2018 Program

The 2018 ECE Design Conference will bring together nationally recognized experts and thought leaders to highlight best practices and cutting edge research in designing, developing and managing high-performance learning environments for early childhood education.

View the 2018 Conference Schedule

Opening Keynote Speaker | Thursday, April 26, 2018:

Leonard Mlodinow, Physicist & New York Times Best-Selling Author

Leonard Mlodinow was born in Chicago, Illinois, received his PhD in theoretical physics from the University of California at Berkeley, and is the author of five best-sellers. His book The Drunkard’s Walk: How Randomness Rules our Lives was a New York Times best-seller, Editor’s Choice, and Notable Book of the Year, and was short-listed for the Royal Society book award. His book Subliminal won the PEN/Wilson award for literary science writing. His other books include two co-authored with physicist Stephen Hawking – A Briefer History of Time, andThe Grand Design. In addition to his books and research articles, he has taught at Caltech, written for the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and Forbes magazine, among other publications, and for television series such as McGyver and Star Trek: the Next Generation. Learn more: www.leonardmlodinow.com


Keynote Speaker | Friday, April 27, 2018:

Dr. Laura Jana, MD, FAAP, Pediatrician, Author, Associate Professor – Penn State Prevention Research Center

Dr. Laura Jana is a pediatrician, health communicator, and acclaimed parenting and children’s book author with a faculty appointment at Penn State’s Prevention Research Center. Having first collaborated with world-renowned pediatrician, Dr. Benjamin Spock, she has 20+ years experience working with parents, educators, media, academia, government, non-profits and corporations alike.

Committed to insuring that all children grow up safe, healthy, and with the support and skills needed to succeed, Dr. Jana has not only served as Director of Innovation in public health at the University of Nebraska Medical Center and as a longstanding spokesperson for the American Academy of Pediatrics, but spent 10 years as owner/operator of a 200-student educational child care center, served on the AAP’s national executive committee on Early Education & Child Care, and is actively involved as an internationally recognized speaker and consultant on the subject of early education and care. In addition to her award-winning Heading Home with Your Newborn and Food Fights: Winning the Nutritional Challenges of Parenting (both published by the American Academy of Pediatrics), her latest book, The Toddler Brain: Nurture the Skills Today That Will Shape Your Child’s Tomorrow, focuses on early brain and child development during the first 5 years.

Dr. Jana earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Cellular Molecular Biology from the University of Michigan, her MD from Case Western Reserve University, and completed her pediatric internship and residency at the University of California-San Francisco and Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital in Cleveland.


Robin Randall, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, Legat Architects, Principal

Architect, educator, and environmentalist Robin Randall leads Legat Architects’ K-12 Education practice. She has led over 100 K-12 and higher education projects during her 30 years in the industry. Randall founded EDlab, a research engine aimed at achieving better learning environments and understanding how sustainability impacts communities. She also teaches at Judson University and has spoken and written for national conferences and publications about topics such as regenerative design, living laboratories, and curriculum-responsive environments.


Paula Burns Mcevoy, Faia, Leed® Fellow, Leed Faculty, Associate Principal

As Co-director of Perkins+Will’s firmwide Sustainable Design Initiative, Paula McEvoy assures that sustainable ideas are an integral part of the firm’s projects and practices. She has been instrumental in defining sustainability at Perkins+Will and shaping the firm’s commitment to leadership in sustainable design. Key outcomes from this effort include the development of the ground-breaking Precautionary List and Transparency website, the Sustainability Strategic Plans and the Green Operations Plan. She coordinates sustainability efforts across the international firm’s offices and speaks frequently on sustainable design, construction, business practices and visioning. Paula is a registered Architect and demonstrates an involved, hands-on attitude in all phases of the design and construction process with expertise in the design of healthy, high-performance buildings and communities. Paula is a LEED Fellow and LEED Faculty member. She is also a Fellow of The American Institute of Architects, was the 2016 Chair of the AIA National Committee on the Environment (COTE) and Co-chair of the AIA National Materials Knowledge Group.


Melissa McFadgen, AIA, LEED AP, Principal with NAC Architecture

Melissa McFadgen, AIA, LEED AP is a Principal with NAC Architecture and has dedicated her 20-year career to designing educational facilities. She has been involved in over 25 Pre-K through 12 school designs, including several early childhood facilities such as the new Central Valley Early Learning Center. She has lectured on early learning facility design throughout the U.S., including the 2017 Association for Learning Environments LearningSCAPES Conference in Atlanta.

With more than a dozen of her projects having received design awards, Melissa was recently honored as one of the Inland Northwest’s “20 Under 40.” Melissa holds a Bachelors of Environmental Design and a Masters of Architecture from Montana State University. She has been a licensed architect since 2002 and has focused her career on creating spaces that truly impact the communities in which they reside.

By engaging with communities, we create places that advance learning, enhance wellness and enrich lives.


Marcus Adrian, AIA, LEED BD+C, Managing Principal of Mackey Mitchell Architects in St. Louis

Marcus is an Architect and Managing Principal of Mackey Mitchell Architects in St. Louis, Missouri. He has dedicated 20 years of his career to mastering the design of learning spaces, from birth through higher education, and across all levels of human ability. Through his design work at Mackey Mitchell and his own volunteer and research work, Marcus has collaborated with over 20 different organizations that offer services for people with a wide range of developmental needs.

His research and design work have been published and presented widely. In 2009, the American Speech-Language Hearing Association brought Marcus to Capitol Hill to brief members of the 11th US Congress on the fundamentals of classroom acoustics. In 2017 he presented to an audience of 1,800 at TEDx Gateway Arch, and more recently described his life journey and design philosophy on John O’Leary’s national podcast, Live Inspired.
Marcus holds a Bachelor of Architecture from the University of Notre Dame.


Matthew Roeder, AIA, LEED BD+C, Senior Associate with Mackey Mitchell Architects in St. Louis

Matthew Roeder is an Architect and Senior Associate with Mackey Mitchell Architects in St. Louis, Missouri. He has a passion for creating innovative learning environments for early childhood and higher education, including renovation and new construction. His work includes the design of several early child care centers on large corporate campuses, where technical skills and knowledge of early learning centers allowed him to discover the balance between children and their caregivers.

As a deacon at August Gate Church, Matthew has worked closely with church leaders to program and design the renovation of the children’s wing, which will serve the church and the local community when complete. He is currently volunteering as the church’s construction liaison for the transformation of a 90-year-old building.

Matthew was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, where he resides with his wife Lynette and three daughters under the age of four.


Registration is Open!

Registration slots are filling up! Sign up now to secure your seat. Full conference registration is only $195!

View the 2018 Conference Schedule