How it all began:

The AEC Professionals Circle was founded by Shallon Gammon in December 2008, starting with a group of 17 people. Within a few years, the circle grew to include more than 5,000 members. Impressive for sure, but, for anyone who’s ever known or worked with Shallon, it’s evident her success with the A/E/C group is neither an accident nor a surprise.

A graduate of Parsons School of Design, Shallon began her career at a global architectural firm, Hart Howerton, where she developed and managed a bustling graphics department. Over the course of her nine years at the firm, Shallon grew accustomed to working in an interdisciplinary environment, interfacing daily with strategists, planners, architects, landscape architects, engineers and designers. Her dynamic personality, infectious enthusiasm and level-headed “can do” attitude made her a natural connector, allowing her to effortlessly liaise with people from various fields. Through referrals, she scored enough side jobs to branch out on her own, eventually founding an A/E/C friendly design firm, Guiding Graphics, in 2007.

When the economy took a hit, the A/E/C industry, like many other industries, was devastated. People were getting laid off left and right—and Shallon wanted to do something to help. Gathering up all the people she knew who had been laid off, she agreed to organize a monthly networking event to help the recently unemployed make connections that might lead to job opportunities. As promised, events were organized, connections were made, and many of the people who attended these early gatherings ended up finding a job. Naturally, word began to spread and attendance steadily grew. When the AEC Professionals Circle began to flourish, well-known companies saw opportunities to gain exposure for their products and services and agreed to sponsor AEC events. Month by month, the events got a little more glamorous—and were turning out to be a win-win for all involved.

BENEFITING from Shallon’s careful stewardship and marketing know-how, her casual gatherings quickly became the “it” event of the month for New York City’s best and brightest architects, engineers, and construction professionals. By investing enormous energy in relationship building and acting unselfishly to help others get a leg up when times got tough, Shallon has organized a thriving network of professionals—and her own reputation and success, much deservedly, has grown along with it.

“I truly believe,” Shallon insists, “that if you do a good deed for someone else, expecting nothing in return—it comes back around. I believe we are stronger as a team, as a network, than any of us are on our own. If we stick together and help one another, we can all succeed. This is really the spirit behind the AEC group. I want to bring all the industries together—everyone involved in building—and provide a wonderful space for people to interact. It’s amazing how things happen…You just never know where that next referral will come from.”