Convention a Big Hit

Shawn Burnum / May 2021

What an incredible week in Grapevine, Texas! We had so much fun connecting with old friends and making new ones during AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo. The positive energy abounded as people were excited to meet again in person. To be honest, we expected our attendance to be down this year because of the lingering effects of COVID-19 on the enthusiasm of our members. We were wrong. Our INTEX floor was over-sold, and our attendance hit pre-pandemic levels.
    
At our President’s Reception, people flowed inside and out of the bar area, near the water’s edge at the Glass Cactus. The education sessions were full, and people came to hear new ideas and be personally challenged.
    
National Football League running back great Emmitt Smith was just as powerful on stage as he was on the field. His life story was inspirational, and his perseverance shined through. The dedication he showed to being the best resonated with me. You can have all the talent in the world, but it is the time, effort and all the scrutiny of others that sets one apart. While playing football, he listened to others, showed appreciation to his teammates, and never stopped developing his skills. We can all take something away from those experiences.
    
Congratulations to Mike Weber for winning our highest honor, AWCI’s Pinnacle Award, and to George Kutcher for the winning AWCI’s Distinguished Service Award. Both men gave of themselves to improve our industry—thank you. Also, congratulations to our industry award winners, recognized for outstanding projects, safety and innovation.
    
AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo is our hallmark event, and I am so pleased that it was such a success. AWCI CEO Mike Stark was able to finally put a stamp on his first convention. The emerging leaders dug into their educational track and really worked as a team. Pete Chaney, our new director of safety, health and risk management, introduced himself to our membership. Finally, we ended the legacy of the INTEX Expo in positive fashion.
    
So many positive things come to mind, which are centered on our strong AWCI staff and our devoted, engaged members. I am truly humbled to be a small part of the positive momentum we appear to enjoy. Let’s keep focused and working hard on behalf of the industry that does so much for us.

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.