At MCAA’s 2017 conference at the Marriott Marquis San Diego Marina, outgoing MCAA President Tom Stone set the tone for the event by highlighting the conference’s theme — “Reflecting on Success” — during his opening remarks.
“Part of what makes us so successful is we never stop learning,” Stone told the record-breaking crowd of mechanical contractors gathered in the ballroom for the event’s opening breakfast. “This week we’ll listen to exceptional leaders, visionaries, and technical gurus and take home with us what we learned. Our annual convention is unparalleled in this industry.”
Highlighting one individual’s success, specifically, Stone introduced the 2017 Infinity Award for Distinguished Service winner, MCAA past President Mark Rogers. Rodgers, who has a long history of giving back to MCAA and its members, received two standing ovations as he accepted the award onstage.
“This industry has been so great to me and to [my family] — and to everyone in this room,” Rogers said, emphasizing that what he has put into the industry has been returned to him tenfold over the years. “I’m honored, and, God willing, I’m going to keep doing this as long as you’ll have me.”
Former Speaker of the House John Boehner then took the stage and spoke candidly about his time in Congress and the need for change in Washington.
“For 60 of the last 65 years, we’ve spent more money than we’ve brought in — you can’t run your household or business that way, and your government can’t do it, either,” he said. “We have to get serious about living within our means, and that means some big changes.”
Boehner also spoke opening about President Donald Trump and his administration.
“Trump has got a big opportunity. He has to learn to Tweet a little less. No Tweeting between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. — I think I’d start there,” Boehner said, drawing laughs from the crowd.
“We live in the greatest country in the world, and while this campaign has been rocky — and the election has been rocky, and the first month and a half or so of the presidency has been rocky — I think that America’s best days are ahead of us,” he added. “We have to remember that there’s no country like the U.S.”
Other notable speakers at MCAA 2017 included actress Goldie Hawn, who spoke about balancing work and family with her also-famous husband, Kurt Russel; NFL all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith; conservationist Joan Embery; and astronauts and identical twins Mark and Scott Kelly.
The event also featured numerous learning opportunities and roundtables for attendees on the topics of technology, recruiting and hiring, contractor-to-contractor education, strategic leadership and management, living a fuller life, and more. Additionally, the MCAA student chapter teams from Colorado State University, the Milwaukee School of Engineering, the University of Missouri at Columbia, and the University of Nebraska at Lincoln presented their plans and ideas for the renovation of the Chippewa Falls, Wisc., wastewater treatment plant. Teams each acted as general contractor on the project and was tasked with coordinating the design, planning, and execution of the renovation.
Stone closed the event during the general session by introducing UA General President Mark McManus and stressing the importance of MCAA’s strategic partnership with the UA.
“I know that everyone in this room — everyone — has immense respect for the United Association, its members, and the job they do every day — for our projects and, ultimately, for our [industry],” Stone said. “They are truly the heartbeat of this country.”
Stone then relinquished his title to incoming MCAA President Greg Fuller, who concluded the event by looking ahead at MCAA 2018, scheduled for March 25-29 at the JW Marriott Hill Country in San Antonio. Visit www.mcaa.org for more information.