2016 ICON-Xchange and NCMA Annual Convention recap
Over 500 producers and suppliers in attendance
Over 500 producers and suppliers to the manufactured concrete masonry and hardscape industry gathered in Orlando, Florida, for the 2016 ICON-Xchange and NCMA Annual Convention at the Rosen Shingle Creek Resort.
For those who missed all or part of the event, some highlights are included in this brief recap.
2016 ICON-XchangeNCMA hosted the innovative B2B Exchange and Integrated Tabletop Marketplace on Wednesday, February 24 and Thursday, February 25, in between the annual conventions of the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute and the National Concrete Masonry Association. The B2B accomplished its objective of providing a productive venue for concrete manufacturing companies to meet and network in an intimate and structured setting with suppliers of equipment, materials and services that are needed by those manufacturing companies. Thirty-six vendor host teams conducted meetings with 41 producer teams in which 686 meetings took place over the two-day period. In addition, 43 companies participated in the Integrated Tabletop Marketplace which provided another opportunity to network and reach potential customers/suppliers. In its third year, many ICON-Xchange participants expressed their continuing appreciation of this event format. The same format will be used again February 18-19 at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix, AZ.
Social Media ChallengeICON-Xchange featured speaker, Gina Schreck, CEO of SocialKNX, offered attendees an overview of what social media can do to help their businesses grow during the B2B General Session Breakfast. “It’s time for all businesses to embrace technology and understand its role in your business,” encouraged Schreck. Her interactive presentation, had attendees posting and tweeting! They participated in a competition that required them to use social media to thank the ICON-Xchange sponsors and highlight events. The competition ended in a tie with Team 11 [Mike Finch (RCP Block and Brick, Inc.), Rick Muth (ORCO Block and Hardscapes), Dave Echternach (ORCO Block and Hardscapes), Duane Gleason (ORCO Block and Hardscapes)] and Team 13 [Jennifer Thomas (Sequatchie Concrete Service), Reece Thomas (Sequatchie Concrete Service), Brantley Rivers (ACME Block and Brick, Inc.)] tied for having the most tweets and posts. A special spirit award went to the young son of Bobby Correia (Rinox, Inc.).
Virtual Plant TourThere was a packed house of attendees with standing room only for the Featured Plant and Virtual Plant Tour. Attendees took a virtual tour of four concrete masonry and paver production facilities including Pfenning located in Lamportsheim, Germany; Phoenix Paver in Phoenix, AZ; Revels Brick & Block in Houston, TX; and R.I. Lampus Company in Springdale, PA. The Virtual Plant Tour, which featured live streaming feeds from each of the companies listed above, was sponsored by Besser Company, Columbia Machine, Pathfinder Systems and Rekers (NA), Inc. The sponsoring companies spiced up this year’s event offering refreshments and giving away high-end prizes to attending representatives of concrete manufacturing companies.
Town HallIncoming NCMA Chairman of the Board Pat Sauter welcomed attendees to the 2016 NCMA Annual Convention at the Town Hall Meeting. NCMA President Bob Thomas thanked all the sponsors and producer participants in the ICON-Xchange B2B and Integrated Marketplace that made the event a success. Membership Recruitment Committee Chair Dean Jurik welcomed new members, first time attendees, and guests who were present at the convention. In addition, he introduced NCMA Membership Development Manager Carrington Blencowe and Membership Assistant Miranda Knipple, who recently joined the NCMA staff.
Mark Wilhelms hosted a special presentation to present an Award of Appreciation on behalf of NCMA to a number of passionate and dedicated industry professionals that provide significant leadership towards advancing the promotion of concrete masonry and concrete products at the state/regional level or at the national level in neighboring companies. Wilhelms also credited these individuals for investing time with NCMA to foster positive relationships, resulting in better collaboration and leveraged investments.
- Jan Boyer, Pennsylvania Concrete Masonry Association
- Marina DeSouza, Canadian Concrete Masonry Producers Association
- Byard Stevens, Southeastern Concrete Masonry Association
- Tom Young, Northwest Concrete Masonry Association
- Kurt Siggard, Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada (recognized at the Business Lunch)
- Pat McLaughlin, former Executive Director of MAF
- Don Beers, staff engineer for MAF
Scott Klug, former US congressman from Wisconsin and current director of public affairs at Foley and Lardner, provided insights on the progress of HR985, the federal legislation that would authorize the concrete masonry industry to create a commodity check-off program. He acknowledged the dynamics that had impacted the pace of progress, but encouraged attendees to remain optimistic and to keep working hard to encourage their representatives in Congress to support the bill. He stressed that exceptional efforts on behalf of the industry has really positioned the bill where it can pass this Congress.
