A crowd gathers around one of the United Association (UA) booths at the Annual MCAA Manufacturer/Supplier Exhibit. The exhibit was held in the Grand Saguaro Ballroom in the J.W. Marriott Desert Ridge Resort and Spa in Scottsdale, Ariz.

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - As is the custom at the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) national convention, the stars come out, and the membership supports the event with raving enthusiasm. A little recession won’t stop 1,900 contractors and United Association (UA) representatives from attending their premier event of the year.

The theme of MCAA ’09 was Learn. Enjoy. Grow. Attendees had the opportunity to learn from big name educators and entertainers such as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, broadcaster Bob Costas, Notre Dame legend Rudy Ruettiger, acclaimed actor Ed Begley, Jr., and political reporter Howard Fineman. In addition to the more than 15 featured speakers, there were approximately 14 other speakers appearing in revolving educational sessions for the MCAA faithful to choose from.


John B. “Jack” Wilhelmi, outgoing MCAA president, emceed most of the meeting activities and was recognized as the “Education Leader” by his peers during the opening session. Tom Koehn, CEO of Waldinger Corp., where Wilhelmi serves as the Omaha division manager, said, “Jack’s efforts have furnished this industry with the leadership of tomorrow.”

Wilhelmi began working on education programs in earnest many years ago, and was very instrumental in growing the Student Chapter program, which has been an extreme success within MCAA. During his term in office, Wilhelmi continued to emphasize the importance of developing young people to serve this industry.

“I am convinced that while our circumstances are challenging, our situation is far from hopeless ... I believe that what each of us needs to do is to rededicate ourselves to being the best leader we know how to be ... We can rely on MCAA’s core competency as the education association,” said Wilhelmi during his opening remarks to the membership.

Wilhelmi further suggested that all members take advantage of the tremendous number of programs available through both MCAA and the Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA), and to invest in their future by hiring at least one student from participating student chapters.

During the five-day convention, several awards were presented and new officers were introduced. The MCAA Distinguished Service Award was given to Professor Tim Wentz, P.E., a teacher from the University Lincoln-Nebraska. During the video-taped history of Wentz’ involvement with MCAA, his wife Marsha said, “His gift and his passion are teaching.” Wentz played a major role in organizing all the student chapter activities of MCAA and has been a prominent figure in the association’s educational programs for many years.

MCAA presented its 2008 Educator of the Year Award to Professor Mike Feutz of Ferris State University during the Awards of Excellence Breakfast.

MCAA’s Career Development Committee selected Feutz for the award based on a combination of mentoring ability, industry knowledge and involvement, and active participation in student chapter program activities.

Since 1998, Feutz has dedicated considerable time and effort to the student members of the Greater Michigan MSCA Student Chapter at Ferris State University. He has organized the chapter’s monthly meetings, field trips to MCAA members’ operations to learn more about the business of contracting, community volunteer programs, trips to the MCAA annual convention and to an annual student conference, the Student Chapter Summit. He has helped the students with fundraising and membership recruitment activities and helped undergraduates find internships and graduates to find full-time positions. This past year, Feutz helped organize and manage a project involving the development of an online database of pipe, connectors and the suppliers of that equipment.

Students from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln look on while one of their classmates tries his hand at virtual welding. The training exhibit was sponsored by the United Association.


Lonnie Coleman assumed the office of president of the MCAA during the association’s annual convention. The presidential gavel was passed from 2008 President Wilhelmi to the new MCAA president during the convention’s closing session.

Coleman is president of Coleman Spohn Corp., a mechanical contractor located in Cleveland.

Appointed to the board of directors in 2002, Coleman is active in the association on both the national and local levels. At the national level, he serves on the executive committee and the board of directors. He is also a past chairman of the government affairs committee.

At the local level, he is active in the MCA of Cleveland, where he served as president, vice president, and treasurer. He also served on the board of directors and the hiring hall committee.

Mark Rogers was elected as senior vice president and treasurer.

Rogers is chief operating officer of West Chester Mechanical Contractors Inc., an HVAC, service, and plumbing contractor that serves the Philadelphia area.

Appointed to the board of directors in 2003, Rogers is active in the association on both the national and local levels. At the national level, he serves on the executive committee and the board of directors. He is chairman emeritus of the education committee and has served on a number of task forces that have developed MCAA education programs. He is a graduate of MCAA’s prestigious Advanced Leadership Institute (ALI). At the local level, Rogers served as president of the MCA of Eastern Pennsylvania. He is also a trustee and serves on several committees.

Robert T. Armistead, P.E., was elected president-elect. Armistead is president of Armistead Mechanical Inc., a fourth-generation mechanical contracting and engineering firm with offices in Waldwick, N.J., and Newburgh, N.Y.

Appointed to the board of directors in 2003, Armistead is active in the association on both the national and local levels. At the national level, he serves on the career development committee and on the mechanical contracting education and research foundation partnership enterprise committee. He also has served on the audit committee. He currently serves on the ACE Mentoring national board of directors and as a trustee on the International Training Fund (ITF).

At the local level, he has served two years each as MCA of New Jersey (MCANJ) president, vice president, treasurer, and MCICNJ treasurer. He is an MCANJ board member, a position he has held for more than 15 years. He also served as chairman of the Education and Marketing Committees and as a member of the ACE/MCICNJ Mentoring Committee.

Armistead is very active in numerous trade organizations and is a trustee for Local 274 and Local 373’s pension, welfare, and annuity funds.

The Mechanical Contractors Association of America Inc. (MCAA) serves the unique needs of approximately 2,500 firms involved in heating, air conditioning, refrigeration, plumbing, piping, and mechanical service.

For more information, visit www.mcaa.org.

Sidebar: Student Chapter Excels

The MCAA Student Chapter at Northeastern University took first prize in MCAA’s 2008–2009 Student Chapter Competition. The competition results were revealed during the MCAA Awards of Excellence Breakfast at the association’s annual convention in Scottsdale, Ariz. The University of Washington Mechanical Contractors Student Chapter took second place. During the competition, 28 student chapter teams prepared proposals for a build-and-spec project - a 73,000-square-foot, two-story hospital in Northern California owned by the Howard family (owners of the world-famous racehorse Sea Biscuit) - a departure from the design-build projects of previous competitions.

The four finalists were selected in mid-January by a panel of judges based on their evaluation and scoring of the written submissions from participating chapters. The other finalists that presented proposals during the convention were from the MCA of Indiana Student Chapter at Purdue University and the Student Chapter for Mechanical/Electrical Specialty Contracting at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln.

The winner of the competition was determined after judging of the oral presentations by Kathleen McCauley of McCauley Mechanical Construction Inc. (Bridgeview, Ill.), Ken Durr of Durr Mechanical Construction Inc. (New York, N.Y.); and John Powell of Marelich Mechanical Co. Inc. (Hayward, Calif.).

Each of the four teams received a handsome trophy and a cash prize as follows: $5,000 to the winning team, $2,500 to the runner-up, and $1,000 to each of the remaining finalists.

For more information about MCAA’s Student Chapter Competition, please contact Ann Mattheis at amattheis@mcaa.org.

Publication date:03/30/2009