Training, Quality, Education

This year, the Metal Building Contractor & Erectors Association is celebrating its 50th anniversary, which means our annual conference in San Antonio, May 2-4, will be bigger and better than ever. We are once again co-located with the Metal Building Manufacturers Association, and we have an exciting keynote speaker, fabulous training opportunities, fantastic vendors and dynamic roundtables of experts. But I can almost hear the groans. “Conferences are so expensive.” Guess what? In celebration of our 50th anniversary, MBCEA members will enjoy a 50 percent discount on conference fees. If you are thinking, “I can’t afford to spend time away from the office/job site,” I respectfully suggest you can’t afford to not go!

It all comes together at the 49th Annual MBCEA Conference

By Keith Wentworth

Wentworth Keith

This conference will equip you with tools, techniques and contacts that will make your business stronger in 2018. MBCEA’s catch phrase is Training, Quality, Education and the conference is where it all comes together for you.

I know most of us are much happier at a job site than rubbing elbows with industry executives. Classrooms and meeting rooms are not typically high in our comfort zone. We struggle with finding the right way to break into a conversation with people we don’t know. Practice makes perfect, though, and the conference is the perfect place to practice. By sitting at lunch tables or break-out sessions with people you don’t know yet, you will make some amazing connections and even more amazing friends.

Over coffee, lunch or cocktails, you may make a connection with the perfect provider, partner or prospect. In the exhibition hall, you may learn about a new tool, fastener or piece of equipment that will revolutionize your business. At a breakout session, you may find yourself sitting next to your next customer or mentor. Or, if you don’t go, maybe your toughest competitor will be sitting in your seat.

Consider the power of being in a room full of people just like you who are confronted by the same challenges, issues and opportunities. The conference is the perfect place to realize that you’re not alone, to learn from your peers and network, but also to improve your skills and bring back to your office tangible tips and techniques to solve those thorny issues. Training, Quality and Education are the name of the game!

The schedule is still being finalized but one of our new ideas is a contractor/erector session where we discuss best practices. The working theme is what the general contractor can do to make the erector’s job easier and vice versa. This session will run before a break so you and your new colleagues can continue the dialogue. Then at the next round table you can bring up any question or issue you think needs further exploration. But we are not going to stop there; we will collect these ideas into a document and put it on the website so that it can act as a resource for us all in the coming months.

That is just one thing we have planned. Visit our registration webpage at to see even more. The conference committee has put together a robust schedule that ensures plenty of opportunities to mix and mingle, form new relationships and strengthen existing ones, to improve our skills, quality and production.

But don’t take my word for it. In the “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” Stephen R. Covey explores the idea of “sharpening the saw.” We all know a dull axe won’t cut down a tree nearly as effective as a sharp one. Covey suggests you have to take a break from the work of your work to sharpen your skills. The MBCEA Conference is the best saw sharpener you can and should invest in. Contact Sasha Graver at or visit our webpage for more information.

Keith Wentworth is president of the Metal Building Contractors & Erectors Association and vice president of Dutton & Garfield Inc., Hampstead, N.H. Wentworth holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Merrimack College, and has more than 20 years of experience in commercial and industrial metal building design-build construction. He is proud to be a third-generation Butler builder. Keith also serves on the board of directors of the Metal Building Institute and is a past president of the New England Chapter of the MBCEA. To learn more about the MBCEA, visit