PMI Atlanta Chapter - Forums Summaries

"Penetrating The Commercial Transportation Market" by Robert Brainard: February 2024 AEC Forum Summary

Written by: Catherine Binuya, Ed.D.

Presentation Overview 

Merlin Solar, founded in 2012, is now a world-wide leader in solar solutions for mobile, transportation, and grid-tied applications. Their products are seen in applications that span commercial transportation, trucking, marine and the military.

The company stress tests their products in all seven continents under vastly different weather conditions and latitudes to enhance performance capacity levels. Merlin Solar operates out of the U.S., Thailand, the Philippines, and India. Their current market valuation is more than $100 million dollars.

Robert Brainard is the Vice President, General Manager, and Co-founder of Merlin Solar. As the co-inventor of Merlin Solar’s innovative interconnected technology, he also manages the company’s IP portfolio of 75 US and international patents. Their patents include how their solar grids are made, special features, and how grids are attached for application.

Robert himself holds over 50 patents and has written for numerous publications in the fields of solar technologies, optical and telecoms components, materials chemistry, and high TC superconductors.


  • Unique patented design overcomes the rigidity and brittleness of traditional solar panel construction and is lighter weight because it eliminates the need for a glass panel overcoat.
  • Their designs allow the company to manufacture portable, mobile panels such as those carried by soldiers to set up in mobile command posts and have been used in emergency disaster relief events.
  • Their copper webbing design creates more electrical connections (up to 2000+), greater structural integrity, provides more protection.
  • Real-life applications address challenges of generating and storing solar energy under scattered light, shady, hazy, night-time conditions as well as a wide range of extreme climates.
  • The company’s innovative design perspective begins with the consumer’s specific needs in mind, “what problem are we solving for the client?”
  • Merlin Solar’s business model focuses on business operators to achieve a faster path to market.

Next Event

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Architectural, Engineering, & Construction (AEC) forum on Tuesday, March 12, 2024

Register at 

Event Pictures


PMI Atlanta Payment System Improvement

Technology-ImprovementsSquare Payment replaces PayPal to provide secure and convenient payment options online and in-person.

Our volunteers on the Technology Team work behind the scenes to provide efficient and improved systems for our volunteers and members. Our current team has been incredibly busy on this front!

Last Fall, we upgraded our website which brought better security, faster response times, and a cleaner look. And the holidays did not slow them down! 

We have transitioned online and in-person credit card payments from PayPal to Square. Square also offers a variety of payment methods for in-person transactions, including: credit and debit cards, Apply Pay, and Google Pay. With chip and contactless options available, your transactions are more secure and efficient.

All of this translates to less hassle and more protection for our members! If you encounter an issue with the new payment system, please email us!

PMI Atlanta Announces 2023 Fall Scholarship Award Winner

The Atlanta Chapter of The Project Management Institute (, the world’s leading professional membership organization for project managers, announced tthe award winner for the Fall scholarship offered to undergraduate majors enrolled with our university partner, University of North Georgia. Submitted essays were based on the topic “Powering my career with project management skills."  

The Atlanta Chapter chose the essay “Where will I be in five years?” written by student Hugh Pruitt, a freshman at University of North Georgia. Pruitt shared how he thought applying the PMI Talent Triangle would impact his work as a student and his future plans. 

“No matter if I am working on an engineering task, volunteering at my local Humane Society, or holding a club activity at UNG, these PMI Talent Triangle skills are universal to ensure a tremendous result,” remarked Pruitt in his essay. 

About The Scholarship 

PMI Atlanta created an essay-based scholarship of $2500 to be awarded to two students each academic year who are interested in pursuing project management studies and making a difference in our profession. One scholarship will be awarded to an undergraduate student at University of North Georgia this Spring.  

About PMI 

PMI stands for The Project Management Institute.  PMI is the world’s leading project management organization with over 600,000 Global Members and over 300 Local Chapters Internationally. The organization supports professional growth and development of project managers through education, professional development, certification, networking and other initiatives. The PMI Atlanta Chapter celebrated 40 years in 2021! The PMI Atlanta chapter is one of the largest and most dynamic chapters in the world with a leadership team that is diverse in origins, experience, expertise, and thought. Our chapter values are inclusiveness, volunteerism, and servant leadership. We have approximately 6,000 local members. 

Visit us at, and, LinkedInFacebook, and on X @PMInstitute. 

"Project Managing Product Management": November Technology Forum Summary

Presentation Overview: 

Written by Rishea Johnson, MHI, CAPM


Though Project Management and Product Management are two different disciplines, their processes have many similarities. Expand your skillset by reading and understanding how to develop a product from idea to launch through the perspective of a project manager!

Neil Rivenburgh's, Director of Product Management and Operations at Honeywell, presentation focused on the concepts and skills required to lead product teams and own a product throughout the lifecycle. These are ideas and ways of looking at the work that you are be able to apply, in many instances of your own work, and broaden horizons to cover new aspects.

Neil also examined how to align strategically to the business goals, set accurate pricing, and understand your customer mark.


• Products are continuous: ever-evolving cycles that don’t have a defined end.
• Products are circular: continuously learning and adapting to the environment.
• Products are systems: Product thinking allows teams the ability to adjust to unpredictable consumer needs and market demands as each variable occurs.
• Effective product strategy flows from and aligns to the company strategy
• Setting the right price is the difference between having a hit product and a bomb.
• Marketing is about helping people make decisions they already want to make.

Next Event:

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Technology Forum: Tuesday, February 27, 2024.

Register at:

Event Pictures: 



"Change is Only Another Word for Growth": November Healthcare Forum Summary

Written by Rishea Johnson, MHI, CAPM

Presentation Overview: Siwach-Anshu

Change is inevitable, and believe it or not, it doesn’t have to be painful! Continue reading to begin building a change management plan designed for success!

For this month’s forum Anshu Siwach, a Change Management Leader on the North America Business Excellence Team at Philips, discussed why we need change management, how it integrates with Project Management, and what’s required to lead change successfully. Topics that were covered include: types of change, change curve, case for change, stakeholder engagement and empathy.

Anshu described the different types of change, the cases for change, and how stakeholder engagement early on can help drive change. Finally, she drove the evening home with explaining what empathy really is and how it impacts change. The take-home point to remember is to not try walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, but try to understand what it’s like for them to walk a mile in their shoes.


Change is anything but linear, and can follow a path of:
• Stability -> shock -> denial -> anger/blame -> depression -> dialog/bargaining -> exploration -> acceptance

Stakeholder engagement
• What gains or benefits will the change initiative deliver to stakeholders?

• Empathy involves being present and trying to understand the other person’s emotions.

Next Event:

Join us at the next PMI Atlanta Healthcare and Technology joint forum on Wednesday February 21st, 2024

Register at