The Mechanical Contractors Association of America is hoping its members leave their annual conference with a new way of thinking.

The conference, March 17-21 at the JW Marriott Hill Country Resort in San Antonio, is themed “Unconventional thinking: The essential ingredient of success.”

The association said that the speakers and educational sessions for the 2013 event will aim to show contractors how new ways of thinking will help them succeed in their businesses.

With most MCAA conferences, the association has once again booked a number of high-profile names to address members.

At 8 a.m. March 18, TV journalist Scott Pelley will speak at the general session. Pelley is the anchor of the “CBS Evening News” and a correspondent for “60 Minutes.” He will share stories of his career, including covering the resignation of President Richard Nixon and the end of the Vietnam War. Event organizers said Pelley will share how his unconventional approach to journalism helped him get the story.

At 7 a.m. March 20, the MCAA will welcome astronaut and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Kelly. Kelly flew combat missions during the Gulf War and also commanded NASA shuttle flights. He has made trips to the International Space Station and has spent more than 50 days in space. Kelly made headlines in 2011 when an assassination attempt was made on his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

Kelly will take part in the MCAA’s annual awards breakfast.

High-profile speakers will not only be giving speeches during the conference, but teaching some courses. For example, Frank Abagnale will present “Catch Me If You Can” at 10:30 a.m. March 18, and “The Art of the Steal” on the same day at 1:30 p.m.

Abagnale’s life is chronicled in the film “Catch Me If You Can,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio playing a young Abagnale. Abagnale was a “confidence man,” taking on identities helping him steal millions of dollars. He was caught at the age of 21, spent time in prison, and was then released under the condition he would help the U.S. government track those committing similar crimes. At the MCAA conference, Abagnale will show attendees how to avoid becoming victims.

Besides Abagnale’s two sessions, attendees will get to choose from a number of educational offerings. From March 18-20, various sessions will be presented, including “iPad Basics,” “Compensation and Incentive Plans,” “Ten Things You Should Know About the National Health Care Law,” and “Star Trek to the Jobsite.”

Before the conference ends, MCAA has one more headliner for attendees. A dinner and concert will be held March 20 with Grammy-winning artist Martina McBride. She has sold over 14 million albums. The Academy of Country Music has presented her with the Female Vocalist of the Year Award four times.

For more information on the MCAA conference, call (301) 869-5800 or visit