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MBCEA 47th Annual Conference and Building of the Year Award

Lan Cargo1

MBCEA Project of the Year

The 47th Annual Metal Building Contractors & Erectors Conference took place May 19-21 in Clearwater Beach, Fla. The outstanding educational program reinforced the MBCEA mission to support the professional advancement of metal building contractors, erectors and our industry. Attendance was up more than 25 percent from last year, and this increased attendance contributed to the overall buzz and excitement.

The keynote was once again provided by the Metal Building Manufacturers Association (MBMA) leadership. MBMA Chairman Brad Curtis and Associate General Manager Dan Walker armed attendees with facts, statistics and resources to help promote quality metal buildings. Their exciting presentation confirmed that metal building construction continues to rebound and renews our faith in the future.

MBCEA's signature program, AC478 accreditation, was addressed in a session titled "Everything You Always Wanted to Know, But Were Afraid to Ask." MBCEA past and current presidents Gary Smith and Mike Reynolds, along with Jackie Meiluta, explained the program, provided insight from personal experience and allayed concerns. They explained AC478 is a tool to identify and promote quality erectors. It is a tool to prove quality and expertise, and to demonstrate one's commitment to safety, training and education.

Addressing the cost of entry, Reynolds suggested members think about the price the same way they think about an investment in infrastructure. He said: "Consider how much money you are prepared to invest in new equipment. Now ask yourself, 'Does that new forklift or set of tools improve your operation, improve your profit margin, enhance your reputation, increase production, improve morale and retention? Allow you to bid on certain jobs? Lower your insurance risk?' Guess what? AC478 does all of this and more." The MBCEA will continue to promote AC478 with workshops and informational sessions. There is a webinar available on the Metal Construction News website.

Throughout the two-day conference, there were a variety of educational opportunities geared to both field personnel and management. Most sessions were offered by MBCEA members in the spirit of learning from the experts and peer-to-peer mentoring. Each class was carefully planned to provide attendees with the tools and information needed to improve their businesses, operations and bottom lines. According to exit surveys, the most highly regarded session was "Leading the Way," presented by Josh Quinter, a construction attorney with Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, PC, Blue Bell, Pa.Attendees said the topics and tips were easy to implement and relevant to everyday business. Quinter will also be speaking at METALCON in Baltimore, October 26-28.

Other fan favorites were Tim Kessel of Bay Insulation, Green Bay, Wis., and Bill Beals of Therm-All Inc., North Olmsted, Ohio. Kessel reviewed insulation solutions available today, as well as previewed the solutions that will become the new normal in how we insulate metal building systems. Beals covered installation techniques for field workers based on the airtight envelope. Hats off to both of these gentlemen for making a dry subject interesting and engaging.

Mike Reynolds and Gary Smith also offered a "Learn from the Leaders" session. They addressed a variety of topics such as temporary bracing, factors to consider when calculating man hours, as well as recruiting and retaining quality personnel. The temporary bracing presentation is being converted to a train-the-trainer opportunity for MBCEA members. Copies of all the presentations and much more are available in the members area of the MBCEA website,

No conference would be complete without opportunities for camaraderie, networking and business. The golf outing, cocktail parties, meals and break-outs were organized with this in mind. Even the vendor showcase was designed to maximize interaction and deal making. Vendor displays lined the hallway in front of the meeting rooms, maximizing their exposure and opportunities. There were seating nooks and several bars for chatting and conducting business.

There were several reasons people attend conferences. Education and networking were certainly two of them. But there is a third reason: recognition. As such, the awards banquet was the hot ticket. The MBCEA inducted three members into the 2016 Pioneers Club: Richard L. Kessel, Kessel Construction Inc., Bradford, Pa.; Bill VanBebber, Vasco Industrial Inc., Lutz, Fla.; and Lee Walker, Walker Design & Construction, Boca Raton, Fla. The Pioneers Club recognized these individuals for their numerous contributions to the metal building industry.

Tim Seyler, S&S Structures, Blandon, Pa., was awarded The Robert and Beverly Ketenbrink Service Award, "Oil Can." This prestigious award is given annually to one person who goes above and beyond, who is an active member of the MBCEA, and constantly works for the good of the industry and the association. Seyler has served on the MBCEA board of directors for many years, he is active in his chapter, chaired the AC478 Technical Committee, and has participated in many projects and initiatives for our benefit.

