Friday Has Never Felt So Good!

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First, I have to confess one thing before getting started on recapping the 2017 Winter Conference that was held this week.  We definitely had scheduled a daily blog post during the conference to keep everyone updated on the happenings of the day, etc., etc., but as you can see, those posts are missing.  I don’t know why we thought there would be ‘down time’ to blog during the 3-day scramble.  And once it was time to call it a day each night after they lowered the gates and locked up the halls after 14 hours of conference activities, blogging about the entire day was the last thing on the agenda.  So, here we are now, two days after the conference, finally ‘blogging.’  Which by the way, is still very new and strange to me.  Confession #2: I hated creative writing classes.  I would take a math or science class over writing any day.

We took over the Prairie Meadows Events & Conference Center in Altoona, Iowa Monday morning and made it our home for the following two days.  Pre-registrations ended up coming in just shy of 1,300 attendees, which broke last year’s record.

Most of the exhibitors were able to move in their booths on Monday and it started looking pretty great walking down the halls!  The MBI Board of Directors also held their meeting onsite at Prairie Meadows on Monday, which has become an annual tradition.

Outing Chairman of the MBI Board of Directors Mike Simpson was presented with this custom cycling jersey during the Board meeting.

The Annual MBI Membership Meeting rounded off the day and was held from 3:30 – 5:00 pm, followed by a cocktail reception to kick off the start of the conference.  The membership meeting had over 200 people registered to attend in advance, and as you can see from the pictures, it was a full house!  New Board and Associate Council members were elected during the meeting and this year’s MB EYE on the Future class was recognized and reported on their class project.

Following the membership meeting, our group kept the bartenders busy for a bit before breaking up to head off to dinner and, most likely, up to the casino.

Tuesday is always a big day of the conference.  Multiple major awards are given out, nearly 1,000 people receive training, and the industry comes together for very large happy hour.

The Build Iowa Award was presented to Craig Hansen of The Hansen Company Tuesday morning during breakfast.  Hundreds of people were on hand for the presentation and we want to congratulate Craig again for his accomplishments and everything he has done for MBI and the construction industry.

Build Iowa Award Recipient
Craig Hansen, The Hansen Company

Following breakfast, 3-hour professional development sessions were held in the conference center while our staff and the Prairie Meadows staff got ready for the next major event of the day – the Masters Award Luncheon.  The Masters was once again a sold out crowd and it did not disappoint.  Bobby Bowden was this year’s keynote presenter and he had everyone’s attention during his presentation.

Bobby Bowden

This year we were able to present the first Master Builder Achievement Award.  The Master Builder Designation recognition program was started by MBI just prior to the 2012-13 training season.  The notion of the program is to encourage employees of MBI firms to strive for lifelong learning in the construction industry by granting credits for each course or program attended.  Credits are awarded in the areas of Leadership, Project Management, Ecological Construction, Ethics, and Safety, with virtually every education program that MBI offers providing credits in one or more of these areas.  The Master Builder Design Achievement Award is earned when an individual surpasses 150 credits and fulfills the requirements in each of the areas listed above.  The first Master Builder Achievement Award was earned by Lee Hollatz of The Hansen Company!

Lee Hollatz, The Hansen Company

This year’s Masters Awards were awarded as follows:

Masters Award – $1 Million – $5 Million Category
Ryan Companies US, Inc. – Indian Creek Nature Center/Amazing Space
Masters Award $5 Million – $10 Million Category
Edge Companies – Iowa Methodist Medical Center/Critical Care Unit Renovation
Masters Award Over $10 Million Category
The Weitz Company – Accumold/Building 3 Addition
Masters Award for Exemplary Construction
Mortenson Construction – University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium

After the Masters Award Luncheon concluded, everyone went back into the classrooms for the second session of the professional development offerings.  Once again, we all went into preparation mode and got Prairie Meadows ready for the Annual Construction Industry Reception.

This year’s industry reception turnout was once again amazing and everyone had a great time meeting up with old friends and colleagues from the industry.

Wednesday morning was an even earlier start for everyone.  We were able to grab a few hours of sleep before getting the day started after staying up to watch an ISU win over Oklahoma State (yes, I am slightly biased).

Wednesday was devoted to construction safety.  Hundreds rolled in for the annual safety day, which included four sessions of safety-related topics, the Safety Awards Breakfast and a lunch with an exhibitor reception.

The Safety Awards Breakfast was headlined by war veteran and actor J.R. Martinez.  (Many people might recognize him from Dancing with the Stars when he took home the Mirror Ball trophy.)  His keynote presentation was motivating and he touched on a program close to his heart, Operation Finally Home.  We were honored to present him with a $1K check for the non-profit organization.  It is a really great organization and we encourage you to learn more about their mission and get involved as contractors –

The 2017 safety awards were presented to the following:

Outstanding Company Safety Achievement Award – General Contractor Category
The Hansen Company
Outstanding Company Safety Achievement Award – Subcontractor Category
The Waldinger Corporation
Safety Professional of the Year
Chris Davis – Baker Group
Safety Champion of the Year Award
Curt Baker – The Waldinger Corporation

This year was the first time we changed up the schedule and held a buffet luncheon paired with an exhibitor reception, much like the one from the night before, minus the booze.  Lou Sipolt once again emceed the reception and multiple prizes were given away at the end.

The end of the reception marked the end of the conference for the 60 exhibiting companies.  What took hours upon hours to unpack and put in place, was gone in almost less than an hour.  The safety sessions continued on through the afternoon and the conference officially came to an end at 5:00 pm on Wednesday.

Even though the work is piled up and we could probably even consider it being ‘busier than ever’ right now, we’re all enjoying this Friday a little bit more than usual today.  You can feel a more relaxed vibe in the office and everyone just seems to be happier.  So after a stressful, rewarding, hectic, and successful week, Friday has never felt so good!