– By Rick Hess Chair, NFBA Board of Directors –
My excitement about the 2014 Frame Building Expo keeps building, and I’m eager to share some of the new features with you. With the benefit of your feedback on previous expos and input given by a group of attendees and exhibitors at a special planning session held in April 2013, the Convention Planning Committee has sought to make the show even more valuable and interesting – with crew-member training, more demos on the trade-show floor and a greatly enhanced education program as just a few of the highlights. Read on to learn what will make this year’s Expo both valuable and unforgettable. [DOWNLOAD BROCHURE]
The FMI-led workshop “Improving Your Competitiveness and Bottom Line Through Productivity” is back by popular demand, and we’re also offering a skills-centered workshop on the fundamentals of construction selling and a 10-hour workshop on construction and safety (in two parts). We have also added sessions in a new track: a Hands-On Skills Training track geared toward builders and crew members, trainers, site supervisors and trade students. These sessions, along with workshops in the Management, Sales and Marketing, and Technical Knowledge tracks, add up to 44 hours of industry education and are a great way for you to obtain post-frame builder accreditation credits. Each track is targeted to a specific audience, and the range of topics is truly impressive, from business essentials like creating websites, creating and fostering a high-performance culture, winning new customers and thinking strategically, to the latest technical issues in post-frame construction, such as cutting-edge wood technology, sustainable sites, building design and avoidance of common building failures.
I’m also looking forward to Mike McKinley’s keynote presentation, “Maximizing Performance, Customer Service, and Motivation.” Mike is a business owner, motivational speaker, consultant and author who uses real-life photos in a humorous way yet ties them to serious points about life and business. Moving our businesses to a new level takes time, energy, creative decision making and effective use of our assets and people, and Mike’s street-smart wisdom will help you analyze what’s going on at your business. In an interactive breakout session following his keynote address, you’ll be able to learn more from Mike about applying his pointers to your daily practice, and later Wednesday morning he’ll also present a sales and marketing session titled “They Have the Money: A Simple Equation for Winning and Keeping Your Customers.”
At the trade show you’ll have the opportunity to see, test and buy the latest tools and products on the market and participate in entertaining activities, competitions and daily prize drawings. The receptions and hospitality events offer entertainment but also a relaxed setting for catching up with colleagues and making new friends. Past attendees note that the opportunity for networking is always one of the outstanding benefits of the Expo for them.
Another highlight of the Expo each year is the luncheon and ceremony for NFBA’s Building of the Year awards, which give us all a chance to honor the building projects that stood out among those completed over the past year. I want to call your attention to the new features of this awards contest. The 12 award categories in 2013 will have two divisions: one for smaller builders and one for larger builders (measured by annual gross volume). This change should provide a more level playing field and more opportunities for you to win one of these prestigious awards. The deadline for entries is December 3. Learn more about the re-conceived awards program in the membership benefits article in this issue, and watch for more information on the website and in the NFBA e-newsletter. If you’re not yet an NFBA member, there’s still time for you to join and submit your entry, so please take action!
At the annual business meeting, the NFBA Board of Directors will update you on NFBA’s 2013 accomplishments and goals for 2014 and beyond. Outgoing board members will be recognized, and elections will be held to fill two vacancies on the board. This is your opportunity to shape the organization and the future of the industry, so please plan to be present and let your voice be heard.
Nashville has been a draw for Expo attendees in the past, and we’re glad to be returning to this exciting and unique city. Some of the attractions that you and your family may wish to explore are the Country Music Hall of Fame, the Grand Ole Opry, the Music City Walk of Fame Park, Ryman Auditorium, the Johnny Cash Museum, Cheekwood Botanical Garden and Museum of Art and a number of plantation tours. Check out these and other attractions at www.visitmusiccity.com.
Where will you be March 5–7, 2014? I know I will be in Nashville! You’ll find a detailed brochure on the Expo in this issue of Frame Building News. Learn more at nfba.org, or call the NFBA national office at 800-557-6957. And then secure your place by registering early.
While convention planning has been under way, the Technical and Research (T&R) Committee has been focusing on these four projects:
• Research testing on the guarded hot box at University of Wisconsin – Testing is projected to begin this fall when the hot box is available.
• Inspection guidelines for insurance underwriters – Representatives of the insurance industry were pleased with the direction of the T&R task force’s preliminary draft of guidelines, which noted areas of inspection to help determine the quality of construction for post-frame buildings. The goal is to provide the insurance industry with the means to evaluate the quality of post-frame structures. Although no guarantees have been given, it is possible that buildings deemed by the underwriter to be of higher quality could qualify for lower insurance premiums.
• Revision of NFBA’s Post-Frame Building Design Manual – Chapters 1–4 have been completed, and work on chapters 5–9 is proceeding. The goal is to have the manual rewritten by the end of 2013.
• Revision of Engineering Practice 484 – NFBA has been working with the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers to revise EP 484, Diaphragm Design of Metal-Clad, Post-Frame Rectangular Buildings, and include test data from NFBA’s shear diaphragm testing project.
We’ll hear more about these and other projects at the Expo. I look forward to greeting you in Nashville and sharing the experiences of what promises to be one of the best Expos ever! FBN
Rick Hess is chair of the NFBA Board of Directors and general manager of the Specialty Division of CB Structures Inc., New Holland, Pa. He can be reached at RHess@cbstructuresinc.com.