LAS VEGAS - The Iron Workers and the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) tackled both light-hearted and gritty industry issues Monday as more than 600 attendees packed the 2012 Iron Workers/IMPACT North American Labor Management Conference’s morning session.
“The politics of no and gridlock in Washington have not served our country well,” said Iron Workers General President and IMPACT Co-Chair Walter Wise as he called to order Monday morning’s session. “Instead, our mission as a union is to constantly improve as we reaffirm our commitment to safety and value.”
Management Co-Chair William Brown and IMPACT CEO Eric Waterman also took to the stage to stress the importance of IMPACT’s regional advisory boards and heralded the formation of three new boards in Canada, the addition of which brings IMPACT’s total numbers of RABs to 13, up from ten in 2011. RAB XI Co-Chairs Darrell LaBoucan (Labor) and Ross Fraser (Management) lauded IMPACT’s efforts to tailor its programs to the needs of Canada, especially its instrumentality in encouraging cross-border mobility in areas of western Canada where the industry often experiences shortages of ironworkers. “This is a strong opportunity for ironworkers and contractors to grow their business,” LaBoucan said.
The morning’s discussions also included General James Conway’s powerful session on effective leadership, and later, Charlie Cook’s take on the current political landscape as the nation gears up for the presidential election later this year. Anirban Basu, CEO of the Sage Policy Group, livened the mood as he delivered a positive economic outlook for the coming years.
More of the day’s highlights include Executive Director of Apprenticeship and Training Lee Worley’s presentation on training material innovation, as well as the signing of a partnering agreement between IMPACT and the American Subcontractors Association (ASA), an organization that, like IMPACT, is committed to improving communication and productivity within the construction industry. The agreement opens the door to a much-needed information-sharing program between the two organizations, benefitting both ironworkers and contractors.
The afternoon breakout sessions included a packed house at “A Frank Discussion With Contractors and Owners,” moderated by Management Co-Chair William Brown. General President Walter Wise, General Secretary Eric Dean, General Treasurer Ed McHugh and all Iron Worker district council presidents were on hand to add to the discussion.
Lyle Hill of Keytech North America presented “Transparency in the Glazing Business,” and Dan Grove and Lee Worley spoke to dozens of attendees interested in learning more about Iron Worker IT programs in “What Are the IWITS and the IWATS?” Harvey Swift and Rick Sullivan piqued ironworkers’ interest in mobile technologies by delving into the world of mobile construction apps—and even added a highly interactive session component to gather more ideas on future ironworker-specific application development.
In late afternoon sessions, Ian Coats of Tekla, Inc., presented on innovative virtual reality modeling called “Business Information Modeling." Erin Conway of the AISC presented a “Steel Supply Chain” tutorial. Don Hazel of McGraw Hill and Tony Salemme of Industrial Information Resources presented “Need More Work? Here It Is!,” a breakout session highlighting IMPACT’s project tracking software, offered free (or deeply discounted) to participating contractors.
Finally, Communications Specialist Brennan Gamwell’s “I’m Already Online…And I Didn’t Even Know It” rounded out the day with a hugely popular presentation on social media, branding and identity in the digital sphere, with a focus on what the Iron Workers and IMPACT do to communicate online.
“This year’s session consists of 50 percent ironworkers and 50 percent contractors and owners. The diversity of this year’s group has led to some incredible, productive discussions, and I look forward to continuing this trend tomorrow,” added CEO Waterman.
About the Iron Workers International: The International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers (IABSO&RIW) was founded in 1896 in Pittsburgh, Penn. They now represent more than 125,000 ironworkers throughout the United States and Canada. The IABSO&RIW’s mission is to improve the working conditions of its members while promoting constructive relationships with their employers to increase work opportunities.