SAN ANTONIO — The Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) marked a theme of “Unconventional Thinking” for business growth in the 124th anniversary year of the organization.
The Alamo city hosted approximately 2,000 MCAA members and guests at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort. Highlights of the convention included well-recognized keynote speakers and entertainers: retired U.S. naval aviator and astronaut Capt. Mark Kelly, entertainment executive Michael Eisner, Navy SEAL Eric Greitens, and country music star Martina McBride. In addition, featured education session speakers included Frank Abagnale, fraud and identity theft specialist and the person that actor Leonardo DiCaprio portrayed in the movie “Catch Me if You Can”; economist, Greg Ip; business technology guru, Scott Klososky; and TaylorMade CEO, Mark King.
Educational sessions focused on anticipated economic and market conditions for the next few months, creative strategies for building a brand and business, tips and tactics for safeguarding business, and personal finances.
The MCAA Annual Convention always begins with a couple of days of executive committee and board of director meetings — a time to tweak and discuss the business of the association for the coming year. In addition to those closed-executive sessions, approximately 22 educational and keynote presentations were offered.
Aside from McBride’s evening of entertainment, there were two other large social events with entertainment, food, and beverage. MCAA president William J. “Mac” Lynch, of Wm. F. Lynch Co. Inc., Worcester, Mass., opened the convention with his remarks about the association, but not before starring in his own version of the 1964 spaghetti western, “A Fistful of Dollars.” In keeping with recent MCAA convention tradition, Lynch was called into acting duty and offered a passable impersonation of Clint Eastwood, though he acknowledged that, “A lot of laughs were had during the filming, and mostly at my expense.”
Lynch summarized his past year in office during the opening session, and emphasized that MCAA was a home for mechanical contractors, suppliers, and manufacturers. He called the convention a “Welcome home to MCAA — a place where people had worked hard, together, for 124 years, to build strong businesses.”
MCAA’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service award, was presented to Robert J. Durr Sr. of Durr Mechanical Construction Inc., New York. He was recognized for his impact on the New York mechanical contracting market, completing work at the New York Port Authority’s World Trade Center, among other projects. Durr and his entire family took the stage during his acceptance of the prestigious award.
“I think MCAA is the best association in the country, and I wish others would follow the example set by this organization,” he said.
MCAA honored members that achieved exemplary safety performance with its Safety Excellence awards. Winners included Southwest Town Mechanical, Orland Park, Ill., (Category I); CFI Mechanical Inc., Houston, (Category II); Greiner Brothers Inc., Indianapolis (Category III); Baker Group, Des Moines, Iowa, (Category IV); and Matrix SME, Eddystone, Pa., (Category V). The program was cosponsored by MCAA and CNA Insurance Cos.
Lynch and Troy Aichele, chairman, Career Development committee, presented an MCAA student chapter charter to the MCA student chapter at the University of Binghamton, Binghamton, N.Y. The university’s group was recognized as MCAA’s 48th student chapter.
MCAA also awarded trophies and cash prizes to the finalists of this year’s Student Chapter Competition. First prize and $5,000 went to the Milwaukee School of Engineering student chapter, and the $2,500 prize for second place went to the student chapter at the University of Washington in Seattle. The MCA of Indiana student chapter at Purdue University was recognized as the 2012 Student Chapter of the Year, and professor Blake Wentz, of the Milwaukee School of Engineering, was honored as the 2012 Educator of the Year — the second year in a row that he has been so honored.
During the closing session of MCAA 2013, Mark McManus, general secretary-treasurer, United Association, updated attendees on the latest developments concerning workforce training, market recovery efforts, and apprentice recruiting programs. Highlights included the UA’s Veterans in Piping program, which provides apprenticeship training to military veterans who recently completed their service, and the cost of one hour of labor seminars, led by past MCAA president Mark Rogers and board of directors’ member Adam Snavely.
Michael R. Cables of Kinetic Systems Inc., Fremont, Calif. was named MCAA’s new president and Lynch, outgoing president, delivered farewell remarks after presenting plaques of appreciation to retiring board of directors members Rogers, Charlie Butts Jr., and Frank Schaetzke. Joining MCAA’s board of directors were Keith Atteberry, Marelich Mechanical Co., Hayward, Calif.; Bob Durr Jr., Durr Mechanical Construction Inc., New York; Brian Helm, Mechanical Inc., Freeport, Ill.; and Mike Shinn, Shinn Mechanical Inc., Kent, Wash. Mike Farrington, CNA Insurance Cos., will represent the manufacturer/supplier council. Tom Stone, Braconier Plumbing & Heating Co. Inc., Englewood, Colo., became the newest member of the executive committee, where he will serve as vice president/assistant treasurer.
MCAA 2014 is scheduled for the JW Marriott Desert Ridge in Scottsdale, Ariz., March 8-13, 2014. For more information, visit www.mcaa.org.
Publication date: 5/13/2013