New Orleans, Business and a Tribute

Shawn Burnum / October 2021

I am sure many of you, like me, are disappointed that we could not meet in New Orleans as planned. Our staff worked hard to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 in order to have a terrific convention that was worthy of your time and expense. Hurricane Ida, however, had different plans. We certainly do not want to risk the health and safety of our AWCI family. Nor do we want to put on a program that is lackluster and not up to our standards. With that, we made the hard decision to cancel the event and focus on Dallas in the spring of 2022.
    
Even without a fall conference or a 2021 convention, AWCI has been busy working on key, strategic initiatives. This month we advertised for a new staff position in safety. We are optimistic that AWCI can do more in this post and provide value to our members in terms of safety education, forums and best practices. We believe that the association can be a gathering place for safety professionals to invest in themselves, their company and the industry. The proverb “Iron sharpens iron” comes to mind. Begin to think about whom you would have join and participate in this growing AWCI sector as we move forward in the spring.
    
Meanwhile, the AWCI Emerging Leaders Program launches this fall. Despite the cancellation in New Orleans, we did not want to wait until the Dallas convention next year to begin the exciting work of engaging and beginning this program. We are ready to start, and it seemed foolish to wait. I am excited to see this group work together in the months to come. This is a great group of talented folks, and I appreciate their investment of time and energy in what I believe will be a marker in their careers.
    
Finally, I want to pay tribute to long-time AWCI member Ron Brady. Many of you know we lost Ron in August. It is an honor to write about him, and our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. I didn’t know Ron as well as many of you “legacy members,” but I enjoyed seeing him at our conferences. He was always smiling and truly enjoyed our people. He will be remembered for not only building an incredible business but doing it the right way. Ron always had energy to give to others and leaves his mark on our organization, the industry, his charities and on his family. AWCI is better today because of people like Ron Brady. Thank you to Ron and for all those who have given so much to better the lives of our members today. We are grateful.

Shawn Burnum is the 2021–2022 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry and vice president of operations at Performance Contracting, Inc. in Lenexa, Kan.