Richard J. Cramer Sr. of Holly, Mich., a former Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) president, was inducted into the Michigan Construction Hall of Fame, Oct. 25, 2012, located at Ferris State University’s Granger Center for Construction and HVACR. He was honored for his pioneering uses of technology and leadership in the sheet metal, HVAC, and construction industries.

Taking the helm of his father’s $3.5 million heating company in the late 1970s, Cramer used strategic planning and lean construction techniques to elevate the firm, Dee Cramer Inc., to a $28 million enterprise. In 2011, the firm reached $44 million.

Cramer also pioneered 3-D coordination and building information modeling (BIM), helping to build the nation’s first virtual projects at two General Motors facilities. The technologically advanced work done by Dee Cramer on these jobs saved GM significant time and money and are now case studies on the benefits of virtual technology and BIM that continue to be enhanced and duplicated by the construction industry today, said SMACNA. Dee Cramer continues to be a pioneer and recognized industry leader in BIM, working for clients across the United States.

Inspired by his father’s (Dee Cramer) commitment to giving back to the industry, Cramer distinguished himself by serving the sheet metal and air conditioning industry, both locally and nationally. He served as national president of SMACNA from 2006-2007, plus he served two nonconsecutive, four-year terms on the association’s board of directors. Inducted into SMACNA’s prestigious College of Fellows in 1994, Cramer’s industry involvement spanned a 40-year period, serving on more than 35 national committees and task forces.

Long a proponent of the skilled trades, he promoted this career path as a viable alternative to high school students who possess a creative vision to build things. He served as president of the Michigan Chapter of SMACNA twice and likewise served on its board for two separate terms. In addition, he served as president of the Flint Area Association of Sheet Metal Contractors for more than 20 years. He served as a trustee on the Sheet Metal Workers Local 7 Zone 4 Pension Fund since 1965. His commitment represents an unprecedented 47-year commitment to the trust fund.

Selection of Michigan Construction Hall of Fame inductees is based on nominees’ technical, managerial, and leadership achievements within construction and related industries, as well as service to the professional community.

The Michigan Construction Hall of Fame is located in Ferris State University’s Granger Center in Big Rapids, Mich., and serves as a permanent place for leaders of the Michigan construction industry to be recognized and appreciated.

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Publication date: 11/19/2012