SMACNA's annual convention includes high-profile speakers, seminars and plenty of golf.

TV personality and former Pittsburgh Steeler Terry Bradshaw is SMACNA’s Oct. 17 luncheon speaker.
Warm weather. Golf. Terry Bradshaw. SMACNA should have no trouble attracting attendees to its 62nd annual convention.

Some of the biggest names in HVAC are expected to attend the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association's Oct. 16-20 annual gathering. The event will be held at the Desert Springs, a JW Marriott Resort and Spa, and one of the hotel company's most luxurious properties.

Seminars, committee roundtable discussions and a small trade show are planned.

The two guest speakers the association has hired for the event, TV personality and former Pittsburgh Steeler Terry Bradshaw, along with award-winning journalist Cokie Roberts, are also likely to be a draw. The same goes for the convention's closing performers, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, a group made up of several original members of the legendary 1960s Southern rock band, Creedence Clearwater Revival.

Bradshaw will speak during the Oct. 17 opening-session lunch. His past vocations include star athlete, TV personality, singer, author and actor. He is perhaps best known as a quarterback for several Pittsburgh Steelers Super Bowl championship teams in the 1970s and a commentator on the "Fox NFL Sunday" program.

In his 14-year career, he completed more than 2,000 passes and had more than 200 touchdowns.

But there's a lot more to the 57-year-old, 6-foot-3-inch Pro Football Hall of Fame member than just sports. He has hosted a TV talk show, "Home Team With Terry Bradshaw," had cameos in films such as "The Cannonball Run," "Smokey and the Bandit II" and was a guest star on "Blossom," "Married... with Children" and "Everybody Loves Raymond."

Bradshaw is also a singer who has recorded several country and gospel albums, and written five books. And he's become a sought-after public speaker, and SMACNA members will see why during his speech.

Bradshaw will tell his experiences with sacrifice, pain, competition and adversity, and offer tips on how you can improve your daily life.

Anyone interested in journalism and the female perspective is invited to hear longtime journalist Cokie Roberts at 8 a.m. Oct. 18 during the spouse breakfast. Roberts has covered national and international events for more than 30 years. She will share her personal and professional insights with SMACNA members.

Currently a senior news analyst for National Public Radio, she has also worked for ABC News for many years, serving as co-host of "This Week with Sam Donaldson & Cokie Roberts" from 1996-2002 and chief congressional analyst for the network. She has also reported on events for ABC's "World News Tonight."

Since joining NPR, she has won the Edward R. Murrow Award, the highest honor in public radio. She also publishes a syndicated column, which appears in major newspapers nationwide.

Roberts is also a best-selling author, having written We Are Our Mother's Daughters and Founding Mothers: The Women Who Raised Our Nation. The book is an examination of the mothers of the men involved in writing the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.

The Oct. 19 convention-closing performers, Creedence Clearwater Revisited, has been a popular act on the oldies circuit for a decade. Made up of original band members Stu Cook and Doug "Cosmo" Clifford, this new incarnation of "CCR" plays the group's many hits from the late 1960s and early 1970s, when they, along with brothers Tom and John Fogerty, were a mainstay on AM Top 40 radio. "Proud Mary," "Down on the Corner," "Susie Q" and "Travelin' Band" are just a few of the group's many hits. SMACNA members can expect to hear many of them during the performance.

Before Creedence performs at the convention's end, there will be plenty of seminars, committee meetings and forums for members to attend. Here's a look at some of them.

‘LEED'ing the way

SMACNA members will learn how to "LEED" during the HVAC Contractors Forum at 8 a.m. Oct. 17. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building-rating program is designed to accelerate the use of environmentally friendly or "green" building practices. This session will present program basics and implications for HVAC contractors. Other topics to be discussed at the forum include the risks of early equipment start-up and trends in training.

Kathy de Jong, a principal with Performance Management, will demonstrate “win-win” strategies for SMACNA members Oct. 17.

Saying ‘no'

If you say "no" too many times to work requests, people stop asking. But if you say "yes" too much, you can be labeled a pushover. Kathy de Jong, a principal with Performance Management, will show SMACNA members how to initiate win-win strategies - and when to just say "no." De Jong will host "Getting Beyond ‘No': Finding Resolution Without Boxing Gloves," at 9:45 a.m. and 2:15 p.m. Oct. 17.

Whether you are working with an employee, customer or a family member, the key to success is how you structure the issue so that the other party is willing to listen, de Jong says.

MasterFormat changes

A special session on recent major changes to the Construction Specifications Institute's MasterFormat will take place at 2 p.m. Oct. 17.

