DANA POINT, CA — The 16th Annual Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA) Educational Conference was held here recently at the Laguna Cliffs Marriot. Close to 400 participants gathered with MSCA officials to reflect on the state of the country and the industry, and look to the future and its opportunities.

The opening session began with the national anthem. Following that, MSCA chairman Don Batz asked the attendees for a brief moment of silence for the recent American tragedy.

Batz then told the audience that now, more than ever, contractors must work together and prepare for the future.

“We are fortunate to be in the service industry,” Batz said, explaining that the mechanical service industry will always be needed. “As an industry we need to prepare for changing times.”

To do this, Batz said that contractors must work closely with their local Journeyman Apprentice Training Center (JATC). He also said, that “recruiting remains a challenge. Every contractor must become a spokesman for our industry and make recruitment a number-one priority.”

Smitty Belcher, president of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA), said that in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks, faith and education are more important than ever.

“I have great hope we will overcome. We all believe in the power of education,” Belcher said. “Without continued contractor education, we would fall behind in the industry.”

A Look At The Past Year

The opening session then focused on the accomplishments of MSCA over the last year, including an increase in membership.

MSCA was presented with the American Society of Association Executives Summit Award for Project Home Again. Now in its fourth year, the project is a partnership between MSCA and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and Craft-mark Identification System.

MSCA contractors post the pictures of missing children on their service vans along with a number the public can call if they have any information on the children. So far, 11 of the 31 children have been located using the system.

Next, MSCA presented its Spence O’Brien Award of Excellence to Don House, United Association (UA) international representative and director of hvac services. This honor is awarded to a member who has demonstrated a strong commitment to service.

Finally, keynote speaker Desi Williamson, a former athlete at the University of Minnesota, closed the opening session with a motivational presentation on how contractors can improve their businesses and encourage their own personal growth.

Williamson spoke of his disadvantaged youth and explained that he could not turn his life around until someone told him he could succeed. He told contractors the same applies to them; they must reinforce a positive outlook in order to succeed.

Williamson also talked about change and pointed out how all companies and individuals say they are “adapting to change.” The motivational speaker said that you should not just be adapting to change, but creating change.

“Things change when you change,” Williamson said.

Publication date: 10/29/2001