As the year begins to wind down, so does my tenure as president of the Metal Building Contractors & Erectors Association (MBCEA). In January, Keith Wentworth of Dutton & Garfield, Hampstead, N.H., assumes the leadership of this great organization. As I prepare to hand over the reins, I just wanted to reminisce a bit on what MBCEA membership has meant to me.
What MBCEA membership means
Merriam’s Dictionary defines networking as “1: the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.”
Personally I never like the word “networking.” It is a soft, consultant-y word. But I do like that line “the cultivation of productive relationships.” When I think about all my years in the MBCEA, I can honestly say relationships are always what come to mind first.
Thanks to the MBCEA I have a strong circle of friends and colleagues who I can call on for advice or help. I routinely partner with this circle to deliver projects, share crews, troubleshoot and, yes, sometimes just to bitch. I can pick up the phone and ask for help on any number of issues. I can share a beer and commiserate with colleagues who have been there and done that. I know for a fact I have won jobs because of my participation in the MBCEA. I also know my team and my business is stronger thanks to the training and network that the MBCEA makes available. This networking is powerful stuff. But it does not happen by accident. It happens face-to-face at chapter meetings and annual conferences; at builders meetings and METALCON. You get out of it as much as you put in.
So you can sit back and just read the monthly e-newsletter from the MBCEA or you can get involved. Go to a chapter meeting. Go to the conference. Put yourself out there and you will find a whole bunch of folks just like you. Together you can take on issues or subsidize training.
Our New England Chapter is dealing with a state law that requires contractors have sheet metal licenses to install metal roofs. Our Mid- Atlantic Region is offering OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 training to members at a very low cost. The Carolinas Chapter has a summer social that combines family and work. This annual meeting is looked forward to by spouses and children as much, if not more, as by the business owners.
Maybe you live in an area of the country where the MBCEA does not yet have a chapter. Contact Gary Smith and he will help you start one. Out of your membership, $130 is earmarked for chapter development and local support. We would be happy to have a chapter in all 50 states but each chapter needs a local champion to get the ball rolling.
Moving on from networking and relationships, the next most important thing the MBCEA means to me can be summarized in the words “professionalism” and “pride.” I never wanted to be considered just another ol’ ironworker. I don’t want my reputation to be only as good as the worst guy out there; but for too long, that’s what happened in this industry. Thanks to the MBCEA we now have a serious program to recognize the quality contractors and erectors that are committed to safety and training, and to doing things the right way, not the cheapest way.
This program is administered by the International Accreditation Service (IAS). MBCEA believes programs such as this accreditation are vital for the professionalism of our trade and the long-term success of our industry. We developed the program, but we do not administer it. This keeps it clean, keeps it honest. We do provide free support to any member interested in going through the process. I won’t sugarcoat the fact that the program costs a few bucks and expects you to up your game with regards to paperwork, but it is a worthwhile investment.
Manufacturers, building owners, municipalities, architects and building code officials are thrilled now to have a standard. They are thrilled that the IAS is now offering an Accreditation for quality Metal Building Assembly (AC478). Maybe that’s the reason you need to consider it; for me, it was all about being recognized as a quality, professional craftsman, and for being recognized for my hard work and investment in safety, training and education.
The MBCEA is a membership association with a mission to support the professional advancement of our contractor and erector members, and our industry. If you are already a member, thank you. I hope you appreciate the MBCEA as much as I do.
If you are not a member, I urge you to consider it now. I have given you a few reasons above. How about a few more? Join now and get a free set of the MBI Quality and Craftsmanship Training DVDs, which is a $500 value. Members in good standing will receive a 50 percent discount to the annual conference next year in honor of our 50th Anniversary.
Mike Reynolds, president of the Metal Building Contractors and Erectors Association, is the president and principle owner of Systems Contractor Inc., Thornton, Colo. He also serves on the board of directors of the Metal Building Institute and is a member of the Steel Erectors Safety Association of Colorado. Recognized for his extensive knowledge and expertise in both structural steel and metal building systems, he also serves on the erection and safety advisory panels for several building system manufacturers. To learn more about the MBCEA, visit www.mbcea.org.