 2014. Economic growth in Houston has since has been at a lower rate than its average annual growth rate. On top of that, the flooding caused by Hurricane Harvey last year and its aftermath had another major impact on the economy as homes, businesses, infrastructure, plants and many facilities were destroyed or shut down. Displacement and layoffs resulting from the economic downturn impacted many Houston families.
The Houston economy is resilient of course. Future economic growth for Houston is looking promising. Crude prices are jumping up. The price was up close to $73 a barrel in May for the first time since November 2014. If the oil prices stay above $60 a barrel in 2018 as forecast, the Houston metropolitan area is projected to add around 75,000 jobs. Good news for Houstonians!
PMI Houston feels the pain the professional community of Houston is going through. We have been trying to help job seekers in our monthly meeting, networking events and through job posting on our website. I am pleased to report that we are embarking on another initiative. PMI Houston is planning a series of events to help job seekers. The first non-traditional event is being scheduled for July 2018. It will be a workshop titled ‘How to Land Your Next PM Job in 40 Days’. Stay tuned for details.
If there are potential employers and recruiters who wish help in this initiative, please get in touch with us. This has to be a collective effort to help those who are in need at this point in their lives.
Keith Bower, VP of Professional Development
A lot of new and exciting things are about to launch here at PMI Houston in the area of Professional Development. We sat down with Keith Bower, our VP of Professional Development, to find out more.
PMI Houston: There has been a lot of excitement the past few months on the PMI Houston Board - and at some recent venue meetings - about some upcoming changes in Professional Development. What’s happening?
Keith: Yes, it’s been exciting – and the changes that are coming are huge. For a long time, PMI Houston has offered, basically, two courses: our excellent PMP Prep course and a Fundamentals of PM course. These are solid courses. But the fact is that most of our almost 4,500 members don’t need them. The vast majority of our members already have the PMP certification, so we’re offering them nothing. And those members who don’t yet have the PMP find that the more basic courses and certifications they need are almost never offered.
PMI Houston: So, what’s changing?
Keith: A lot!Imagine a curated selection of professional development options that fit your personal career goals. Imagine not one course a month, but lots of courses offered in multiple formats and locations, including live in-person, live-online and self-paced online. Imagine visiting our website and seeing a full page or more of curated course options and opportunities from a wide range of providers, most of which of offer significant discounts to our members. And best of all, imagine having a personal career plan that guides you in what courses to take and when to take them so that you’ll stay on track.
PMI Houston: You mentioned personal career plans. What’s that about?
Keith: That’s really the key to the whole thing. We are going to help our members think ahead about their professional development so that they’ll know what training they want and need. Most of our members – most people – are focused on today or maybe tomorrow. Long term career plans don’t get a lot of attention. So, when a training and development opportunity comes along – maybe we get an email or see something on a website – we don’t really know if it’s something we need. We ignore it or tell ourselves, “maybe later”. This initiative is going to help our PMI Houston members become more strategic in planning their careers. We’re developing a facilitated process to help our members identify and define their professional development goals – their career goals – in a way that helps us to help them. We will use that information to drive curriculum development and our members will use it to guide them in selecting the right courses at the right time.
PMI Houston: That’s a lot! When is all of this going to happen? When will our members start to see something?
Keith: End of March – that’s the plan. We’ll go live with that new page of courses by the end of March. Our PD Team is working now with several educational providers to identify our initial offering of courses. And we’re working with our amazing PMI Houston eBusiness Team to get the website set up. Our members can start exploring these new opportunities very soon. The career planning piece – that’s going to take a little longer. But we will have that up and running by Conference, June 4-5.
PMI Houston: Speaking of Conference, everything you’ve been describing fits right in with this year’s Conference theme.
Keith: Yes! Project YOU: Managing Your Career as a Project Professional. The whole idea is transforming professional development into a personal priority. When you think about it, the most important project any of us will ever manage is our own career. So, the Conference this year will help our members focus their mad project management skills on taking ownership of and driving their own careers. And how PMI Houston will walk beside them as, we hope, their trusted career advisor and partner. Oh, and Early Registration for the Conference is now open. Check it out.
PMI Houston: I’m already hearing about one big new course coming up in April.
Keith: Absolutely, and it’s a good one! Agile is the biggest thing in project management. In April, our longtime star trainer, Eddie Merla, PMP, PMI-ACP, will be offering a live, in-person Prep Course for PMI’s Agile certification. Eddie is also developing an introductory course in Agile for those of us who’d like to learn more about it. Watch for these on our website.
PMI Houston: The PD Team has been very busy! How can our members find out more about these new developments?
Keith: Watch the website. Monitor your emails and Twitter. Important information is coming, so start looking. And if they have any questions, I would be happy to hear from them. They can contact me at [email protected]