As they set out to plan the 2006 PCCA Convention, executive vice presidentTim Wagner and then co-president Steve Spears aimed to highlight the aspects ofthe association that have made it so valuable to so many members over the past60 years.

They wanted an expanded educational component, plenty of networkingopportunities and a relaxed atmosphere where everyone, including first-timeattendees, felt welcome and like part of the group. The fruits of Spears andWagner’s ambitious planning were enjoyed by the more than 200 PCCA members whoattended the 2006 Convention, Feb. 17-22 at the Wild Horse Pass Resort & Spain the Sonoran Desert near Chandler, Ariz.

Keynote speaker and noted author Larry Winget highlighted the Opening GeneralSession with a lively and hilarious presentation: “Shut Up, Stop Whining and Geta Life.” The gist of his message is to take responsibility for your own life.“Look at every single area of your life — from how much money you have to howwell your relationships are going to how well your business is doing — andrealize it’s your fault,” he said. “It was your thoughts, your words and youractions that made that come about. And if you don’t like the way it is, changeit.” He urged the PCCA crowd to “Lighten up, be more flexible, stay positive andkeep things in perspective.”

Another best-selling author, G. Kent Mangelson, led a session where heinstructed the audience on the best way for contractors and other businessowners to protect professional and personal assets from lawsuits, liens andlevies. Among other topics, he discussed the value of family limitedpartnerships, where the general partner gives family members non-voting limitedpartnership shares. Creditors have trouble penetrating the partnershipstructure, and there are estate tax benefits as well.

For a presentation on the rapidly growing broadband over power line (BPL)market and the many opportunities it presents, PCCA turned to one of itsindustry colleagues, the United Power Line Council (UPLC). Brett Kilbourne, UPLCdirector of regulatory affairs, discussed BPL technology, the state of theindustry, business issues that the industry is addressing and regulatory trends.

PCCA also launched its new partnership with prominent safety andtransportation experts, J.J. Keller & Associates. Keller’s Len Satkowski leda member-requested seminar, “Preparing for a DOT Audit,” and Keller repsprovided safety reports at the Construction Industry Roundtable and the SafetyCommittee meeting.

Mike Buttrey, of longtime PCCA member McQueary Henry Bowles Troy (MHBT),organized an information-filled session on buying insurance that featured MHBTsenior vice president of marketing Greg Rimling, Quanta Services director ofrisk management Diana Ostendorf, Electricom president Kevin Mason, andRockingham Construction president Winston Weaver Jr. Buttrey and Rimling gaveinsights into the state of the industry and shared brokers’ perspectives on howcontractors can best position themselves. Ostendorf, Mason and Weaver detailedthe particulars of their policy renewal process and their relationships withbrokers, and they discussed issues such as claims reviews, light-dutyreturn-to-work programs, experience modification rates and the value ofconsistent and effective safety programs.

PCCA launched a new initiative at this year’s convention with the YoungConstruction Professionals (YCP) lunch, an idea initiated by Spears andchampioned by Tony Briggs of Vermeer Mfg. At its first meeting, the groupdiscussed its goals (e.g., broader business/industry exposure, executive/leadership training, learning from more experienced association members) and thebest and most practical forums for pursuing those goals.

The annual Associates Exhibit also provides excellent educationalopportunities in a relaxed atmosphere. Associates like the table-top exhibitbecause they avoid the often-excessive shipping/drayage charges associated withmany shows and because they meet the highest level contractors. Contractors likethe exhibit because they can cruise the room with a coffee and a danish and meetplenty of people who can make their jobs and businesses run more smoothly.

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