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CFA Summer Convention 2011 – If You Weren’t There, Boy Did You Miss It!

Okay, so it is now the end of summer and the start of the fall construction season rush to winter. Somewhere along the way, there are two types of companies in the CFA that may be looking at this transition differently.

What defines the difference may very well be whether or not you were able to make it to Virginia this summer to network, learn and grow your plans with your CFA peers.

We know there are many hurdles that companies face when considering attendance to this one event each year.

Yet, each year we are inspired by the number of responses that come to us in the weeks that follow Convention, reflecting on just how significant the time spent with peers has already become.

To this end, we want to give you some highlights of the 2011 CFA Annual Convention and to encourage you now to set aside time to make sure you are with us in 2012. 

It is certainly an economic challenge but one that has virtually no risk given the proven rewards already identified by so many others.

Networking

Perhaps you’ve heard this component of CFA events and the importance that it carries in the value of your membership. Hearing it is one thing, experiencing it is a completely different story. Convention is THE #1 place for you to develop connections that will carry through the duration of your career. In fact, the schedule at a CFA Summer Convention is built first around the networking and then filled in with the education…it’s that important.

Summer Convention – Virginia kicked off Thursday night atop the mountain at the Adventure Center. Here, those in attendance enjoyed a great meal of traditional barbeque while overlooking the ski slopes and the zip line framed by the tree-filled mountainsides and an ever-changing canopy of light clouds and sun. The evening quickly turned to a variety of challenge and fun with the young and the young of mind taking on the zip line, the tube run and even a mechanical bull. Many more activities were thrown in for good measure as you see here.

Networking at CFA Convention does not stop at the opening event. Once Friday morning’s education comes, all in attendance are immersed in an intensive time of networking we like to call “Speed Networking”, our form of speed dating. During consecutive 2-minute intervals, each person is asked to share briefly about themselves, their company and perhaps a tidbit of interest. This is a time meant to get to know somewhere around 15 people a little better than you knew them before, as a reminder of when you last met them or if we are doing our job correctly, an entirely new person and someone you will seek to reconnect with during a break or a time later in the weekend. This has become one of the featured sessions during our Convention and breaks down a lot of the barriers of attending and getting to know people you can begin counting on immediately.

Education

If networking is the number one focus for the CFA Convention, the education that is offered has to be a strong #2. In the history of this meeting/convention, education has always carried a strong focus. Members have learned about new technology, identified new business practices and come to understand codes and standards more closely. This year was no different and in some ways offered refreshing surprises and confident conformations. The keynotes of the event were a return of highly rated professional and an upcoming rock star of a presenter.

David Whitlock has been a presenter at more than one CFA Convention and again brought his impassioned and powerful approach to employment law. LUZIRS was his focus and in short, he gave each attendee every reason why you have to be careful who you hire and how you terminate employees. His road map for success was very beneficial, extremely sensible and instantly implantable. For those that find difficulty, he remains a constant and accessible resource for your employment needs. A video of his presentation is available for active CFA members by contacting CFA headquarters through jbaty@cfawalls.org or 866-232-9255.

Doug Herbert, of Herbert Construction, stepped up this year to give a presentation on inexpensive ways to market your company and make a difference to your potential customers. This energy- filled and information-packed presentation lasted only an hour but contained more than a halfday worth of tidbits, tricks and hot ideas that have been implemented by his company already with tremendous results. From newsletters to email, construction signs to cheap advertisements, Doug unveiled a wealth of savvy marketing knowledge that even the most experienced marketing experts in our business had not yet thought considered.

The education rolled on and covered some very hot topics in the CFA, namely the insurance captive and the pending regulation enforcement for fall protection by OSHA. On top of all this, networking and education combined in the form of round table discussions offering some great industry thoughts by national associates as well as an opportunity to discuss the insurance captive with our management consultant, Tom Hall. Each day’s education line-up was thought to be among the finest produced by this event and something that more than tipped the scales for each company returning in the future.

Technology

What would a CFA Convention be without product technology? For that matter, what would the CFA be without product technology? ! is year’s event was proudly sponsored The Bilco Company, Schwing America, Concrete Contractor magazine, Irving Equipment, Epro Services and CIFA USA.

They provided the leadership for another great display and networking opportunity with the finest technology offered throughout this association. A wealth of products both new and well known were present for attendees to chew on while they continued enjoying Wintergreen.

Our thanks and yours to should be given to the sponsors as well as to the commitment for attendance from the following companies:

Certainteed Corporation
Cosella-Dorken Products
Cranes & Equipment
DryDog Barriers
GMX Inc.
Rod Chomper
Stego Industries
Terry Asphalt Materials
Thermomass
Tremco Barrier Solutions
Wall Ties & Forms
Western Forms

Through their confidence and interest in this event, attendees took away great new ideas and inspiration from products perhaps not thought of in awhile.

Award Recognition

Convention is also a time to recognize the achievements for some of the finest concrete work completed throughout the previous year as well as for the commitment to our industry.

The individual recognition given to Mike Hancock as Contractor of the Year and Terry Lavy as this year’s Bob Sawyer Memorial Award recipient were both emotional and heartfelt in the respect they have more than earned. Truly, the chance to applaud the efforts of this year’s project award winners and to express the pride of this association was an opportunity that could not be missed.

Congratulations and award plaques were offered to:

River City Foundations
Ekedal Concrete, Inc.
Basement Contractors, Inc.
Herbert Construction Co.
MPW Construction Services
Biltmore Insulated Concrete, Inc.

With that, the 2011 Summer Convention was drawn to a close.

It was an intense three days of networking, education and industry challenge. Those that made it found they weren’t alone; perhaps were doing better than some; and could do even more to reach beyond current situations and positions.

Above all, those that set aside the hurdles and made it to this year’s Convention affirmed it among the best decisions they’ve made recently and have already circled the calendar to be with us next year at the Grand Traverse Resort, Traverse City, Michigan for the 2012 CFA Annual Summer Convention.

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Concrete FACTS, a publication of the Concrete Foundations Association, is THE voice for residential concrete industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the cast-in-place concrete industry. Subscriptions to Concrete FACTS is available to anyone involved or interested in the residential concrete industry as a service to your industry. Please contact CFA Headquarters to find out more about your free subscription or Email Us