We have come a long way from our humble origins 35 years ago to this vibrant city of Nashville in 2016. Vibrant is a good word to describe our convention and our association.
By all measures this convention is a record breaker. The number of registrants, exhibitors and rooms booked are at all-time highs. Many factors have led us to this moment but we have truly enjoyed a prosperous 35 years. There will be people and organizations here that were around in 1981 when we first started. I hope they are able to enjoy and take note of the tremendous growth, progress and change we have created together and our world is a better place for it.
Our conventions are designed to help the contractor learn or improve every facet of their business and to give our vendors and manufactures the opportunity to showcase their products that we and our communities depend on for our safety and our livelihoods. Some conventions offer seminars that are promotional venues for a particular product. Our convention is nothing of the sort, we are not a pep rally for a particular product or service. Our goal is to educate the contractor (or the Authority Having Jurisdiction) in ways that materially improve their business and their day-to-day performance. We have seminars on how to get work, we have seminars on how to perform work and we have seminars on how to keep score. All are real-world applications that can help a new or seasoned contractor.
Our exhibitors and vendors provide products and support that can help us in ways we did not know existed. I have been coming to AFSA conventions for decades and I always leave smarter than when I arrived. If you had the time in these three brief days you can be educated in estimating, design, purchasing, fabrication, material handling field productivity, insurance, accounting, contract law, human resources, and codes and standards. The socializing and networking with peers, competitors, family, friends and rivals is always an added bonus even more so this year with our Saturday night party at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum.
It is a good time to be in our industry and it is a good time to be here in one of America’s finest heartland cities. Just like Nashville, we are vibrant and growing and thanks to all who help make us that way.
Michael F. Meehan is AFSA’s Chairman of the Board.