The Manufacturer/Supplier Council Exhibit is a popular attraction at the MCAA Convention.
ORLANDO, Fla. - Education and networking will be the focus of the Mechanical Contractors Association of America's (MCAA's) 2004 annual convention, to be held at the Yacht & Beach Convention Center at Walt Disney World Feb. 29-March 4.

In addition to a series of educational sessions, those attending should plan to be invigorated and informed by some top-notch speakers, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former Senator Bob Dole.

And then there's always the popular Manufacturer/Supplier Council Exhibit, which this year will have an MCAA Education Aisle devoted to the association's abundant educational programs.

In short, there will be plenty to see, hear, and learn. The convention is designed to help contractor members boost company profitability, improve management skills, and enhance leadership strategies. There will also be plenty of networking opportunities, as there are several social events planned during the convention.

Leadership Insights

Giuliani is being asked to remark on his two terms as mayor of New York City and detail his efforts to improve the city with his ideas, management, and goal-driven style. In eight years, he reportedly reduced crime by 57 percent, cut welfare rolls in half, reduced taxes by $2.5 billion, and created a record number of new jobs. Of course, he is expected to touch upon the tragic events of Sept. 11, 2001.

Former Senator Bob Dole is expected to provide a witty take on both the important and frivolous aspects of present-day America, while Frank Abagnale, whose story was told on film in Steven Spielberg's 2002 Catch Me if You Can, is scheduled to share his story of how a former con man became an FBI consultant.

Educational Sessions

In addition to general sessions, MCAA 2004 will feature a number of educational sessions designed to address management and leadership topics. Some of the topics scheduled include:

  • "Drugs, Terrorism and Crime," presented by General Barry R. McCaffrey, who serves as a national security and terrorism analyst for NBC News and is the Olin-Bradley Distinguished Professor of International Security Studies at the United States Military Academy.

  • "The New Journalism: My Experience as an Embedded Reporter," presented by Dr. Bob Arnot, NBC special foreign correspondent reporting from the front lines of major foreign developments.

  • "Coaching, Criticism, and Discipline Skills for Executives," presented by Michael Scott, who is expected to touch on the skills and strategies necessary for dealing with unacceptable employee behavior directly, quickly, and effectively. He will also detail methods to prevent this behavior from occurring in the first place.

  • "The Rise and Fall of the American Presidency," presented by presidential historian Michael Beschloss, who is to explore how the nature of the presidency has changed over the years.

    Meanwhile, subjects specific to the mechanical construction, plumbing, and service industries will also be highlighted. These include:

  • "2004 Mechanical Construction Industry Forecast," presented by FMI Corporation Managing Director Hugh Rice.

  • "Liability Reduction and Risk Management: What Role Does Technology Play?" to be presented by Michael Ingardia, founder and president of Systems Management Consultants Inc. in Overland Park, Kan.

  • "Reducing Loss Through Effective Fleet Management" is to be taught by Ray Martin, a member of CNA's Risk Control Department for more than 25 years, who is scheduled to provide an up-to-date assessment of the primary factors affecting fleets in the construction industry today.

  • "Microbiological Management Plan for the Construction Industry" will focus on the specific concerns that mechanical contractors need to consider, particularly during the design and specification stages of construction, to avoid possible indoor air quality issues, including mold. Presenter Patrick O'Donnell is president of Enviro Team in Pompano Beach, Fla.

  • "Five Key Trends for the Future of the Mechanical Contracting Industry" will be presented by researcher and futurist Atul Dighe and Mechanical Contracting Education and Research Foundation (MCERF) President Bob FitzGerald.

    Students To Compete

    Another popular function scheduled is the MCAA Student Competition. This year, all 28 of MCAA's student chapters participated, but only four teams made it to the finals in Orlando - student chapters from California State Polytechnic University at Pomona, Georgia Tech, Illinois State University, and Purdue University.

    Each team will deliver a 20-minute oral presentation consisting of a 15-minute formal presentation and five minutes of questions from the panel of judges. The subject of the competition is the construction of a 14,000-square-foot educational facility located on a hypothetical college campus in Miami.

    The judges will score the presentations to determine the first- and second-place winners, who will receive $5,000 and $2,500 respectively. The other two teams will each receive $1,000.

    Hands-On Exhibits

    Last, but certainly not least, contractors will have the opportunity to see, touch, and explore the latest products and services at the annual Manufacturer/Supplier Council Exhibit, which will showcase the products and services of MCAA's Supplier Partners.

    Key executives from these companies will be on hand to discuss contractors' experiences with their products and services, and how they can help contractors improve their productivity and profitability.

    In conjunction with the exhibitors, the association is also planning to offer an MCAA Education Aisle, which the association is calling its "one-stop" source of information on MCAA.

    Booths will feature information on MCAA education opportunities, the Institute for Project Management (IPM), management methods manuals, National Education Initiative (NEI), political action committee, Mechanical Service Contractors of America (MSCA), and more.

    The theme for the 2004 event is "Experience the Experience" - and it appears there will be plenty to experience, once again.

    Publication date: 02/23/2004