Enthusiastic About Education

December 22, 2008
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Jack Wilhelmi

It’s no secret that Jack Wilhelmi is enthusiastic about education. By the time he completes his term as president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), he will have logged 98,000 miles and 105 days of travel around the world to share this enthusiasm.

During those travels, he talks about the progress MCAA has made this year in the areas he’s most passionate about: estimating and career development. He also discusses continuing efforts to rebuild market share and the excellent relationship between MCAA and its affiliated local associations.

When Wilhelmi’s term as MCAA president began, he wanted others in the industry to share his passion for estimating. That wish sowed the seeds for a conference designed to provide those with bottom-line responsibility an understanding of strategic estimating fundamentals.

He helped create a program that conveyed the essence and importance of responding quickly to requests for proposals, especially those with less-than-complete specifications and plans, with the latest techniques and technologies. Given that 100 percent of the attendees said they returned home from the conference with at least one “Aha!” and 95 percent would recommend the seminar to others, Wilhelmi met his objective.

The success of this event led the active contractor to propose the development of an Institute for Project Acquisition (IPA), a world-class, comprehensive educational program designed to enable participants to systematically create, manage, and use a process for the securing of projects and opportunities. He is chairing the committee charged with developing the content for the IPA, which will debut Nov. 8-13, 2009.

“It’s an ill-kept secret that my passion is estimating,” he said. “I find it to be the most important, exciting, and challenging phase of the business. Over the years, I have seen many changes in the way we estimate. But I have never seen as many opportunities to improve your bottom line by incorporating emerging technologies into your estimating process as I see right now.”

As a past chairman of MCAA’s Career Development Committee, Wilhelmi spent years urging young people to join the mechanical contracting industry. He continues to champion the many benefits available to students and contractors who participate in the initiative’s various offerings, which include an annual Student Chapter Summit, a scholarship program, and the annual Student Chapter Competition.

“MCAA member companies can be the direct beneficiaries of the investments we make in today’s students,” said Wilhelmi. “A great benefit of MCAA membership is the opportunity to participate in our career development program, meet and mentor the most talented young people, and take steps to recruit the rising stars that are the best fit for your company’s future needs.”

Jack Wilhelmi’s desire to share his passion for estimating sowed the seeds for a conference that provided those with bottom-line responsibility with an understanding of strategic estimating fundamentals.

MCAA currently has 44 student chapters that expose the best young talent to the tremendous opportunities in the mechanical contracting industry, with three additional chapters slated to receive their charters during the MCAA 2009 annual convention in Scottsdale, Ariz.

Each day, Wilhelmi builds on the work of his predecessors in collaborating with MCAA’s labor partner, the United Association, to build market share and capture new and emerging markets. MCAA’s continuing focus on green and sustainable construction is just one example.

“In this emerging market, we have an opportunity to do things not only differently but better, and it is the right thing to do. And by doing so, we will create many good jobs for our workforce,” said Wilhelmi.

To date, Wilhelmi has visited numerous local affiliated associations, which are vital to MCAA’s success. These organizations serve members by providing crucial local programs, products, and services. They also participate in many MCAA activities, from serving as hosts for meeting activities to mentoring students at nearby construction management or engineering programs.

Sidebar: 2008 HVACR Newsmaker

Name: John B. (“Jack”) Wilhelmi
Title: President
Company: Waldinger Corp. and MCAA
Location: Omaha, Neb.
Notable Quote: “… I have never seen as many opportunities to improve your bottom-line by incorporating emerging technologies into your estimating process as I see right now.”

Publication date: 12/22/2008

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