John B. “Jack” Wilhelmi, outgoing Mechanical Contractors Association of America president, was recognized for his educational leadership by the group. Photo courtesy of MCAA.

PHOENIX - A recession didn’t stop a couple thousand contractors from attending the Mechanical Contractors Association of America’s national convention.

The slogan for the March 1-5 event at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge resort was “Learn. Enjoy. Grow.”

Attendees had the opportunity to learn from big-name educators and entertainers such as former Republican Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, broadcaster Bob Costas, Notre Dame University football legend Rudy Ruettiger, actor Ed Begley Jr., and political reporter Howard Fineman. In addition to the more than 15 featured speakers, there were approximately 14 other speakers appearing in revolving educational sessions for the MCAA faithful to choose from.

John B. “Jack” Wilhelmi, outgoing MCAA president, emceed most of the meeting activities and was recognized for his educational leadership by peers during the March 2 opening session. Tom Koehn, CEO of Waldinger Corp., where Wilhemi serves as the Omaha division manager, said, “Jack’s efforts have furnished this industry with the leadership of tomorrow.”

Wilhelmi was instrumental in growing the MCAA’s successful student chapter program, officials said. During his term in office, Wilhelmi continued to emphasize the importance of developing young people to serve the industry.

“I am convinced that while our circumstances are challenging, our situation is far from hopeless,” he said during his opening remarks to the membership. “I believe that what each of us needs to do is to rededicate ourselves to being the best leader we know how to be ... We can rely on MCAA’s core competency as the education association.”

Wilhelmi suggested that all members take advantage of programs available through both MCAA and the Mechanical Service Contractors of America, and to invest in their futures by hiring at least one student from participating student chapters.

Television and radio sports broadcaster Bob Costas was one of the MCAA convention’s best-known speakers. Photo courtesy of MCAA. 


During the five-day convention, several awards were presented and new officers introduced. The MCAA Distinguished Service Award was given to Tim Wentz, P.E., a teacher from the University of Lincoln-Nebraska.

Wentz played a major role in organizing all the student chapter activities of MCAA and has been a prominent figure in the association’s educational programs for many years, according to association officials.

MCAA presented its 2008 Educator of the Year Award to Mike Feutz of Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Mich.

MCAA’s Career Development Committee selected Feutz for the award based on a combination of his mentoring ability, industry knowledge and involvement, and active participation in student chapter program activities. Since 1998, Feutz has dedicated considerable time and effort to the members of the Greater Michigan MSCA Student Chapter at Ferris State University, officials said. He has organized the chapter’s monthly meetings, field trips to MCAA members’ operations to learn more about the business of contracting, community volunteer programs, trips to the MCAA annual convention and a student conference.

He has helped the students with fundraising and membership recruitment activities and he has helped undergraduates find internships and graduates to find full-time jobs.

Lonnie Coleman, president of Coleman Spohn Corp., a mechanical contractor located in Cleveland, was named 2009-2010 MCAA president.

New officers

Lonnie Coleman assumed the office of president at the convention. Coleman is president of Coleman Spohn Corp., a mechanical contractor located in Cleveland.

Appointed to the board of directors in 2002, Coleman is active in the association on both the national and local levels. At the national level, he serves on the executive committee and the directors board. He is also a past chairman of the government affairs committee.

At the local level, he is active in the MCA of Cleveland, where he served as president, vice president and treasurer. He also served on the board of directors and the hiring hall committee.

Mark Rogers was elected as senior vice president and treasurer.

Rogers is chief operating officer of West Chester Mechanical Contractors Inc., an HVAC, service and plumbing contractor that serves the Philadelphia area.

Appointed to the board of directors in 2003, Rogers is active on the national and local levels. At the national level, he serves on the executive committee and the board of directors. He is chairman emeritus of the education committee and has served on a number of task forces that have developed MCAA education programs. He is a graduate of MCAA’s Advanced Leadership Institute. At the local level, Rogers served as president of the MCA of Eastern Pennsylvania. He is also a trustee and serves on several committees.

Robert T. Armistead, P.E., was named president-elect. Armistead is president of Armistead Mechanical, Inc., a fourth-generation mechanical contracting and engineering firm with offices in Waldwick, N.J., and Newburgh, N.Y.

The MCAA student chapter at Boston’s Northeastern University took first prize in the association’s annual competition. They were presented the award by Career Development Committee Chairman Brett Christiansen (pictured in the suit). Photo courtesy of MCAA.

Boston student chapter wins competition

The MCAA student chapter at Boston’s Northeastern University took first prize in MCAA’s 2008-2009 Student Chapter Competition.

The competition results were revealed during the Mechanical Contractors Association of America’s March 4 Awards of Excellence Breakfast at the association’s annual convention in Phoenix.

The University of Washington’s student chapter took second place.

During the competition, 28 student chapter teams prepared proposals for a build-and-spec project - a 73,000-square-foot, two-story hospital in northern California.