Buildings of the Year Awards were offered in the following categories: Education and Recreation, Manufacturing, Retail, Warehouse, and Specialty. Ronald Albert, AIA, of RHA Architects, Haverhill, Mass., once again served as judge. The MBCEA reported a higher than usual number of entries, ensuring Albert a difficult job selecting the winners featured here. The coveted 2016 Building of the Year was awarded to the LAN Cargo MRO Facility at Miami International Airport, submitted by Dean Davids, Commercial Metal Building Services Corp. of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

This $17 million, 58,000-square-foot building features a three-story mezzanine that adds 51,600 feet of office/storage space. It has 267-foot clear span hangar entry bays with a tail door doghouse structure rising to 80-foot eaves. It utilizes a 300-ton, modular grid assembly lifted in place with a multi-crane operation featuring seven cranes. The plate girder rafters are 10 feet tall and 108 feet in length. The plate girder columns are 53 feet tall single sections, weighing 13 tons each. The building was supplied by Varco Pruden Buildings, Memphis, Tenn., and designed by Perez & Perez, Miami. Lemartec, Miami, was the general contractor. The erector was Commercial Metal Building Services.

The MBCEA Conference continues to grow and exceed expectations. It has become a must-attend event. It is the place for contractors and erectors to stay abreast of new techniques and technologies, to learn tips from the trade and to make new friends and renew old relationships. Adding to the excitement, the MBCEA and MBMA announced that next year they will co-locate their spring conferences in New Orleans. Attendees and exhibitors were encouraged to save the date, May 18-20, 2017. With both MBMA and MBCEA hosting next year's conference, all I can say is, "Book early, as it is sure to sell out!"

For additional information about the MBCEA or its signature program AC478, visit or contact Sasha Graver at

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Jackie Meiluta is an independent consultant who provides support to the MBCEA, most notably with the development, roll-out and training for AC478 and the Apprenticeship Program.

Building of the Year

MBCEA Building of the Year

Building of the Year

Project: LAN Cargo MRO Facility, Miami International Airport, Miami
General Contractor: Lemartec, Miami
Steel Erector: Commercial Metal Building Services Corp., Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Building Manufacturer/Supplier: Varco Pruden Buildings, Memphis, Tenn.

Awards of Excellence

Educational and Recreational Category

Project: North Carolina State University Indoor Practice Facility, Raleigh, N.C.
General Contractor: T.A. Loving Construction Co., Morrisville, N.C.
Steel Erector: Downs Construction Co. LLC, Thomasville, N.C.
Building Manufacturer/Supplier: American Buildings Co., Eufaula, Ala.

Manufacturing Category

Project: Techflex Inc., Sparta, N.J.
General Contractor: Hance Construction, Washington, N.J.
Steel Erector: Thomas Phoenix International, Eastampton, N.J.
Building Manufacturer/Supplier: Butler Manufacturing Co. Inc., Kansas City, Mo


Retail Category

Project: PrairieLand Partners, McPherson, Kan.
General Contractor: Hastco Inc., Topeka, Kan.
Steel Erector: Big Johnson Construction, Fort Morgan, Colo.
Building Manufacturer/Supplier: Star Building Systems, Oklahoma City

Specialty Category

Project: Belfor, Exton, Pa.
General Contractor: D. Fickler Construction LLC, Downington, Pa.
Steel Erector: S&S Structures Inc., Blandon, Pa.
Building Manufacturer/Supplier: Nucor Building Systems, Waterloo, Ind., and MBCI, Houston

Warehouse Category

Project: Hudson River Bulk, Hudson, N.Y.
General Contractor: Miller Buildings Inc., Flourtown, Pa.
Steel Erector: Miller Buildings Inc., Flourtown
Building Manufacturer/Supplier: Miller Building Systems, Flourtown

Awards of Merit

Educational Category

Project: Kansas State University Research Center, Parsons, Kan.
General Contractor: Crossland Construction Co. Inc., Columbus, Kan.
Steel Erector: Crossland Construction Co. Inc.
Building Manufacturer/Supplier: Metallic Building Co., Houston

Manufacturing Category

Project: New Hudson Facades, Linwood, Pa.
General Contractor: Tamora Building Systems, West Chester, Pa.
Steel Erector: Merit Builders Inc., Rocky Ridge, Md.
Building Manufacturer/Supplier: Butler Manufacturing Co. Inc., Kansas City, Mo.

Retail Category

Project: Concordia Tractor Inc., Clay Center, Kan.
General Contractor: Hastco Inc., Topeka, Kan.
Steel Erector: Big Johnson Construction, Fort Morgan, Colo.
Building Manufacturer/Supplier: Star Building Systems, Oklahoma City

Specialty Category

Project: Oak Bluffs Fire/EMS Station, Martha's Vineyard, Mass.
General Contractor: J.K. Scanlan Co. LLC, East Falmouth, Mass.
Steel Erector: MMS Northeast Inc., Hampton Falls, N.H.
Building Manufacturer/Supplier: Chief Buildings, Grand Island, Neb.

Warehouse Category

Project: FedEx Ground, Ocala, Fla.
General Contractor: Skanska, New York City
Steel Erector: Steel Worx, Groveland, Fla.
Building Manufacturer/Supplier: Butler Manufacturing Co. Inc., Kansas City, Mo.