An Interview with SAME National President Cindy Lincicome

Cindy Lincicome, F.SAME, President & CEO of TLI Construction Inc., was sworn in as the Society’s 103rd National President during the 2022 JETC. A member since 2004, she was invested as a Fellow in 2017 and has held a number of leadership roles at the local, regional, and national levels, including serving as the Centennial Commissioner, National Vice President, Chair of the Membership Community of Interest, Rocky Mountain Regional Vice President, President of the Pikes Peak Post, and Vice President of the Denver Metro Post, Frontier Post, and Pikes Peak Post. She has been awarded the President’s Medal in 2020 and 2015, President’s Coin in 2016, Post Service Medal in 2011, and RVP Medal in 2009 and 2006.

SAME recently chatted with Lincicome to discuss industry-government engagement at the Post level, challenges ahead for the A/E/C industry, and her personal leadership journey in SAME.

SAME: What inspired you to first get involved with SAME, and how has your engagement supported you in your career?

Lincicome: I was a member of the Pikes Peak Post and was amazed by the phenomenal team that dedicated their time and energy to bring incredible monthly events to members. The camaraderie across military and industry representatives was evident in every gathering, as well as the value of the Post’s educational technical programs. I received a personal ask to be the Newsletter Editor serving on the board, and I was hooked! The energy, passion, and capabilities of our all-volunteer membership inspired me to pursue further leadership positions—at one time serving on the Boards of Direction for the Pikes Peak, Denver, and Frontier Posts as Vice President.

As I grew my personal leadership, I learned a lot about the business. I developed life-long relationships; gained leadership, personal, and professional skills; and developed the tools needed to be a successful small business owner. The inherent nature of networking at SAME events allowed me to gain a greater knowledge of the challenges faced by our government in national security infrastructure, partnering, and the value of relationships. Through SAME, I have been blessed with getting to know incredible military and industry leaders who have invested their time to mentor and challenge me, share experiences, and expand my network and capabilities. Over the years, I’ve also had a chance to give back and share my experience and knowledge with new small business owners, veterans, and young professionals entering the A/E/C industry. As well, serving in SAME has allowed me to engage with remarkable female military and industry leaders who instill confidence and encourage me in the realm of what is possible.

SAME: What have you learned in your travels to Posts and opportunities to meet with stakeholders during the last several months?

Lincicome: In 2022, I committed to a dedicated focus on our Posts. After serving as Chair of the Membership Community of Interest and completing my three-year term as Centennial Commissioner, I felt it was important to sustain the momentum of empowering Posts.

It is a privilege in this role to be able to support Post events and provide guidance to help them deliver on the goals outlined in the 2025 SAME Strategic Plan. In my travels, I have met hundreds of dedicated professionals, opened dialogue, and worked collaboratively. I’ve really learned more about the diverse value our Society brings to its members, ranging from technical expertise to building the engineering pipeline through STEM activities, and forging long-term relationships with peers who share the same commitment of service to our national security.

Investing in America’s next generation of STEM professionals has become a vital part of Post activities. Many Posts are identifying and establishing STEM platforms to foster the growth of future young professionals and leaders in the A/E/C industry, as well as building local leader development programs, outreach to trade schools, and expanded scholarship efforts to address the engineering talent and labor shortages.

SAME members take tremendous pride in the contributions they make in their communities. Our Posts have seen increased, and intentional, active participation, with members eager to engage with government partners. We have seen growing outreach to non-federal agencies as well, in the name of strengthening communities and identifying solutions to local issues.

We truly are One Society of vibrant Posts that are relevant locally, while contributing to a common national direction.

SAME: How can SAME enhance its support for the construction sector, which you are addressing through the new Construction Task Force?

Lincicome: In leading a small business construction firm, I share in the challenges our members and government partners face in delivering national security infrastructure projects. We recognize that 2023, with its heightened uncertainty, could be a difficult year even as it offers unprecedented opportunities to support the federal market. Our industry remains significantly short of skilled workers, further exacerbated by a tight labor market.

