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ECA Annual Meeting

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Gasparilla Inn

Members gathered in March to discuss industry strategies and topics.

by Harold F. Potts, Jr. and Bruce Moore

The 2012 Elevator Contractors of America (ECA) Annual Meeting was held on March 4-6 at the Gasparilla Inn in Boca Grande, Florida. ECA welcomed a record number of members to this year’s meeting. Members from around the country, along with spouses and children, gathered for the annual evening reception. This has become a very popular tradition that offers a great opportunity to catch up after another busy year.

Members got to work on March 5. ECA provided breakfast and hot coffee to get everyone ready for the day. ECA Chairman Neil Hussey called the meeting to order and asked everyone to join in the Pledge of Allegiance. He then presented an outline of the meeting and gave an update on the status of the negotiations with the International Union of Elevator Constructors.

Hussey introduced ECA attorney Ken Richman, who made a presentation on various matters affecting ECA members. Tax and labor strategies were discussed at length, in addition to pending legislation. This was followed by a question-and-answer session.

After a brief break, board member Don Taylor introduced the next speaker, Robert Carrow of the Carrow Group, Inc. Carrow began his presentation on leadership skills and the importance of staying positive in a challenging business environment. The importance of effective communication was emphasized. Carrow’s engaging style and energy was greatly appreciated by the ECA membership.

The final presentation of the day was by Hussey and Richman. Employer rights under the union contract and competitive issues were the main topics. Members were actively involved in the presentation and asked several questions. Everyone agreed having Richman attend the meetings was very beneficial. Members had the rest of day one to enjoy the beautiful resort and dinner on their own.

March 6 began bright and early with officer reports and the annual business meeting. Hussey reviewed the activities of the association over the last year and answered questions. Vice Chairman Mike Warfield spoke of his work for the association over the past year, and one of your authors (Potts) presented the 2012 financial statement. ECA enjoyed another successful financial year. Secretary Greg Carlisle discussed his many responsibilities and activities on behalf of the association. All reports were approved by the membership.

The regular program began with a presentation by R.D. Merritt and Mike Mullins, both of the Elevator Industry Work Preservation Fund. Fund activities were discussed. It was announced Merritt is retiring, and he was thanked by the leadership and members for his service to ECA over the years.

John O’Donnell of the National Elevator Industry Education Program gave an extensive talk on the programs it offers. It was discussed that encouraging mechanics to continue their education is a major focus and challenge for the industry. Expansion of the available hands-on labs is also an important initiative.

The final speaker at this year’s meeting was Rob Betts, representing National Elevator Industry Benefit Plans. He gave a thorough explanation of the performance of the several fringe-benefit plans provided to union members. The financial condition of the pension plan is a major concern for ECA members. Betts provided long-range projections and answered member questions.

Warfield gave concluding remarks and thanked everyone for attending the meeting. Members expressed appreciation for the meeting planning and excellent program. An announcement about next year’s meeting date and location will be made as soon as arrangements are completed.

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