MCAA designed its 2017 annual convention, to be held March 5-9 at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, around the issues that are driving the mechanical contracting industry today and into the future. Since leading a successful company in these challenging times can be a daunting task for even for the most experienced business executives, attendees will find a wealth of education to help them keep their companies growing and thriving.

“No other convention offers this level of education, brings more value to me and our company, or offers such a unique opportunity to share experiences with our peers and colleagues,” said outgoing MCAA President Tom Stone, owner of Braconier Plumbing and Heating in Englewood, Colorado. “MCAA’s convention is a win-win from beginning to end.”


Discussing the issues

For a contracting business to stay at the top of its game, its leader should know the economic conditions that will affect his or her market, and economist Brian Beaulieu will provide that critical information. He’ll cover the impact of the Trump election; explore changes in world, national, and regional market trends; and point out ways to create short- and long-term business-building strategies.

Part of that strategy has to include finding and preparing the next generation of leaders to keep a company on the path to continued success, which includes using recruiting techniques that will attract and keep Generation X and Y talent. Construction leadership and labor management authority Mark Breslin will teach strategies that work. Meanwhile, Sgt. Matt Eversmann, a survivor of Black Hawk Down, knows and will describe what true leaders need to know and do when unforeseen events occur to threaten lives and livelihoods.

Even when the chips aren’t down, today’s leaders still need to take on every challenge with passion, determination, and fearlessness. Leadership expert Steve Farber will “bring it home” with his secret to success: LEAP — Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof.

Technology is making our world a better place in which to live and work, as well as transforming our industry. MCAA 2017 will feature Peter Diamandis — visionary, scientist, innovator, CEO, storyteller, and tech wizard — who will explain how technology breakthroughs are blazing trails that will lead to innovations that, until now, have been the stuff of sci-fi books and movies. Attendees will learn how these inventions will help them overcome the challenges of everyday living and lead to more exciting and fulfilling lives.

It is no surprise that some of these technology breakthroughs are already happening in the construction industry. Matt Abeles of BuiltWorlds will showcase the latest construction resources and the start-up companies that are making them possible. He’ll share how these innovations — the technology disruptors — are creating entirely new solutions for the troublesome challenges that confound progress on contractors’ projects.

Technology guru James Benham of JBKnowledge will explain how new devices and software can save just enough time — five minutes — to increase productivity by 1%. That’s all a contractor needs to gain a competitive edge and improve margins and profits.

Virtual design and construction offers one approach to achieving more efficient, productive, and profitable projects. But, which software package is best for each company? Benham and Josh Bone, also of JBKnowledge, have done the hard work of evaluating design software and processes and will share their findings. They’ll also provide tools a contractor can use to evaluate software options.

Roundtable discussions will offer attendees the opportunity to talk about and share their ideas and insights about topics of interest and concern. Each roundtable will focus on a set of topics appropriate to the industry sector represented — MSCA (service), PCA (plumbing), NCPWB (pipe welding), and Safety.


Conference draws big names

An important added value at the convention’s educational programming is its Annual Manufacturer/Supplier Exhibit on Tuesday, March 7, where 130 companies — including 12 first-timers — will showcase what’s new with equipment, tools, technologies, and services.

And, in keeping with its tradition, MCAA’s lineup of star-studded general session headliners is impressive:

  • John Boehner, former Speaker of the House;

  • Emmitt Smith, the NFL’s all-time leading rusher;

  • Goldie Hawn, Oscar- and Golden Globe-winning actress;

  • United Association General President Mark McManus; and

  • Astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly, NASA’s answer to “the Jersey Boys.”


Information courtesy of MCAA; editor Jen Anesi contributed to this report. For more information, visit