The American Subcontractors Association’s National Business Forum and Convention was held two weeks ago in Las Vegas and, by any measure, it was a resounding success.
Part of what made it so successful was a shift in how time at the convention was scheduled. Usually when you go to these events, you have to hit the ground running. You’re attending classes and panel discussions all day long, then you head for the very structured evening events. Those are great and they were still part of this convention, but the big difference was the amount of time that was built in to allow for what you might call “organic networking.”
There was more time to break off into smaller groups to have lunch, sightsee, and spend time in a relaxed atmosphere. It gave us all much more of a chance to hear from our counterparts in other regions – to discuss what’s going well and what challenges we’re all up against in this industry.
When you go to these conventions – and we’ve got another one coming up this fall – you get a real sense of what’s happening around the nation. Those of us from Texas are usually the ones talking about what’s happening that’s good in the industry. The construction business did not slow down to quite the extent that it did in other parts of the country, though we’ve all suffered during the economic downturn. It’s easy to come away from the discussions feeling pretty confident about how we’ve fared in Texas.
I’m very proud of our Houston membership who did well during the awards ceremonies. Two of our local members were recognized for Excellence in Ethics and one received the National Award for Outstanding Service.
Holes Incorporated and Marek Brothers Systems were both presented with Excellence in Ethics Awards. Let me assure you that these are not easy awards to earn. The judges are looking for internal and external integrity of the companies that compete. They are required to submit a sealed letter from a customer, a competitor, and a supplier. If you think about that, it's pretty tough to ask a competitor to praise your ethics, but these companies did just that and came out big winners.
Shannon MacArthur, Director of Client Services at MEMCO, was given the National Award for Outstanding Service. It was a total surprise for her because it’s not an award that’s given out every year, and she had no idea she was in the running for it. Shannon has been our ASA-Houston Chapter President for the last two years and has also chaired ASA’s National Task Force on Ethics in Construction Industry. That's on top of her day job at MEMCO. I couldn’t have been happier to see it when Shannon started to cry tears of joy. She would probably tell you that her contributions are no big deal and she’s just doing what’s right. But, as her friend and colleague, I will say Shannon deserves this recognition for all that she does for our association and our industry.