The slogan for the Mechanical Contractors Association of America’s 2015 convention is “Discover Maui,” but many association members are probably already familiar with this Hawaiian Island.

The MCAA makes Hawaii a regular stop on its convention schedule.MCAA_IN

This year’s conference will take place March 8-12 at the Grand Wailea and Wailea Marriott resorts. The MCAA always packs its agendas with more activities and guest speakers than most other conferences. Almost any one of the MCAA’s speakers could headline another group’s convention.

For 2015, the HVAC construction contractors group has brought bestselling writers, former White House staffers and television personalities for its annual HVAC construction conference.

Opening the conference at 8 a.m. March 9 will be the Obama administration’s former U.S. Defense secretary and CIA Director Leon Panetta. A longtime Washington insider, he also acted as former President Bill Clinton’s chief of staff and was a U.S. representative from California.

Bruce Weinstein, who bills himself as “the ethics guy,” will explain “Five Principles for Making the Right Decisions Every Time” at 10:45 a.m. March 9. From deciding whether to call in sick at work to stopping excessive discipline of a child, Weinstein will help audience members explore their beliefs and hopefully help them make the correct, ethical choices in their daily lives.

No crystal balls

“Futurists” — who are not like the French chemist and seer Nostradamus — are a popular entertainment choice at many conventions. The MCAA has brought in Watts Wacker, who will explain how the world is different from even 10 years ago and what that means for business and your life. He will present “Living With the ‘New Normal’ and the Epoch of Uncertainty” at 9:30 a.m. March 11.

Author John Green has gone from being a largely unknown but well-respected author of fiction aimed at teens to one of Hollywood’s hottest writers, having written The Fault in Our Stars, which was a New York Times bestseller and hit movie.

Through savvy use of social media, he has created a community of fans who call themselves “nerd fighters” and follow his musings on Twitter and YouTube. MCAA members will hear his story at 8:30 a.m. March 10.

If you have watched CBS-TV in the last 20 years, you have probably seen James Brown. No, not the late R&B singer but the Emmy-winning host of “NFL Today” and “Sunday Night Football.” named him the studio host of the decade in 2010.

Brown will speak at 7 a.m. March 11 as part of the association’s annual excellence awards breakfast.

A Harvard University graduate, he has gone from doing play-by-play announcing to speaking about the need for the National Football League and its players to speak out against domestic violence.

From the deep

Robert Ballard may be best known as the man who found the Titanic in 1985, but there is much more to the marine biologist. He has explored sea life around the world while also finding some of the ocean’s most storied sunken vessels. The association has booked Ballard to speak at 8:45 a.m. March 12 as part of its closing ceremonies.

In addition to these headliners, the association has hired a number of what they call “business strategists” to give members new insights into their companies. David Avrin, aka “the visibility coach,” will expand on the topics in his book, “It’s Not Who You Know, It’s Who Knows You” at 10:15 a.m. March 9.

Avrin will give tips on how HVAC construction contractors can stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Many contractors want to know where the industry is headed. James Benham of JBKnowledge will give his construction forecast at 10:15 a.m. March 9. From the cloud to identifying what may be industry fads, Benham will explain the importance of collaboration-integrating technologies.

At 10:15 a.m. the next day, analyst Paul Doherty will explore “The Changing Face of Mechanical Contracting.”

Doherty says emerging technologies such as “big data,” “the Internet of things,” “smart cities” and “data visualization” are changing the way construction is done around the world. Learn more about these and other developments from Doherty, who advises major corporations worldwide.

Robert Wendover has spoken many times to sheet metal works and HVAC sales groups about the impact of millennial workers and other age brackets entering the workplace. For the MCAA, Wendover will appear several times March 9-10 to speak about “Knowledge Transfer  and Emerging Generations,” “Training the Millennial Mind” and “Making Smart Decisions in a Dumbed-Down World.”

Wendover, the director of the Center for Educational Studies, will explore these issues designed to help mechanical contractors make better hiring and business decisions, starting at 10:15 a.m. March 9.

 For the full conference lineup and other information, go to