More than 1,600 attendees gathered in Palm Desert, CA, March 2-6 for the Mechanical Contractors Association of America's 114th convention. Organized around the theme, “Building Relationships,” MCAA 2003 presented speakers from varied segments of society — politics, professional sports, business, academia, literature, medicine, law enforcement — who applied their wisdom and experience to the challenges and opportunities encountered by the mechanical contracting industry. Featured speakers included President Gerald R. Ford, former New York City Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik, baseball superstar Cal Ripken, Jr., Senator Fred Thompson, retired chairman of Harley-Davidson Rich Teerlink, international terrorism expert Dr. John Stoessinger, and Olympian Jimmy Shea. Attendees also had the opportunity to attend a wide variety of workshops addressing temporal subjects such as implementing change in your organization, project management, winning presentations, mold, and the latest trends in insurance. Also during the conference, numerous awards were given out during the Awards of Excellence Program. For example, MCAA’s Distinguished Service Award was given to Bob Waddy, who has served MCAA and the National Certified Pipe Welding Bureau, and has been active on the MCAA Board of Directors and the NCPWB Board of Trustees. The award is MCAA’s highest form of recognition, and is given to those who have displayed extraordinary dedication and service to the progress, development, and expansion of MCAA and the mechanical construction industry. Also awarded was Timothy G. Wentz, who received the 2002 Educator of the Year Award. Wentz heads the Department of Construction Management at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln. The award is based on a combination of mentoring capabilities, industry knowledge and involvement, and active participation in the student chapter program activities. This is the second time Wentz has received this award; the first was in 2000. The E. Robert Kent Award for Management Innovation is given to an MCAA member company whose innovation will improve productivity, achieve cost-effectiveness, or otherwise improve the mechanical contracting industry. This year, the award was given to Nooter Construction Company, Bensalem, PA. Finally, MCAA gave its Foster McCarl, Jr., Philanthropy to John Martin of Anvil International. MCAA President Robert W. FitzGerald said, “John Martin earned this honor because of the strengths he brings to his work with the foundation. He was the driving force in persuading Anvil International to invest a million dollars in the foundation. This award is given to an individual, company, or local association whose fundraising activities, on behalf of the Mechanical Contracting Foundation (MCF), best reflect the true spirit of philanthropic effort as lived and demonstrated by Foster McCarl, Jr. During the convention’s closing session, the presidential gavel was passed from 2002 President Robert W. FitzGerald to Thomas L. Williams, who is president of the Construction Division of McKenney’s, Inc., Atlanta, GA. Michael W. Gossman, chairman and CEO of Midwest Mechanical Contractors, Inc., in Overland Park, Kansas, was also chosen as president-elect during the association’s 114th convention in Palm Springs, California. Stanley H. Berger, president of Arista Air Conditioning Corp. in Long Island City, NY was elected senior vice president and treasurer. In addition to these offices, MCAA chose its slate of Board of Directors, which includes: * Robert T. Armistead, president of Armistead Mechanical, Inc., Waldwick, NJ • Timothy J. Brink, CEO of C.H. Stone Plumbing Co., Inc., Los Angeles, CA • A. Michael Buday, president of A.B.I. Mechanical Inc • Hanford Gross, president of Gross Mechanical, Saint Louis, MO • William J. Lynch, president of William F. Lynch Company, Inc., Worcester, MA • Mark A. Rogers, vice president of West Chester Mechanical Contractors, Chester, PA. • Robert Turner, president of Tucker Mechanical, Meriden, CT. MCAA’s 2004 Conference will take place in Orlando, FL. For more information, visit or call 301/869-5800.