Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

SMACNA Press Releases

Stephen J. Burton of Minneapolis, Minn. Recognized by SMACNA’s College of Fellows

Nov 01, 2016

BurtonCHANTILLY, VA. — Stephen J. Burton, a partner with the law firm Felhaber, Larson of Minneapolis, Minn., was inducted (posthumously) into the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association’s (SMACNA) College of Fellows during the association’s 73rd Annual Convention in Phoenix on Oct. 19.

A nationally renowned expert in labor law, particularly in the construction industry, Burton was known for his extraordinary intellect on labor law matters, as well as his tremendous passion for serving his clients. As SMACNA’s labor counsel, and then later as general counsel, he was heavily involved in SMACNA National matters as for more than 35 years. A valued and trusted counselor, he enjoyed the confidence of both union and management. 

Before his untimely passing at age 64 in 2015, he led negotiations of national labor agreements that enhanced contractors’ ability to compete in the construction market. He also helped multiemployer associations negotiate collective bargaining agreements to be responsive to a rapidly changing, highly competitive marketplace. He was involved in issues arising under the National Labor Relations Act, antitrust laws, and other laws impacting multiemployer plans.

A key speaker at SMACNA labor seminars, Council of Chapter Representatives, and Industry Fund meetings, he provided contractors and chapter executives with valuable advice on not only labor matters, but other significant legal issues.

He served as counsel to many SMACNA National committees and task forces, including the Labor Committee, and made many presentations at SMACNA Annual Conventions, Collective Bargaining Orientations, and Partners in Progress Conferences. He served with distinction as SMACNA’s labor counsel to the National Joint Adjustment Board.

He spent his entire career with Felhaber, Larson after graduating with honors from William Mitchell College of Law in 1977.

Membership in the College is reserved for top industry professionals who have made significant contributions to advance the sheet metal industry, capping years of committed service and dedication.

SMACNA, an international trade association representing 3,500 contributing contractor firms, is a leader in promoting quality and excellence in the sheet metal and air conditioning industry. SMACNA has national offices in Chantilly, Va., outside of Washington, D.C., and on Capitol Hill. Visit