Members of SMACNA, MCAA, and NECA gathered in Austin, TX, for the 2023 MEP Innovation Conference. Regarded as the best technology conference in the world for mechanical, electrical, plumbing, service, and sheet-metal contractors, this year’s event was highlighted by educational sessions delivered by members of all three associations.
Educational sessions focused on many topics, including lean manufacturing, improving process flow, and improving coordination between teams of various trades. SMACNA’s technical services department also provided in-depth instruction on various SMACNA standards and guidelines. Several major disciplines were covered in each of the major sessions. One highlight was a session led by SMACNA Premier Partner Procore about some of the top Labor and Profitability Challenges that were facing the MEP Trades. This presentation, which was conducted in partnership with Dodge Data and Analytics, also saught to illustrate the types of technological solutions that were available to contractors to help address these issues. Other technology-focused sessions took a look at hot-button topics such as data management, how to build out an effective tech-stack that can promote company-wide effectiveness, and how to unify different technological solutions into one streamlined operational model. Te
Meanwhile, other seminars took a look at the human side of the business. SMACNA member contractors Ernest D. Menhold and Poynter Sheet Metal led an informative session on how the older generation of workers can learn a lot from their younger counterparts when it comes to the adoption and use of worksite technology.
Guy Gast and Angie Simon represented the New Horizons Foundation during the presentation of the 2022 Futures Study. This presentation detailed the report's finding on a variety of subjects of importance to contractors, including labor availability, economic forces, and emerging advances in construction technology.
In addition to the educational sessions, several opportunities for hands-on, immersive learning were available. Among these events included tours of the primary VDC and fabrication facility of Austin, T-based contractor Dynamic Systems, Inc.
Several SMACNA members were recognized for their contributions to the industry. These included Zach Piercy from Poynter Sheet Metal, who was named SMACNA’s MEP Innovator of the Year. Former SMACNA President Angie Simon was named the inaugural recipient of the Msuite Industry Advocate Award for her work with the Heavy Metal Summer Experience.