Jim Painter, executive director of Florida’s Concrete Masonry Education Council, shared an update on Florida’s version of a voluntary check-off program. The Council has been navigating the process of program creation, but has also now begun to collect funds from contributing concrete block producers and identifying first priority programs to support mason workforce development as well as research, education and promotion programs to improve the competitive position of masonry.
The chairs of NCMA market segment committees provided a teaser as to what to expect in the committee meetings during the remainder of the week. Production Technology and Operations Committee chair Bruce Loris made a special recognition to a career’s worth of efforts by Hal Webster. Billy Wauhop closed the Town Hall Meeting with an update about the association’s 100th Anniversary Celebration, scheduled for the 2018 Midyear Meeting in Chicago.
Business LunchNCMA Chairman of the Board Joe Bowen welcomed attendees to the NCMA Business Lunch. He introduced the 2016 Foundation Chairman Rick Roach who updated the audience on the impact the Foundation is making to the industry. While no grants were awarded during this funding cycle, the Foundation is currently supporting 23 grants.
Mike and Tom Finch of RCP Block & Brick came to the podium to talk about the “Life and Times of Gene Chubb” and present him with an Honorary NCMA Membership. After a slide show featuring a snapshot of Gene’s life, Mike reminded the audience of the word “Stalwart, a loyal, reliable hardworking participant of an organization or team, that’s stalwart....that’s Gene Chubb. He has been a stalwart of this industry for 68 years.” Tom Finch concurred with acknowledging “Gene’s passion for the industry and making sure that masonry is always seen in a positive light...he has never wavered on his pride for the industry and product.”
Bob Thomas presented Gene with the award for Honorary Membership. Gene accepted the honor by saying, “It has been a long rough run....I got into the business in 1948...and to this day we are moving forward and continuing to do very well. Thank you!”
Chairman of the Board Joe Bowen remarked that one of the greatest things about our industry is people like Gene Chubb. Joe then addressed the audience and confirmed his Midyear Meeting statement that “We are back!” with “We are definitely back!” He expressed “there is a renewed tempo and vigor of our industry with great opportunities in front of us for 2016 and beyond.” He touched upon the size of the industry and interest in new membership, the masonry segment’s developing strategy to fight the wood fight, the manufactured stone veneer segment working hard to elevate their product standards, and the hardscape market releasing its Best Practices Manual. The association’s new governance model for 2017 will empower the Board of Directors. While there is still some work to be done on the Check-off Bill, the industry is working hard to keep it moving forward.
Joe gave a special thanks to staff and Bob Thomas before turning the program over to Mark Wilhelms and Dale Puskas to present Kurt Siggard, executive director of the Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada, with a special Award of Appreciation for his unwavering support of the industry.
Ed Sullivan, Portland Cement Association’s chief economist and vice president of market intelligence, provided the keynote presentation of the convention with his informed outlook for the cement, concrete and construction industries for the remainder of the year and coming years. He
acknowledged that the revised 2016 numbers of 5% growth are not what they were expected to be. Falling oil prices and other factors have slowed growth relative to earlier projections. However, “job creation is necessary and relatively stable and consumer sentiment is good” which will be good for the economy.
Boot CampRon Scherer of Besser Company presented a four-hour session covering all aspects of a successful manufacturing site. Participants learned about the design of outside aggregate storage, conveying cold aggregates into your facilities during harsh winters, aggregate storage capacity, mixer capacities and how to figure machine consumption of materials, procedures to be successful when running test products, and much more.
Family Business/Small Business ForumThe Family Business / Small Business Forum continues to be a dynamic event that facilitates the exchange of information and ideas between smaller companies and family-owned businesses. Some of topics discussed included self-insured healthcare plans, special order fees and overages, resources available to educate new hires, communication and information dissemination among employees that are not office based and working with advisory boards that are comprised of both family and non-family members.
Connect to our photo album to see all the highlights. If you need more information about any of the events or highlights from the week, just call us or email us at (703) 713-1900 or email@example.com and we will get you to the right person for follow-up discussion.
About the Author
Randi Hertzberg is the Manager of Communications at National Concrete Masonry Association.