Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association (SMACNA), Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA) and National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) all announced their respective innovators of the year at their first collaborative MEP Innovation Conference in Tampa, Florida in January.

On the sheet metal side of the event, SMACNA announced Dee Cramer of Holly, Michigan, was their first innovator of the year. The award was presented by Joseph Lansdell, former SMACNA national president and chair of the conference.

“Innovation is happening throughout the sheet metal trade, but there are a few contractors that really stand out for their knowledge, attitude, strategic approach, and adaptability,” says Lansdell, who is also the president of Poynter Sheet Metal in Indiana. 

“The Company I am thinking of adds value to customers and strives to be their partners, helping them save time and money again and again … using design/build and integrated project delivery to increase customer satisfaction early on in a project’s life span while eliminating any potential issues on the job site,” Lansdell says. “New technologies include new processes, and Dee Cramer exemplifies an innovative and forward-thinking HVAC business.”

VP of preconstruction for Dee Cramer, Steve Hunt, attended the conference and accepted the award on his company’s behalf. 

“We had two of our company managers attend, and one of those managers, our BIM manager, did a presentation with an electrical contractor from Texas on building information modeling,” Hunt says, explaining the conference gave his company an opportunity to engage with other innovation leaders in construction. 

“We had people from SMACNA and NECA presenting together that never even knew each other before the last six months,” Hunt adds.

Dee Cramer was one of the first contractors in Michigan to start downloading to fabrication equipment and is a leader in BIM modeling. President Matt Cramer says innovation has been one of Dee Cramer’s core values since his grandpa started the company.

“We like people here who are willing to try new things that might not be perfected, to try and improve our business processes,” Cramer says, concluding he shares this philosophy with representatives from NECA and MCA that also won innovator of the year awards. “We're blessed to be working with great people that don't poo-poo new technology. They give it a shot even though it's not out the gate yet.”