Engaging and Educating SMACNA Members

By using the various informational resources at their disposal, SMACNA members can serve their customers in the best way possible.

Aaron Hilger

As I travel around the country, it has been wonderful to see how busy SMACNA members are. Most regions have strong current work and quite a few are anticipating mega projects that will put a real strain on the labor market. This underlies the most common issue that our members express — not having enough people, in the office and field, to get the work done on time and within budget. I hope you have looked at our career center and are using it to help fill office positions. I also hope you are talking to your business manager and JATC coordinator about adding more people to the apprenticeship programs. This is especially urgent as programs start ramping up their training in the fall. 

This July, the board met in Banff Springs, Alberta, Canada. We had a very engaged discussion about SMACNA’s membership programs, educational programs, government relations programs, labor services and technical services. As we look toward the future, you will see expanded educational programming delivered in more convenient ways to learn, more targeted communications based on interests and expanded social media work. The board also remains committed to industry awareness work to promote careers with SMACNA contractors. We know that most workforce development happens at the local level, and we hope that awareness on a national level provides some benefits to each chapter. 

As we move ahead, I am getting more excited about our convention in September at the Broadmoor. This is one of my favorite convention locations, and it seems our members agree as the convention is largely sold out. SMACNA staff is working hard on putting this event together with a strong lineup of speakers and educational sessions that include ways to help members optimize their operations and effectively promote and differentiate their businesses from the competition. We also have technical sessions, including research updates, an intro to laser welders, preparing for HFC Phasedown, cannabis ventilation systems, associate member presentations and so much more. At the same time, we are also working on next year’s convention, which will be bigger. We have increased our hotel capacity and look forward to welcoming more members than ever at future conventions. In future years, you will also see new sponsorship opportunities as well as different ways to engage with associate members. 

As I write this, the Senate passed the historic Energy Efficiency Tax Incentive package 51-50, a large package that includes 10 provisions that benefit SMACNA members. Those range from expanding the strong tax credits in 179D to spending for energy retrofits and facility modernization. SMACNA has a leading role in this advocacy, and when signed these provisions will have a positive impact on union construction for at least the next decade. Very exciting times for Stan Kolbe and the SMACNA government relations team!

Thank you for being a SMACNA member and working every day to build great projects. I look forward to seeing you at the Golden Bee, a general session, or at one of the many social functions we have at the Broadmoor.  

Aaron Hilger is CEO of SMACNA, bringing more than two decades of executive association leadership to this role. Hilger is focused on building a stronger, more competitive environment for all SMACNA contractors.