A 100th Anniversary to Remember

Ed Sellers / May 2018

I will not even try to describe what a tremendous pleasure and honor it was to serve as your AWCI president at the AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo and during this centennial year. On March 11 of this year, AWCI achieved the milestone of 100 years in business, and the many celebrations held during the convention were ones to remember. Being there and playing an active role was really a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me, and I am incredibly proud to have a role in AWCI’s rich history.
    
This year, AWCI changed the one-hour opening President’s Reception to an evening at Epcot® capped by Disney’s famed pyrotechnics. And, the traditional celebration dinner was transformed into a black-tie formal dinner with an outstanding band. This year, the signature drink at the dinner was called the “Oscar Reum” in honor of AWCI’s first president who shepherded AWCI’s predecessor organizations for 27 years. While at the start of the convention we paid homage to our industry’s past, our theme speaker, Jack Uldrich, a global futurist, speaker and author, dazzled us with things to come. The education sessions were top-notch, and board meeting presentations were expanded to include how to respond to self-performing general contractors, the impact of steel tariffs and a new contractor certification program for cold-form steel framing. As has been my experience, AWCI members attending the convention have a competitive advantage when they get back to the office. I can’t stress enough the value of the education, 200 exhibitors and networking with your peers at AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo—the largest commercial wall and ceiling trade show in the world.  We also accomplished a lot to help those in need by raising more than $65,000 to support the Foundation of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, AWCI CARES and the Wounded Warrior Project®.
    
AWCI’s board members are among the best of the best. They not only run successful companies, they participate in AWCI activities, going outside the office to gather new knowledge and share what they know. I thank each member of the board of directors not only for the contributions they made to our recent convention, but for the many things they do with and for AWCI throughout the year.
    
I also back up the many compliments AWCI staff received for their work on the convention. From the events themselves, to the commemorative book that you can now view online at www.awci.org/100, everything was done extremely well and with class. If anything was amiss or went wrong, attendees were not aware of it. Steve Etkin and the AWCI staff team, both at the event and back in the office, are true professionals who are worthy of every accolade they have received (and probably continue to receive).
    
My term as AWCI president is winding down, but I know AWCI is being led by very capable hands into its next centennial. That should make all wall and ceiling contractors relax and feel confident that being active in their association is the best thing they can do for their own business. One thing we do not have to worry about is the future of AWCI and its leadership.
 
In addition to being 2017–2018 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Sellers is president of OCP Contractors, which has offices in Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo, Ohio.