Even though construction has a strong pipeline of workload, the persistent shortage of capacity is a major challenge. The Associated Builders and Contractors estimates that the industry will need to hire over 700,000 workers, in addition to normal hiring, in order to keep up with demand.

“Your leadership engagement will improve you as a professional, build your corporate and personal brand, and most importantly, continue a century-long tradition of giving back to the profession through SAME.”

By embracing our mission to lead collaboration, SAME is the right organization to be an integrator to align all parties in discussing these challenges. I am confident the Construction Task Force will bring diversity of thought, enabled by strong leadership, to deliver recommendations that will undoubtedly establish a platform to generate further progress and engagement across the construction industry.

SAME: How have you seen industry-government engagement at the Post level be realized this year?

Lincicome: We’ve heard from our service chiefs and federal agency partners that they have record-setting programs underway and need the support of the A/E/C industry. I want all of them to know they can “Count On Us” to bring together both government and industry to unify efforts and increase shared understanding. That happens most effectively where we work and live: in our communities, at our Posts.

By engaging at the Post level, we can help deliver multidisciplined solutions and offer tremendous value to future projects. I am also encouraged by the commitment shown by SAME’s Communities of Interest, Academy of Fellows, Elected Directors, and Regional Vice Presidents to leverage their diverse knowledge and experience to strengthen our Society’s efforts at the local level.

Posts continue to host monthly events with uniformed services and the private sector. However, Posts also are embracing and understand that successful industry-government engagement includes sharing knowledge and best practices, conducting working sessions, building trust, and bringing uniformed engineers, government civilians, and industry together in a variety of ways. Members are participating in sessions to address specific challenges such as resiliency, sea level rise, coastal restoration and storm risk management, CPARs, project partnering, and more. This is the time, and SAME is the place, to get engaged!

SAME: What are the major challenges you see in the coming years for SAME?

Lincicome: SAME was founded on strengthening industry-government engagement, and that remains the cornerstone of our mission. As we begin to think ahead to the 2030 SAME Strategic Plan, I believe it is imperative for us to continue the momentum we have built the last few years, remain focused on industry-government engagement, and adapt to provide thought leadership and solutions for new national security infrastructure challenges.

Nothing in SAME is static. To address future challenges such as workforce availability, natural disaster response and mitigation, and project delivery, we must embrace our role and make full use of our established track record in bringing together technical experts and leading decision-makers, with a singular commitment to service that distinguishes SAME.

SAME: What would you say to those interested in taking on a leadership role?

Lincicome: I would say go for it! The future of SAME belongs to you. Build on our past and be inspired by the potential you have for our profession, our nation, and our Society.

SAME offers incredible leadership opportunities that can augment your career leadership roles, as well as mentoring from collections of seasoned leaders across military, industry, and government. If you are just starting out, volunteer for a role at your local Post, or become involved with a Community of Interest. Then as you gain experience, say yes to new opportunities and challenge yourself. Our world-class Engineering & Construction Camps are another great way to give back and gain leadership experience.

I’ve held many leadership positions throughout the Society. Each experience has made me a resilient leader. Your leadership engagement will improve you as a professional, build your corporate and personal brand, and most importantly, continue a century-long tradition of giving back to the profession through SAME.

I encourage everyone to find their role in volunteer positions. My challenge is to take that first step. Together, we can nurture tomorrow’s leaders of our Society.

SAME: What has been your favorite part of serving as SAME President?

Lincicome: It has been a great honor to be SAME President and join a distinguished list of members who have led the Society since 1920. The most rewarding part has been engaging with members, military partners, stakeholders, and potential members to understand their challenges and learn how we can bring them value. I truly hope my genuine passion and belief in SAME inspires others on their journey as well.

I am excited about the positive impact I believe I have made at all levels within SAME, especially through my 10 years on the Board of Direction. Serving as Society President has allowed me to build on our recent efforts in strengthening industry-government engagement, recognize and establish new value-added services, and inspire the next generation of leaders. I remain encouraged that the new initiatives implemented during my tenure will serve as a strong foundation for the future.