More than 350 PCCA members, family and friends made the journey to Orlando, Fla., in March for the 65th annual PCCA Convention at Disney’s Contemporary Resort. Construction professionals attend PCCA meetings every year to develop their professional skills, cultivate relationships in the industry and learn more about power and communication construction — what’s happening now, what’s coming down the road and what the long term looks like.

The Construction Industry Roundtable provided a bit of optimism in these uncertain times, but the message was more mixed as one might expect from a national group with people working not just in separate regions, but in separate niches of the industry as well. The roundtable included reports from Tom Harter of the Association of Communications Engineers, Mark Bridgers and Chris Daum of FMI and Brad Radichel of Condux, who provided an overview on how PCCA’s manufacturer and supplier members are faring. The wide-ranging discussion that followed included the impact of federal stimulus money on telecom work, the negative effects of the recently passed healthcare bill, difficulties with Davis-Bacon prevailing wage requirements, the increased demand and cost for fiber and other commodities and the rate of economic recovery.

Skills development at PCCA conventions occurs during the educational sessions, most notably the Young Construction Professionals (YCP) program. Participants covered key performance indicators — defining and measuring progress and risk. Convention attendees also turned out in force for sessions on managing a construction company in a tight economy and emerging trends in power, communication and utility construction. Another valuable learning experience was the Annual Associates Exhibit, where contractor and associate members discussed jobs, products and business in a relaxed, low-pressure atmosphere.

The many serious subjects at PCCA meetings are usually offset by some memorable parties, and this year was exceptional in that regard with an enjoyable marina-side Welcome Reception, the always-wild PCCA Auction (which raised more than $110,000 for PCCA programs) and a hilariously unique final night party at Hollywood Studios.

During the final party, PCCA thanked outgoing association president Ron Tagliapietra, Michels Corp., for his years of service and for hosting the 2010 convention, and it welcomed new president Kevin Mason of ElectriCom. PCCA also added three new members to its Board of Directors during the convention: Ed Campbell of Henkels & McCoy, Pomona, Calif.; Matthew Gabrielse, Gabe’s Construction Co. Inc., Sheboygan, Wis.; and Jerrod Henschel, Michels Corp., Brownsville, Wis. The 2011 PCCA Convention will be held March 11-16, in Key Largo, Fla.

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