CSDA 2017 Convention & Tech Fair

An entertaining keynote presentation featuring a popular construction material—Lego—gave business owners unique insight into problem-solving and decision-making as CSDA held its 45th Annual Convention & Tech Fair in the beautiful Caribbean

The March 16-18 event took place at the luxurious Gran Meliá Golf Resort in Puerto Rico and was preceded by the association’s spring Board and committee meetings.

An energetic keynote and workshop on LEGO Serious Play helped attendees hone their decision-making skills.

During the Enhancing Business Performance, Communications & Problem-Solving Skills with LEGO Serious Play® keynote session, speaker Nathan Schwagler introduced attendees to an outside-the-box, interactive approach using Lego blocks that no doubt gave people something to build on as they went home to their businesses. Each participant built their own 3D model in response to Schwagler’s questions using specially selected elements, which served as a basis for group discussions and knowledge sharing. The keynote presentation was followed up by a highly-focused workshop that went further in-depth with the concept.

Elsewhere on the convention program, Tim Hurson of Thinkx Intellectual Capital led a workshop that concentrated on The Creative Sales Conversation for those looking at ways to build business sales and relationships. Other highly-valuable business included a plethora of topics, from presentations about underwater wire sawing, GPR applications and the process of hydrodemolition to panel discussions regarding OSHA’s Final Silica Rule and women in the concrete cutting industry. In addition, a series of quick-fire roundtables were scheduled to have contractors converse about the challenges they face in today’s business climate.

“The convention was wonderful and we will be attending again in the future. I got more useful business information out of the week than I have in years of being in business,” said David Clark of Hard Rock Concrete Cutting in Raleigh, North Carolina.

The CSDA Tech Fair proved once again to be a popular feature of the convention program. Close to 20 leading industry manufacturers and affiliates exhibited at the event, drawing a great crowd of attendees. This intimate setting provides vendors and contractors a chance to talk one-on-one, build relationships and hold uninterrupted discussions about products and services. “The Tech Fair was excellent. I learned a lot and made some great networking connections,” said Scott Mattlin of Tri-State Concrete Sawing, Inc. in Cleves, Ohio.

Incoming CSDA President Jack Sondergard, left, is congratulated by outgoing president Kevin Baron.

Also in Puerto Rico, CSDA announced new Officers and Board members, elected to serve the association and its membership. Elected to serve a two-year term as President was Jack Sondergard, Central Concrete Cutting, Inc., Edgar, Wisconsin. Matthew Finnigan, National Concrete Cutting Inc., Milton, Washington was elected as Vice President while Dan Foley, Cobra Concrete Cutting Services Co., Arlington Heights, Illinois, became Secretary/Treasurer. Kevin Baron, Western Saw, Inc., Oxnard, California, now serves as Past President and Patrick O’Brien continues as Executive Director.

“I consider it a great honor to be elected as CSDA President and I truly look forward to working with a Board full of dynamic, forward-thinking industry leaders,” says Sondergard. “We are in the midst of some tremendous shifts in terms of industry safety, so it is my hope that CSDA can continue to provide companies with valuable resources and training designed to help them succeed in what will be a challenging period for all.”

Six Board members, whose terms expire in 2019, were elected. They are Dan Dennison, Diamond Tools Technology, Indianapolis, Indiana; Mark DeSchepper, Construction Solutions, Paola, Kansas; Jami Harmon, GSSI, Inc., Nashua, New Hampshire; Jessica Ledger-Kalen, Royale Concrete, Fairfield, Iowa; Mike Orzechowski, DITEQ Corporation, Lenexa, Kansas and Doug Walker, Concrete Cutting Consultants, LLC, Long Beach Township, New Jersey.

Returning for the second year of their term are Peter Bigwood, Brokk, Inc., Monroe, Washington; Scott Brown, ICS Blount, Inc., Portland, Oregon; Matthew Dragon, GPRS, Inc., Toledo, Ohio; Bennett Jones, Advanced Concrete Sawing, Inc., St. Paul, Minnesota; Kevin Schmitt, Husqvarna Construction Products, Olathe, Kansas and Kellie Vazquez, Holes Incorporated, Houston, Texas.

Back Row (from left to right): Mark DeSchepper, Mike Orzechowski, Matthew Finnigan, Doug Walker. Middle Row: Peter Bigwood, Bennett Jones, Patrick O’Brien, Jack Sondergard. Front Row: Scott Brown, Jami Harmon, Kellie Vazquez, Kevin Schmitt, Jessica Ledger-Kalen (not pictured: Dan Dennison, Matthew Dragon and Dan Foley).

For 2018, CSDA will return to Hawaii for the association’s Convention & Tech Fair. Hawaii has proven to be the most popular convention destination with the CSDA membership, and the 2018 event should be no exception. The association has secured a fantastic deal with the sought-after Grand Wailea Resort in Maui, a Waldorf Astoria hotel, so plan to join CSDA March 6-10, 2018 for what will be a thoroughly enjoyable time in Hawaii. Registration will open in the fall.

CSDA 2017 Board and Committee Meetings
The remainder of the CSDA 2017 Board and committee meeting schedule is as follows:
• June 8-9 The Westin Fort Lauderdale, Fort Lauderdale, Florida
• September 7-8 The Westin Phoenix Downtown, Phoenix, Arizona
• November 30 – December 1 Sheraton Austin Hotel at the Capitol, Austin, Texas

CSDA has a consistent open meeting policy and these meetings are open to all members as well as any prospective members. Local members and all other concrete cutting, polishing, GPR imaging and selective demolition contractors are welcome to attend.

Author: Russell Hitchen

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