SMACNA outgoing President Joseph Lansdell addressed contractor members during the 74th Annual Convention in Maui on Oct. 25. Following is his speech at the annual business meeting.
As my year as SMACNA President comes to a close, I’d like to share with you some thoughts on the year, the industry as a whole, and the future of this organization.
What a wonderful year it has been.
We’ve experienced: increased job opportunities for most of the country, a robust economy, a strong housing market, improving labor numbers, a growing stock market, and an improved working relationship with our labor partners. Congratulations to all of you for your part in making 2017 one of the market’s finest.
Much like you, I don't sit back and rest on my laurels or gloat on the accomplishments achieved in any given year. Neither does your trade organization. SMACNA and its staff are working tirelessly on your behalf in all facets of the industry.
We continue to work with SMART International on building the kind of relationship between SMACNA and SMART that positions us to more effectively collaborate, and also to responsibly deal with conflict. SMACNA’s Labor Relations staff, Labor Committee, and Executive Committee collaborated to represent contractor interests in discussions with SMART to address several difficult industry issues.
All interactions with SMART were constructive, professional, and carried out in accordance with the SMACNA labor relations policy and objectives established by the SMACNA Board of Directors earlier this year. The SMACNA team did its part, and so too did SMART. We thank their leadership team for its commitment to constructive negotiation.
SMACNA’s programs and services provide high ROI
SMACNA’s education programs act as a mini-MBA program for contractors. SMACNA contractors can send multiple levels of their organization to any of the training sessions offered and see a real ROI from their investment.
This is evident in the continued 100 percent sell-out of most of SMACNA’s educational programs: Business Management University, Project Managers Institute, Supervisor Training Academy, and Financial Boot Camp. If you have not sent your people to these classes, or attended some of them yourself, I highly recommend them.
If time away from the office is not an option, I recommend your local chapter look at bringing in one of the many SMACNA "road shows" or Chapter Education classes to your area for a day of learning.
One part of SMACNA closest to the contracting community is our technical group. Our engineers assist each of us throughout the year with the various issues that arise in our shops and in our installations. Beyond the development of great resources like manuals, white papers, and apps, the Technical Resources group provides much more.
Many of you may not be aware of the hours spent at code hearings or on the Board level of many industry organizations. SMACNA’s technical staff work like technical lobbyists to position SMACNA, its resources, and its contractors in a place for success. Their time spent at these meetings are spent working to insure our contractors are positioned to capture market share.
So, in the words, of one of my peer group partners, Matt Cramer, I have given compliment, compliment, and now it is time for the slam.
SMACNA has the resources—and leadership—for all economies
While we enjoy a great bit of success, it really is time to prepare to roll up our sleeves. I am not here to promote doom and gloom, nor am I smart enough to predict the next economic downturn. But I am smart enough to know that one will occur again during my working lifetime and I am also smart enough to know that my company will be prepared to the fullest to navigate the obstacles in our way.
Why am I so confident? Because SMACNA has the many resources to assist in the preparation for a robust economy as well as a faltering one.
Former SMACNA President John Lindemulder explained to me many years ago that it is actually in a time of economic downturn that the resources of SMACNA are more valuable than at any other time. I couldn't agree more.
So now we must leverage our relationships and resources to prepare for these events.
One of the events we are all a witness to right now is a labor shortage. The same old way of recruiting and mentoring will not cut it any longer. We must stop going to the same pond and fishing for the same fish. The ponds are not stocked and loaded like they once were.
One of the programs I have great hopes for is the SMART Heroes Program. It enables military veterans to enter the sheet metal training as a second-year apprentice. This program is sponsored and endorsed at the highest level by SMACNA. Who wouldn't want a mature, disciplined, and educated apprentice to be added to their local workforce?
I believe SMACNA's executive leadership team is better positioned than ever. The addition of Angie Simon to the team not only adds a woman to the group, but also one of the brightest minds in our industry to the team. Jack Knox, Nathan Dills, Angie Simon, and Al LaBella will do an outstanding job representing our contractors. Each have their own strengths and like I said, they always seek out resources ahead of the storm to shore up their weaknesses.
In closing, I want to thank all the contractors of Central Indiana for being so supportive in this venture, my employees for picking up the slack on those days I have spent away from the office, and my family for allowing me to enjoy this year as SMACNA President to the fullest. And to many of you in the audience and on the stage for being so hospitable to me during this year.