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SDA April Meeting: Small Firm Best Practices
Cavignac & Assoc.
San Diego, CA
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Please join us for our April Presentation: Best Practices for the Small/Startup Firm

This meeting will focus on the following three categories:

Risk Management - Dorothy Amundson, Risk Advisor from Cavignac & Associates will discuss the importance of using written contracts and what a basic Terms and Conditions should be used.  She will also explain how your everyday business practices affect your exposure to risk; how to avoid litigation; and how to select your projects wisely!

Marketing/Business Development - Catherine McCullough, President and CEO of McCullough Landscape Architecture, will discuss the "Four P's of Marketing" and will also explain why a marketing business plan is good strategic exercise for an architectural firm.  Catherine will share the success story of her and her husband's small, start-up firmnow celebrating 12 years in business!and discuss the importance of networking and industry affiliations.

Financial Management - Often the most daunting aspect of setting up a new design firm is how to manage its accounting needs.  Kacie Watt of Studio E Architects will discuss the basic steps of setting up your firm's books using QuickBooks; how to select a CPA and a bookkeeper who understands your business; and an overview of time accounting and firm financial reporting.  

Dorothy Amundson, CIC, PWCA
Account Executive

In 1984, Dorothy obtained an Associate degree in Office Systems Technology from Atlantic Community College in New Jersey.  She began her insurance career that year in Atlantic City, NJ as a claims assistant with a large commercial agency.  During her many years in the insurance industry, Dorothy has worked in the capacity of a claims manager, customer service representative, professional liability department manager and account executive.

In 1990 Dorothy moved to Kentucky and joined Tyler & Associates, which specializes in insurance programs for design professionals, accountants and lawyers.  While there, she was part of a team that worked closely with the Kentucky AIA and the Kentucky Society of Professional Engineers assisting society members with loss prevention and insurance issues.

In June 1997, Dorothy moved to California and joined Cavignac & Associates as an Account Executive specializing in professional liability for architects, engineers, environmental consultants, lawyers and accountants.  Dorothy received the Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC) designation in 2008.  She is a member of the Professional Liability Agents Network (PLAN), the Independent Insurance Agents & Brokers (IIAB) and Society of Design Administrators (SDA).

Dorothy is a member of the Wagon Wheel Natural History Association, which raises funds for the Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park.  The funds are used to educate youth to understand the importance of preserving undeveloped areas and migration corridors for the original wild inhabitants of Southern California.

Catherine M. McCullough, CPSM

A graduate of the marketing program at Fashion
Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM) in Los Angeles

Catherine joined husband David at McCullough Landscape Architecture (MLA) in 2001. Prior to joining
McCullough Landscape Architecture, Catherine was Marketing Director for the Westfield Corporation's San Diego super-regional shopping center, UTC. This is where she utilized her skills in branding, promotions/public relations, and project management. In 2002, Catherine became President and Chief Executive Officer of MLA, allowing the firm to become a woman-owned, Small Business Enterprise (SBE) by the State of California. With expertise in many market sectors, MLA's project list expands into hospitality, retail and entertainment, as well as mixed-use and institutional properties. Designing from their studio-style office, capabilities stretch across the entire state of California.

Catherine's current responsibilities include all marketing and business development efforts, as well as overseeing the financial management and organization of the firm. She has held a Board Position for the last six years for the San Diego Chapter of the Society for Marketing Professional Services (SMPS), where she holds a certification as a Certified Professional Services Marketer (CPSM). In her spare time, Catherine serves as Chapter President of the San Diego FIDM Alumni Association, Neighborhood Coordinator for her small uptown community, volunteers at her children's school, and taxis her kids to soccer or softball practice.

Kacie Watt

Since 2004, Kacie has been on the team at Studio E Architects as its Office Manager.  Her duties include all aspects of the firm's financial and business needs: financial management and reporting, accounts receivable, accounts payable, payroll, project billing.  
Kacie has been a member of SDA San Diego since 2007, and has served as the Corresponding Secretary 2009  2010 and Treasurer 2012  2013.   She holds Bachelor of Accountancy degree from the University of Phoenix.

*Meal Provided
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Cavignac & Assoc. (View)
450 B Street, Suite 1800
San Diego, CA 92101
United States

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Education > Business

Kid Friendly: No
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: Yes!


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