CSI has created a new division, No. 23-HVAC. Dennis Hall of Hall Architects Inc. and chairman of the CSI task team responsible for developing the revised MasterFormat, will discuss the importance of these revisions to SMACNA contractors.

Ron Rodgers, chairman of the SMACNA Bid Specifications Task Force, will also discuss three initiatives: development of a bid-specifications document based on the new division, a new bulletin dealing with project, and subcontractor management issues from the perspective of a direct-bid HVAC contractor.

Industrial ventilation

During the Industrial Contractors Forum at 2:15 p.m. Oct. 17, Bill Johnston of the Ford Motor Co. will provide an overview of industrial ventilation principles and how to put them into practice on projects. His presentation, "Positioning Your Company to Secure Industrial Ventilation Projects," will explain the owner's perspective on what is expected from contractors performing work in industrial plants.

In addition to his work at Ford, Johnston is also an instructor at the Industrial Ventilation Conference, which is held every two years at the University of Alabama-Birmingham's School of Engineering.

A panel discussion will also be held. It will include members of the Industrial Contractors Council Steering Committee. The panel will discuss how past experience and performance can be used to secure better bid/win ratios in the industrial market. Johnston will also participate in the discussion, providing the owner's point of view.

Also at 2:15 p.m. Oct. 17, the Architectural Contractors Forum will explore current trends in cutting methods for various types of metals, including specialty metals, in the field and shop. This will include a presentation by council members Dennis Bailey and Harold Munder. A discussion on the long-term effects of cutting techniques, including its impact on quality, will also take place.

From 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. Oct. 18, SMACNA will hold a small trade show. Product literature and manufacturer representatives will be on hand to answer questions.

(For more information on SMACNA's 62nd annual convention, write 4201 Lafayette Center Drive, Chantilly, VA 20151-1209; call (703) 803-2980; fax (703) 803-3732; see on the Internet.)

Image courtesy of JW Marriott Desert Springs.

Host city offers great weather,

entertainment Palm Desert's official Web site has a slogan about the city: "Palm Desert is more than a destination; it's a state of mind."

This laid-back city near the Santa Rosa Mountains is perhaps best known for sunshine and the world-class golf and resorts it offers. Close to Palm Springs, Indian Wells and a number of other upscale communities, it offers an oasis of activities and culture, which SMACNA members will have a chance to experience during the group's Oct. 16-20 convention.

The region's history is dominated by that of the American Indian tribes who first called this area home. According to Palm Springs' tourism bureau, the region's early settlers were ancestors of the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. The first non-Indians arrived in the 1770s, starting the region on a growth path that continues today.

During the 1930s, the area became a favorite of Hollywood celebrities, and stars such as Marlene Dietrich often visited during the winter months. In the 1940s, the area was used by the U.S. Army to train troops, further increasing the population.

The widespread popularity of air conditioning following World War II made it a popular year-round destination.

Today, it offers an abundance of activities, from festivals to high-end shopping and dining. That's especially true in Palm Desert.

Palm Desert is a golf lover's dream: there are more than 30 courses in the city proper, and about a hundred in the surrounding valley. They host such high-profile annual events as the Bob Hope Classic and the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational. Tennis is almost as popular: there are about 150 tennis courts within the city limits.

For shoppers, the city has 14 distinct retail districts, containing more than 1,000 stores, as well as a major mall. El Paseo Boulevard is an upscale shopping destination with restaurants, galleries and chic clothing shops. It's been called the "Rodeo Drive of the Desert," referring to the famous street in Beverly Hills, Calif., known for upscale shopping.

If you're into history, the Palm Desert area offers a number of museums and attractions. The General Patton Memorial Museum, dedicated to the life of U.S. Army Gen. George S. Patton, is a short drive away in Chiriaco Summit. In nearby Palm Springs, the Agua Caliente American Indian tribe operates a cultural museum. A museum of World War II-era combat aircraft is also in Palm Springs.

Those interested in - or inspired by - art will find much to enjoy in Palm Desert. The city has a program that encourages the incorporation of art into public places throughout the city: on bridges, parks, buildings and highway medians. More than 90 sculptures are on display.

In addition, dozens of art galleries sit along El Paseo Boulevard.

Among the city's best-known attractions is the Living Desert Reserve. The privately endowed 1,200-acre retreat contains examples of many desert plants and wildlife, including warthogs, mountain lions, Mexican wolves and others. Camping and hiking are also available nearby.

SMACNA's convention hotel, the Desert Springs, is part of the JW Marriott Resort and Spa line, which marks the hotel company's most luxurious accommodations. The AAA four-diamond property was rated one of the 500 best hotels in the world by Travel & Leisure magazine. It features 450 landscaped acres that include lagoons, two 18-hole golf courses and gondola rides.