CHICAGO, IL — Stephen Lamb, CAE, executive vice president of the Chicago Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA), has been working to position the organization as the “Education Association.” The Chicago MCA has made educating members its top priority, according to Lamb.

“Education is vital to businesses if they want to utilize the full potential of their employees and catapult their business growth,” stressed Lamb. “We take education very seriously.” The MCA has offered educational programs in every topic of interest to its members, including finance, personnel, marketing, project management, and business etiquette.

The Chicago MCA Fall Business Conference in South Florida featured America’s most published author on etiquette, Marjabelle Young Stewart, in an educational seminar on “Executive Dining.”

“We have researched almost every aspect of business that would propose an opportunity for education,” said Lamb. “One of the areas of business often overlooked is social interaction. Many executives do not realize the devastating effect that poor etiquette can have on a business transaction. Proper manners indicate good upbringing, polish, and respect for others.”

According to the Chicago MCA, etiquette has been a fading art since the rebellious era that began in the 1960s. Today, however, etiquette is making a comeback and, indeed, is seen as an essential business tool that many colleges are adding to their curriculums. The New York University Stern School of Business offers etiquette lessons as part of its regular curriculum and summer programs.

The MCA fall conference also included presentations from experts on handling effective branding strategies, excellence in leadership, and the generation mix in the workplace. Among other noted speakers, Bruce Tulgan, an advisor to business leaders around the world, spoke to conference attendees on managing the generation gap between Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y.

Lamb has compiled an unusually strong faculty of experts and teachers for MCA’s Programs of Study. Over 70 classes, designed to give members an edge in business, are offered through the regular education program. Time managements skills, negotiating skills, computer skills, job costing and accounting, contract law, and marketing strategies are a few of the diverse range of courses the MCA offers.

Nationally recognized experts like Robert Laser, who developed negotiating skills programs utilized by companies such as Chevron, GTE, UPS, and Intel, and Cyndi Maxey, whose clients include Nestle Foods, Spiegel, and Ameritech, conduct classes for the MCA. Several college professors are also among the MCA faculty roster.

New this year is an executive forum that offers “heir apparents” advice on the most challenging aspects of managing today’s mechanical contracting firms.

“I came from an education background,” says Lamb. “And I firmly believe that if we stop educating ourselves, we stop growing. It’s my job to help my members keep growing — in their businesses and their personal lives.”

The MCA of Chicago serves about 400 union mechanical contracting firms in the Chicago area, whose members employ nearly 8,000 Local Union 597 pipe fitters and HVACR service technicians. For more information about the programs the MCA of Chicago offers, call 312-384-1220.

Publication date: 12/09/2002