In October, SEAA held its first Convention and Trade Show since 2019. This was the first time back to in-person meetings for many of the 40+ exhibitors and nearly 200 attendees who came to Orlando. Attendees leveraged every minute of their time together to reconnect and network face-to-face with customers and friends.
In 2022, the annual meeting returns to its normal spring schedule. It will be held April 5-8, in Charleston, S.C. This is a special meeting, as it marks the 50th anniversary of the association. Three excursions and a Gala, to be held on the historic USS Yorktown, will make this a convention to remember.
If the past two years have taught us anything, it’s that nothing compares to in-person networking. No amount of video conferencing can replace the meaningful connections SEAA members are able to make at its events. Here are just a few highlights from “Escape to Orlando.”
View photos from the event
Remembering Dave Schulz
The week kicked off with the First Annual Dave Schulz Memorial Golf Tournament. In 2021, the tournament was renamed in memory of Dave Schulz, SEAA past president, who was instrumental in organizing the event for many years. As Vice President of Schulz Iron Works, Dave was passionate about safety and was a big supporter of the SEAA/NCCER Ironworker Craft Training Program.
“Thank you to all of the golfers, sponsors, and association volunteers, for their support in helping us honor our friend Dave. He is deeply missed by us all, and this fundraiser is a great way to continue to support the safety, training, and education in the industry in his name,” said Geoff Kress, President of SEAA.
Project of the Year Panel Discussion
The 2021 Project of the Year winners participated in a panel discussion moderated by Bob Beckner, former SEAA President and Board Member. The panelists included Jorge Amador and Jeff Justice of Hodges Erectors, Michael Mulsow of FM Steel Construction, Steve Bean and Ronald Beveridge of United Steel, and David Deem and Colby Tribble of Deem Structural Services.
Beckner asked the panelists to weigh in on common issues, such as dealing with multiple mobilizations, limited site access, and special shoring. Following the discussion, the floor was opened to questions from the audience.
“Talking about these projects in a panel discussion is a great way take advantage of the lessons learned on a project for the benefit of all members,” said David Deem, President of Deem Structural Services. “Often, success on a complex project is about sequencing and anticipating problems. It's critical to get buy in from the general contractor early for pre-planning,” he said.
Jorge Amador, President of Hodges Erectors, stressed the importance of building relationships with other sub-contractors. “Establishing a relationship with specific fabricators is critical to our success. We don't just work with anyone. Those relationships contribute to good working partnerships,” he said.
“This was a new format for the Project of the Year presentation, and people seemed to really like the interactive discussion,” said Drew Heron, of Empire Steel and Vice Chair, Awards Committee.
2022 Project of the Year submissions are due January 28, 2022 for projects that topped out in 2020 and 2021.
Three other education sessions covered a variety of topics. Lee Pieleat of Pioneer Steel Services discussed the continuous changes to AISC Certification requirements. Estimator and Project Manager for Peterson Beckner Industries, James Byrum, gave a presentation on the importance of careful sequencing, temporary shoring, detailed erection planning, and collaboration with the design team. A presentation by Stephen Safran, of Safran Law Offices, focused on defending an OSHA citation if it involves supervisor misconduct. He instructed attendees on how to build a supervisor misconduct defense, where the employer can argue that the foreman or supervisor engaged in unforeseeable or unpreventable misconduct.
Getting to know New Members
2021 has been a year of tremendous growth for the association. "We have added more new members to date in 2021 than in any other single year since we started tracking the data,” reported Jack Nix, of Shelby Erectors and Chairman, Membership Committee.
The Membership Committee hosted a special networking event for new members of the association and first-time convention attendees. Jack Nix, Chairman of the Membership Committee, said the event was well received by attendees. “It gave people who were new a chance to meet the board and to learn how to get the most out of their membership. We want to help our members grow and succeed in this industry. That’s what the association is all about,” he said.
Alex Hogan, Sales Manager for Malta Dynamics, was impressed by the amount of passion the association leaders have and their willingness to help its member companies grow. “From the start, everyone at SEAA has been open and willing to share their knowledge on what the industry has to offer, especially to young professionals,” he stated.
The Board of Directors and Membership Committee look forward to continuing this new tradition at future events.
Trade Show and Live Demos
Nearly a dozen exhibitors provided hands-on demonstrations at the indoor and outdoor trade show. Demos were offered as an added value to exhibitors at no additional charge. “Hands-on demonstrations are really appreciated by our members, and for a small trade show, this is something that really sets the event apart,” said Carrie Gulajan of Construction Insurance Agency and Chairwoman, Events Committee.
Inside demos included a timed harness challenge from Malta Dynamics that allowed attendees to see how fast they could put on a fall protection harness. Michael Mulsow of FM Steel Construction, put on the harness in a whopping 13 seconds, winning the challenge and a new Malta Dynamics Warthog Tongue and Buckle Harness.
OTH Pioneer Rigging showcased its LudwigHook remote controlled attachment for a crane hook. This technology eliminates the need for ironworkers to manually disconnect the load, and instead allows them to use a remote control to release the load.
Outdoors, attendees were able to get hands-on with a variety of equipment—an Altec crane, boom lifts from Genie and Skyjack, a Magni telescopic handler, hands-free communication system from SpeakEasy, as well as welding equipment from Miller Electric, Lincoln Electric, and Red-D-Arc.