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We finally had the chance to meet David Chic, who, shortly after last year’s PHCC CONNECT, became program director for the Quality Service Contractors as well as the Construction Contractors’ Alliance.
We sat down with Chic during the recent QSC Power Meeting 2019, March 20-12 in Kansas City, Missouri. Around 155 members gathered at the Intercontinental Hotel Kansas City for a different type of Power Meeting. For the first time in some 20 renditions, this Power Meeting purposefully took a deep dive inside one particular topic.
Master Facilitator Luis Gonzales kicked off the meeting with a keynote message followed by two workbook discussions based on “Fierce Conversations,” a best-selling book by Susan Scott.
Gonzales defines fierce conservations as “one in which we come out from behind ourselves, in the conversation and make it real.”
“Fierce conversations are probably the most important conversations,” QSC President Dan Callies and president of Oak Creek Plumbing, Milwaukee, told us beforehand. “But we don’t have them because we’re unprepared or don’t know how to approach them.”
Tough problems will never get solved if the parties involved can't even face and discuss what's really going on, Gonzales later added.
“Our relationships and endeavors succeed or fail one conversation at a time,” Gonzales explained as he spent much of the first day of the Power Meeting providing insights and techniques to make interactions more productive and effective for solving hard problems.
“ ‘Fierce’ doesn't mean menacing or threatening,” he said. “Instead it refers to being able to confront the reality of difficult situations and discuss issues in robust, intense, strong, powerful ways.”
To continue honing these skills and putting the practice in place after the Kansas City festivities ended, QSC members received a number of take-home tools and even a handy app. As Chic notes in our interview below, there will be a special fellow-up session at this year’s PHCC CONNECT in Indianapolis.
In addition, the three-day Power Meeting also included more traditional breakout sessions:
The Power Meeting also featured a combination lunch and tour of Hodes Co., a Kansas City-based plumbing parts wholesaler, and the Industry Partner Showcase trade show featured about 20 key QSC vendors.
The QSC Power Meeting 2020 will be held March 11-13 at the Westin Hotel in San Diego.
Q&A with David
PHC: We know you spent the past 13 years at the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association, a trade group for residential technology. Tell us about your time there.
Chic: During my tenure with CEDIA, I served as the director of industry relations. This position was the “brain child” of one of the association’s very active and insightful volunteers who later became its CEO, Utz Baldwin.
Utz believed that the home technology industry was very misunderstood not only by the general public, but also by those who most needed to embrace it – design-and-build professionals. Research indicated that these folks commonly felt that technology – those elements that are associated with the “smart home” concept – is not only unpredictable and ever-changing, it is also expensive and that it eats into their bottom-line profits.
However, armed with a great group of volunteers from various design-and-build industry associations who are aware of the value that home technology provides, the comfort level grew.
This was accomplished via education, networking and collaborative opportunities that were provided by CEDIA, the National Association of Home Builders, the American Institute for Building Design, the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and a host of other like-minded organizations.
PHC: What interested you about the QSC job?
Chic: Much like my position at CEDIA, my role as QSC program director offers the opportunity for me to work with contractor members. It is very exciting to be part of a specialized and value-added member benefit program targeted to a specific group – in QSC’s case, professional plumbing, heating and cooling service contractors – unlike any offered by other associations.
During my job interview with QSC, I knew that this would be a great fit as the QSC folks are like family. They not only strive to maintain and propel QSC’s initiatives, they enjoy each other. This enables them to learn from their peers and engage in a little friendly competition, while having fun along the way. This is a work style that I readily embrace.
PHC: Can you tell us at this point what other possible additions or changes might take place to QSC overall?
Chic: QSC staff and board members have agreed to taking a “back to the basics” approach for the next 12 months. This will include educating members on the valuable elements included in their QSC memberships, an aggressive marketing campaign and a big push to recruit new members.
We want to make the most of what we have at this point, and help our members make the most of their investment.
PHC: What about the QSC meeting coming up in conjunction with CONNECT in Indianapolis? Can you tell us what might be in store?
Chic: We are pleased to once again be part of PHCC CONNECT 2019, Oct. 2-4 in Indianapolis. Our goals for QSC @ CONNECT and Service Contractors Central are to follow up on the use and application of the Fierce Conversations sessions done at the Power Meeting in Kansas City, and heighten the awareness of QSC and the benefits that this member asset offers.
PHC: You also told us something we didn’t realize when we first heard about you taking the QSC job and that is that you are also in charge of the Construction Contractors’ Alliance. Can you tell us what’s in store for that group?
Chic: CCA continues to promote its mission of providing contractors with the means to find solutions to situations that new construction contractors face. They host interactive and progressive meetings that have featured economists, futurists and those who help them be aware of and prepare for upcoming trends. The CCA Board of Trustees meets monthly to finetune their initiatives and their programs, which commonly garner high attendance numbers. CCA also offers regular meetings for middle managers, including controllers, estimators, HR and IT professionals.
Several weeks later, we contacted Chic to ask him about feedback from the new format for the Power Meeting in Kansas City. Here’s what he had to say:
“The reviews that we received from Power Meeting 2019 attendees were fantastic. Not only was the Fierce Conversations format well-received, our registrants loved the pre-Power Meeting events, education and tours as well. The hotel received an almost unanimous “thumbs-up” as did the city of Kansas City.
“The seminar-based format, having one speaker present all aspects of a topic, will indeed continue. This was decided upon to keep folks engaged and allow for tracking the implementation of what was learned. The tool kit and tips made the program easy to follow and simple to put into place once attendees returned to their businesses.”