The SMACNA Edge Conference: A Virtual Education Forum — SMACNA’s first all-virtual conference — is in the books! The virtual conference took place over three days and featured thousands of attendees and 35 exhibitors.
SMACNA President Angie Simon and CEO Vince Sandusky kicked off the conference by welcoming attendees to the virtual event, noting how COVID-19 has changed the way we live, work, and learn. “Identifying and nurturing new connections, as well as strengthening existing ones, are challenging in this new reality. Relationships drive our success in this business,” said Simon.
“The SMACNA Edge Conference has given SMACNA the opportunity to deliver critical information from industry thought leaders at a time when information can mean everything to the success of your business,” Sandusky added.
The Edge Conference provided plenty of opportunities for attendees to connect with one another through presentations, Q&A sessions, roundtables, and the exhibit hall.
Below are highlights from each day of the conference.
Respected construction industry economist Anirban Basu held an informative and engaging session on the current state of the economy and where the industry is headed.
SMACNA’s Mark Terzigni unveiled details about SMACNA's new System Air Leakage Testing Standard, noting what is required by various codes and energy standards and where the future technical requirements.
Maxim Consulting Group’s Michael McLin shared ways companies can better position themselves in the marketplace by establishing realistic budgets and evaluating long-term business financial goals.
Rob McKinney of eSub presented on new contractor mobile app technology and how businesses can use them to improve workflows.
Day One capped off with a lively panel discussion — moderated by Tom Martin, President of T.H. Martin Inc — between contractors Chad Bunting, President of Schoppe Co., Matt Cramer, President of Dee Cramer Inc., and Carol Duncan, Owner & CEO of General Sheet Metal, on how they are each adapting, reimagining, and growing their businesses during COVID-19, and how they are adjusting their strategies for the future.
Ronald Eager, COO of Grassi & Co., discussed the future of the federal PPP progam, including loan forgiveness, tax deductibility, and other vital government contracting business assistance programs.
Eric Anderton of the Construction Genius Podcast engaged audiences with his presentation on how to spot the four buying influencers in every project opportunity and identify the “red flags” that threaten a sale.
Steven Taylor, P.E., Principal with Taylor Engineering, delivered a timely presentation on the latest research on HVAC system modifications and COVID-19 transmission mitigation.
FMI Leadership Consultant Ryan Quigley reviewed the results of a recent New Horizons Foundation study that looked at the key challenges companies face during field leader transition periods, including the methods to address them, and how to develop more prepared incoming field leaders.
Attendees finished up Day Two with an insightful industry labor update from Joseph Sellers, Jr., General President of SMART, Joseph Powell, General Secretary-Treasurer of SMART, Donna Silverman, Assistant to the General President and Special Counsel of SMART, Michael Coleman, Assistant to the General President of SMART, and Lori Wood, Executive Director of the Sheet Metal Workers’ National Pension Fund.
The final day of programming began and ended with sessions featuring Stephane McShane of Maxim Consulting. In her morning session, McShane explained how effective change order management can dramatically reduce a subcontractor’s risk and increase profitability. Later in the day, McShane followed up with a presentation on how to drive project success in the new remote working environment, including strategies for increasing productivity and team member engagement.
Andy Patron of Aboveboard Consulting led a presentation on how to turn field obstacles into opportunities, including ways to mitigate and even eliminate challenges.
Angie and Vince capped off the conference by thanking members for attending. Simon challenged contactors “to keep connected and engaged with other members and peer groups … as opportunities and challenges shift quickly in the coming months.”
“SMACNA is focused on bringing valuable and practical information to contractors so they can run their business more effectively and also see important trends and economic impacts coming down the road,” added Sandusky.
In addition to the main program, each day featured roundtable discussions with industry leaders, subject matter experts and thought leaders on topics ranging from shop layout to developments in prefab and modular to mentoring rising stars and recruiting non-craftpersons to the industry.
SMACNA's Premier Partners Mestek Machinery, Procore Technologies Daikin Applied, Milwaukee Tool, Federated Insurance and Johns Manville, as well as Associate Members Majestic Steel USA, Ductmate Industries, DeWalt, and Trimble each delivered short, timely presentations on the latest trends and technologies that contractors can take advantage of to gain a competitive edge and grow their share in the marketplace.
Access the Sessions On-Demand
Registered attendees unable to attend any of the sessions or exhibitor presentations can view them on-demand via the conference site between now and January 11, 2021 at no cost. If you did not register for The Edge Conference, but would like access to the recorded sessions, you can sign up here.
Save the Date
We look forward to seeing all of our members in-person next year at our Annual Convention, taking place October 24–27, 2021, in Maui, Hawaii!