Delayed six months, the SC&RA Annual Conference in October in San Antonio was the perfect industry reunion.

The LaCantera Resort in San Antonio was the perfect backdrop for the SC&RA Annual Conference in October. The weather was ideal, the venue was lovely, and the vibe was laid back and easy. There was also a distinct energy of getting back to business.

“It was a strong conference, and it was just great getting back together with everyone,” said Kevin Johnston, president of J&R Engineering and president of SC&RA. “That was probably everyone’s take-away, that it was just good to see each other again. And the venue was awesome as usual.”

The vibe was also positive and optimistic, Johnston said. Committee meetings were full and bustling with energy.

“We see a lot of younger participants coming up through the ranks, and that’s great,” said Johnston.

“It seems like business is picking up and people are interested in investing in new equipment. The Products Fair was as well attended as any Products Fair has been. The morning time slot was a great schedule change.”

The Friday morning Products Fair was bustling with activity.

Relieved and happy

Johnston praised the SC&RA staff for pulling off the event that was cancelled in 2019 and was delayed for six months this year.

“The entire staff was very relieved and happy for us all to be back together at the Annual Conference,” he said. “Going so long without these shows and events is a real strain. They weathered it well and did a great job producing a successful conference.”

The SC&R Foundation Gala, staged as a Texas Backyard Barbecue, was well attended, fun and supported a myriad of industry causes.

“I liked the way they made it site specific,” Johnston said.

“For me, the President’s Reception is always a highlight,” said Ingo Schiller, president and CEO, Tadano America. “That’s where you really get context from the other attendees. You can get facts and figures from a lot of different places, but that’s where you can really see the optimism and anticipation.”

“The event was done very well, correctly and respectfully of everyone’s different comfort level, as the world recovers from Covid-19,” Schiller said. He attributed the face-to-face meeting with a better understanding of just how busy the industry has remained, and how companies are preparing for more business as they enter 2022.

“Considering it’s been 30 months (since the last Annual Conference) since we last had the opportunity to interact in person with our SC&RA family, it’s amazing how quickly we got right back to work pursuing a more safe and effective lifting and heavy transportation industry,” said Link-Belt Vice President Bill Stramer. “Without a doubt, it was great to see everyone.”

Bill Carbeau, vice president of business development for Comansa, echoed the sentiment that it was fantastic to finally get back together.

“It was easy to see the energy and excitement everyone had there,” said Carbeau. “It seemed like we never missed a beat.”

Back to business

Committee meetings were fast paced and enlightening. Committee members and attendees discussed the challenges they face and how they are solving them. Covid vaccine mandates were a continual topic of discussion.

Attendees were also treated to interesting speakers and unforgettable presentations. Speakers Dan Keenan and Shawn Los of National Interstate Insurance Company, presented The Pros & Cons of Risk Financing Techniques. The pair described how many organizations simply think of buying first dollar, guaranteed cost insurance year after year. But, there are several, more beneficial options available.

In Under Pressure? How to Transfer Risk with Ground Bearing Pressure, Bill Smith of NBIS engaged with the audience through discussion, real-world claims outcomes and provided attendees another risk transfer opportunity to protect their operation(s) should an accident occur.

Besides hearing from industry experts, attendees also tuned in to presentations given by shark attack survivor and former Navy bomb disposal diver Paul de Gelder, motivational speaker Scott Burrows and award-winning six-string electric violinist and singer/songwriter Valerie Vigoda.

In a hands-on team building session titled Social Responsibility & Community Goodwill Through Bikes, Duane Grischow spotlighted the U-Build-it-Bikes-for-Kids program. Participants built bikes and presented them to Blue Star Family children.

Master Sommelier Eddie Osterland, showed participants how to entertain business clients and associates with wine and food to build business relationships.

Industry family

“It had been almost two years since an in-person gathering, for me at least, and I think for a lot of other people,” said Jennifer Gabel of Construct Your Health. “The overwhelming response from people and the consensus was such a reminder of what a family this Association is. Everybody missed each other so much. There’s just no replacement for in-person connection. It felt amazing. The Association also did a phenomenal job keeping committee meetings going and making sure we still made progress.”

Gabel said she genuinely felt like everyone just wanted to be together and hang out. As a member of the SC&R Foundation Executive Committee, she worked on the Foundation Gala, a backyard barbecue that included traditional Texas fare, armadillo racing and a great country band.

“We exceeded our gala expectations in terms of attendance on the Foundation side and I think it’s because everybody just wanted to do the most together,” she said.

At the SC&RA Closing Night Awards and Recognition Dinner, Gabel also presented Bonnie Forster with the newly established Officer’s Award. Forster was honored for her status as a longtime volunteer and other notable leadership roles.

It’s safe to say the SC&RA Annual Conference served as the perfect location to reconnect, network and forge new relationships.

Best summarized by Fleet Cost & Care’s Candice Thomson, “The week was full of energy, positive vibes and a good time had by all.”


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