Hello, Loyal Readers! Welcome to Martin’s Corner here in The Wholesaler magazine, the best in the industry when it comes to first-class news and information about our great industry, while keeping you up to date on the latest products and changes to keep our industry relevant. Another reason The Wholesaler is good reading for all who pick it up is information on our industry associations and human interest stories along the way.
I want to address in this article the Mechanical Contractors Association of America and the outstanding annual convention that happens every year which benefits all of the UA Union Contractors who are contractor members along with all the forward-looking key manufacturers and general suppliers of goods and services that are full members as well. There is a very active organization within the framework of the MCAA (other than the contractors themselves) called the manufacturers and suppliers council (MS/C) and it is made up of all those manufacturers and suppliers that I mentioned above, which are full members with as much skin in the game (if you will) as an active contractor does. You do get out of it what you put into it — and believe me it is very very active. More about that later.
Allow me to lay it out for ya so you can see how the management and the association actually functions. Just as the American Supply Association is your key management association (the wholesale distributors of plumbing, mechanical and PVF piping needs) to support and look out for and after your education and support needs from in house, local, and yes all the way to Washington, D.C., the MCAA is that same governing association body for the union mechanical contractors and their service/plumbing counterparts — the MSCA and the PCA. I draw this parallel only to indicate that while both associations have their own agendas to work with and follow, at the end of the day, one in the same customer is being looked after by both of these associations. You see; for the most part these installing contractors are the real end-user customers of most every industry manufacturer, yet we all choose or have chosen to reach them through the channel of wholesale distribution, which is your good and proven channel and from commodity items like pipe fittings, hangers, and valves to water heaters, boilers, plumbing potties and sinks, etc. — it goes on and on. We are all working to please the end user — to get them to want to use more of “our” products — and you, the wholesalers, are working just as hard for the same end game, with the products that you carry in your inventories or at minimum that you have available to you. As a person that has been with a commodity manufacturer of PVF product for 45-plus years, I feel like if I can get a contractor to ask you the wholesaler for “that product that John Martin is selling”, half my job is done! If you don’t have my product in stock, maybe we can strike deal, and so on and so forth! That is the happy sales circle that goes on and on — we all live it and breathe it. What can be done to enhance the value of the “value added” for a product or service in a meeting of a lot of contractors (or wholesalers for that matter) in one place looking to improve their bottom line through marketing or product techniques possibly yet unknown to them as of yet? Plenty can be done, believe me. That is what the MCAA Annual Convention is all about, my friends.
Yes, no matter what lovely location this convention is held in each year (mostly on a five-year roaming cycle it travels between Maui, Orlando, San Antonio, Palm Springs, Scottsdale and yes even San Francisco at times — 99% of the time at Marriott locations — the week spent together each year is always one not soon forgotten. It is always jammed-packed with great sporting events from organized vendor sponsored Tennis Tournaments to Golf Outings to 5K Fun Runs, breakfasts, cocktail parties, etc., etc., etc. Some of the best professional entertainment is always on board also.
Yet, with all this fun, good tidings and sporting events, this convention is really noted for its outstanding wealth of quality time dedicated to worldwide and industry speakers, needed industry education/training, and working with the work force of our future — the 40-plus “Student Chapters” from most every college/university in the U.S. that have mechanical and engineering departments tht are dedicated to the future of our industry as well.
The convention always has a student chapter competition time within the time frame of the convention where recognition and cash prizes are given to a judged competition of a project design and construct effort by a mix of these chapters. Young students actually get hired during the convention by contractors (available to vendors as well) whose talent and interest really stands out in the competitive efforts shown — it is a great time for the future each and every year.
The MCAA’s Education Foundation (MCERF) is also very visible at the convention through education events, sponsorships and meetings to tout the really great things that the Foundation does each and every year for the industry and the contractors — Like ASA’s Foundation (aimed at the education of the new generation of wholesale distributors for the purpose of serving end users), the MCAA’s Foundation is indeed aimed at the betterment of the end user contractors of today AND tomorrow for a better America. Both Foundations have $10-million-plus Endowments (all funded and supported by the service providers/vendors of the wholesale distributor channel and the actual wholesale distributor channel and — you guessed it — by the service providers/vendors of the mechanical contractor channel and the actual mechanical contractor channel) that are in action daily to do their parts in making our industry a better place and a wonderful place to work! At the MCAA Convention this effort is in the spotlight as much as possible.
So, my wholesale distributor and various vendors/suppliers reading this article, I hope you see what a valuable part of the pie your industries play in the success of both of these great associations — American Supply Association and The Mechanical Contractors Association of America. If by chance you and/or your company are on the fence about being members of either one or attending the next annual conventions, I strongly urge you to log on to their websites and “click around” for a while to view what I think you are missing by not participating in either one or BOTH! If you want to discuss any aspects of either one with me prior to getting to the association offices for discussion, please call me or e-mail me. My cell is 303-588-9806 and (by the way) I have a new e-mail address for my little business of JEM Associates here in Denver. It is JEMassociates1944@gmail.com. The website for the MCAA is www.mcaa.org. Their phone number is 301-869-5800. Ask for Cynthia Buffington or Dennis Langley. They’d love to hear from you on most any matter concerning MCAA! The website for ASA is www.asa.net. Their phone number is 630-467-0000. Ask for Mike Adelizzi or Amy Black. They, too, would love to hear from any of you concerning ASA membership or questions.
So — Mechanical Contractors Association — a huge piece of the end-user customer base for the wholesale distribution channel, AND American Supply Association — the channel choice of many successful vendors and suppliers — the wholesale distributor kind of fit together like a glove, huh? Please reach out through these industry customers and associations along with other fine association groups like NAPHCC; and the fire protection association groups also such as AFSA and NFSA. If you are in the business, they need your support and participation as much as possible!
Thanks for being with me today in reading as we walk through our industry together...
Be careful on your work travels or personal trips and remember to take time to smile at it all, keeping your head high and know that we have the greatest nation in the world — the Great United States of America — may God Bless her and you, your company, friends, and family.