From tackling constantly changing regulations to the need for better online security, SMACNA members received a lot of business tips at this year’s conference.
They also heard a few early predictions about how next year’s presidential race might shake out. And a few jokes from former “Saturday Night Live” cast member Jim Breuer.
The Sheet Metal and Air-Conditioning Contractors National Association brought its 72nd annual convention Sept. 27-30 to the historic Broadmoor hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Among the popular sessions was a Sept. 28 presentation by metals expert Catherine Houska of TMR Consulting, who explained that architectural sheet metal forming is very sustainable, and qualifies for points under the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design rating program.
“Metal is one of the most sustainable materials that can be used,” Houska said, adding that it has been recycled for hundreds of years.
Recycling rates for metals range from 33 percent to 97 percent, with most above 70 percent, she said.
The annual HVAC construction convention discussion on Washington politics with SMACNA lobbyists Dana Thompson and Stan Kolbe was well-attended. The two didn’t always agree on where the country was headed or which party would control Congress, but they both saw opportunities for SMACNA to possibly advice issues important to them.
Thompson said Democrats may boost their numbers in the Senate — or not.
“The Democrats have very good chances in four states,” she said. “Some people think the Democrats are a (certainty) to take over the U.S. Senate. I am not so sure.”
And the long presidential campaign cycle is not likely to see any increase in civility, she added.
“On both sides, it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” she said.
As for who might win the nomination of the Republicans or Democrats, Thompson had a few ideas on who would not get the nod.
“Bernie Sanders could not get elected president if he ran unopposed,” she said of the independent Vermont senator and self-described democratic socialist.
She doubted that Vice President Joe Biden would run for president a third time and risk tarnishing his legacy. (Biden announced Oct. 21 that he would not seek the Democratic nomination.)
Former first lady and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton does not have her husband Bill Clinton’s charisma, and the email scandal is not going away anytime soon, she said. However, despite the interest in billionaire Donald Trump’s campaign, she does not see him or any GOP candidates as a strong challenger to a Clinton candidacy.
“We’re really a TV nation now,” she said. People like the show.
She said Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida or former Hewlett-Packard Co. executive Carly Fiorina may eventually get the nomination.