Lonnie Coleman, 2009-2010 president of MCAA, told members during the opening session, “If we don’t portray ourselves as market leaders in new markets, others will do so,” referencing the influence that general contractors, engineers, and outside specialty trades may exert on the mechanical trade if the HVAC mechanical community is slow to act.

SAN FRANCISCO - The Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) President Lonnie Coleman opened the association’s 121st annual convention to cheers of appreciation from more than 1,700 attendees. The youth choir Voena moved the audience, while a surprise video of Coleman speeding through the streets of San Francisco in a car chase caused waves of laughter. Coleman delivered an inspirational message about the challenges confronting our industry and how MCAA is helping its members to overcome those challenges to ensure their continued success.

Coleman then presented MCAA’s highest honor - the Distinguished Service Award - to Steve Shirley of University Mechanical & Engineering Contractors (El Cajon, Calif.) in recognition of his many contributions to MCAA as a member of its board of directors, technology and education committees, a frequent presenter at landmark educational offerings, and, more recently, his leadership in educating MCAA members about Building Information Modeling (BIM).

Coleman welcomed the Honorable Condoleezza Rice, former Secretary of State, who shared her insights and perspectives on current national and world events, and the value and importance of education. The future of the industry was on prominent display in the afternoon as the finalists in the 2009–2010 Student Chapter Competition took the stage to present their project proposals for cash and glory.

The entire meeting was sprinkled with celebrity speakers, professional educators, and members of the MCAA organization who provided fellow contractors with peer-tested business strategies. In addition to Rice, among the more notable celebrities were U.S. Airways flight No. 1549 Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, San Francisco 49er NFL coach Mike Singletary, economist Brian Beaulieu, and the multi-generational band Chicago, which entertained members during the Golden Lights Gala evening event.

Participation in recreational activities never takes a back seat during the MCAA national convention, and 2010 was no exception. Several hundred people turned out for the annual 5K fun run/walk sponsored each year by Anvil. The links were also full for a shotgun start on the Presidio and Harding Park golf courses, an event sponsored by Victaulic and Carrier. The annual tennis tournament, sponsored by Nibco, offered a mixed doubles, round-robin tournament at the San Francisco Tennis Club. Winners for all events were announced toward the end of the meeting during the annual Awards of Excellence breakfast.

A party in San Francisco would not be complete without a big dose of China Town revelry. MCAA annual convention attendees were entertained by dancers during an evening festivity at the luxurious San Francisco Marriott Marquis.


Coleman has been a charismatic leader of the MCAA organization, especially during his term as president, and his comments were greeted with nodding heads and sympathetic ears.

“This industry has truly been my bridge to success,” said Coleman, borrowing a line from the theme of the national convention as he opened his remarks. He then told the audience of a vision for renewed optimism in the economic recovery.

“There are glimpses of hope, but our industry still lags the recovery by too much. I do believe a broad upturn will come … our future will not look like our past … we must look for that next bridge to the future,” he said.

Coleman suggested that me- chanical contractors must diversify and seek different business opportunities because only one-fifth of the cost of buildings is in new construction. The maintenance and service of existing buildings will be critical to MCAA members’ success during a time when new construction in most commercial, industrial, and institutional market segments is slowing, according to Coleman.

“If we don’t portray ourselves as market leaders in new markets, others will do so,” said Coleman, referencing the influence that general contractors, engineers, and outside specialty trades may exert on the mechanical trade if the HVAC mechanical community is slow to act.

Every year, the MCAA convention is supported by a number of sponsor-members of the manufacturer-supplier council who help cover the costs of social and recreational events, special sessions, giveaways, and other services that make the convention memorable. Benefactors included CNA; Ferguson, a Wolseley company; Grinnell Mechanical Products by Tyco; Johnson Controls; and Sloan Valve Co. Major sponsors included Anvil International, Baltimore Aircoil Co., Bradford White Corp., Carrier Corp., Daikin, Erico, Evapco, Milwaukee Valve Co., Mueller Industries, Nibco, Siemens, Victaulic, Viega, Weldbend Corp., and Zurn Industries. Supporters included Apollo Valves, Charlotte Pipe & Foundry, Parker Legris Transair, QuickPen International, Jay R. Smith Mfg. Co., and Trane.

- Some information pulled from MCAA Reports.

Publication date: 06/14/2010