Convention is one of the highpoints of SMACNA’s annual calendar. Our event in Phoenix was outstanding with great content and networking. A special thanks goes out to everyone who worked behind the scenes to make our gathering in Arizona one of the best conventions on record. I always enjoy the opportunity to interact with our members and learn more about the factors shaping our industry. Whenever I walk out of a SMACNA Annual Convention, my knowledge base grows exponentially. I hope that you walked away with a similar feeling.
One of the convention's most exciting moments was the presidential transition from Tony Kocurek to Carol Duncan. Tony has been a great advocate for SMACNA and our members. He is a force on critical issues, such as Indoor Air Quality, that impact us all. Thank You, Tony, for your service and friendship. I look forward to working with you moving forward.
Listening to Carol's speech after assuming her new role, her story should sound familiar to many of our members. She embraced our industry's opportunities to build a better life for her family. She also sought to strengthen SMACNA's profile both locally and nationally. That is what this next year is going to be about: opportunity. Over the next year, we can further strengthen the labor-management partnership that has reaped countless benefits for both SMART and SMACNA. I urge you to watch the post-convention interview that Carol conducted with General President Michael Coleman to better understand some of the exciting opportunities right in front of us. Megaprojects, Indoor Air Quality projects and projects driven by reinvestment tax credits give us a real opportunity to grow.
Our joint work on BE4ALL is one arena that is ripe for collaboration — nationally and locally. By working together to build a workplace where everyone feels like they are valued, we can recruit the best and the brightest into our industry. This is not hard to do, but it does require us to look at our culture and make it the best it can be. We are competing with all of the trades, manufacturers and even restaurant & retail sectors for labor. The unionized sheet metal industry provides opportunities with great wages, health care, growth potential and lifetime security.
As we prepare to enter the new year, I want to thank everyone for their continued engagement and participation with SMACNA. This association is only as strong as its membership, and I am proud of all of the work our staff and members do every day. Have a wonderful holiday season.
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.