PALM SPRINGS, Calif. - The Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association Inc. (SMACNA), an international trade association representing 4,500 contributing contractor firms, met at the J.W. Marriott Resort and Spa, Palm Springs, Calif. for its 62nd annual convention. In an effort to address the multifaceted capabilities and expertise of its membership, SMACNA created four specialty forums designed for architectural, HVAC, residential, and industrial contractors.

Additional business and education sessions spotlighted a wide variety of topics including safety, legislation, and labor productivity. National television broadcaster and NFL sports personality Terry Bradshaw and senior news analyst Cokie Roberts added their celebrity insights during keynote presentations. The final night's entertainment was provided by Credence Clearwater Revisited.

Terry Bradshaw, sports broadcaster and former quarterback of the Pittsburgh Steelers, entertains the audience at the SMACNA national conference.

Meeting Minutes

The four-day meeting began Sunday, Oct. 16 with golf and tennis outings in the morning and a College of Fellows afternoon meeting followed by the opening gala reception. Monday, the first full day of meetings, was peppered with an assortment of business and personal development sessions.

Bradshaw, the former NFL quarterback who led the Pittsburgh Steelers to four Super Bowl championships, displayed his Louisiana homespun wit and wisdom following the opening lunch and program. His message was primarily that people should have fun and not take themselves too seriously. Bradshaw obviously had fun on stage and his self-deprecating style of humor provided for lots of smiles and laughter.

Monday culminated with the annual Political Action Committee (PAC) reception, silent auction, and dinner.

Cokie Roberts, political analyst for ABC News and a senior news analyst for National Public Radio, and a winner of two Emmys for her broadcasting excellence, was featured during the spouse breakfast on Tuesday. Quite the attraction, many principals opted to skip out on other morning activities to join their spouses to hear Roberts' presentation.

Programs during the three days, Monday through Wednesday, offered a variety of individual session topics for SMACNA attendees to choose from including: The Impact of an SMWIA (Sheet Metal Workers' International Association) Merger or Consolidation, Risk Transfer Trouble Spots in Your Insurance Coverage, Return on Safety Investment, HVAC Contractors Forum, Pre-construction Planning, Measuring Contractors' Loss of Labor Productivity, Industrial Contractors Forum, Architectural Sheet Metal Forum, and a Residential Contractors Forum.

Incoming SMACNA president Keith Wilson (left) takes over official duties from outgoing president Kevin Harpring.

Focus On HVAC

Especially popular sessions included this year's HVAC Contractors Forum, which provided timely information on the issues affecting the HVAC industry including early startup of equipment.

Ted Kuczynski, International Training Institute administrator, and a panel of SMACNA contractors discussed service-contracting training initiatives including environmental service technician training, sound and vibration, the Testing Adjusting Balancing Bureau (TABB), and commissioning.

Also, during the session, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System caught the attention of attendees. LEED was described during the session as a national consensus-based, market-driven building rating system designed to accelerate the development and use of environmentally friendly or "green" building practices.

Eli Howard, group director of SMACNA Technical Resources, provided an update of an Underwriters Laboratories-branded fire/smoke damper life-safety system (LSS) contractor certification for the performance, inspection, validation, testing, and maintenance of HVAC life-safety systems for commercial and institutional facilities. This certification will ensure that contractors have the required credentials, capabilities, and qualified staff to perform services in accordance with current code requirements.

Mary Lou Taylor made SMACNA history as the first woman inducted into the College of Fellows. She is pictured with Dean Steward, former SMACNA president.

College Of New Members

SMACNA's College of Fellows inducted 11 new members at the national convention. They are Anthony A. Asher, general counsel, SMACNA Metropolitan Detroit Chapter, Troy, Mich.; David W. Bevirt, retired SMACNA staff, Tucson, Ariz.; William K. Ecklund, SMACNA legal counsel, Minneapolis; Phillip Gillespie, Sheet Metal Contractors Association of Central Indiana, Indianapolis; Kevin A. Harpring, SMACNA president, Harpring Inc., Louisville, Ky.; Paul Keohane, CMF Inc., Orange, Calif.; Joseph Massaro, East Coast CAD/CAM, Littleton, Mass.; Raymond C. Schemanske, Ventcon Inc., Allen Park, Mich.; and Robert P. Vlick, ACCO Engineered Systems, Tustin, Calif.

In addition, Mary Lou Taylor, SMACNA's director of meetings and conventions, Chantilly, Va., became the first woman elected to the college.

New Officers Installed

Kevin Harpring, current president of SMACNA, passed the gavel to Keith Wilson, CEO of Miller Bonded Inc., Albuquerque, N.M., a full service mechanical contractor with an expected $30 million in sales this year.

Other new officers included president-elect Richard J. Cramer Sr. of Dee Cramer Inc., Holly, Mich., secretary/treasure Ronald Palmerick of AABCO Sheet Metal Co., Maspeth, N.Y., vice president John Ilten of Ilten's Inc., Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and immediate past president Kevin Harpring of Harpring Inc., Louisville, Ky. The SMACNA executive committee serves from Oct. 19, 2005 to Oct. 11, 2006.

The 63rd Annual SMACNA Convention will be held Oct. 8-11, 2006, at the J. W. Marriott Palm Desert Resort and Spa, Phoenix.

Publication date: 11/28/2005