More than 2,300 members and guests gathered in Walt Disney World, FL from February 30 to March 4, for the Mechanical Contractor Association of America’s 115th convention. The conference featured an exceptional line-up of distinguished and accomplished speakers, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani who spoke at the opening session. In addition to the large variety of educational sessions and social events, attendees had the opportunity to watch the third annual student chapter competition where four chapter teams put together proposals for the construction of a 14,000-sq.ft. educational facility located on a hypothetical college campus in Miami, FL. The project was presented to MCAA by the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE), which used the project for its 2003 student competition. MCAA added mechanical elements and made other changes to enhance the project's interest and challenge to the students. The winning teams were announced at the conference’s annual awards breakfast. The winning team from Georgia Tech-received a cash prize of $5,000. The runner-up-from Purdue University received a prize of $2,500. Other important awards presented during the breakfast include: • The Distinguished Service Award — Robert A. Rimel, All State Mechanical, Inc. in Grandview, MO. The award, MCAA's highest form of recognition, is given as a permanent testimonial to those who have displayed extraordinary dedication and service to the progress, development, and expansion of MCAA and the mechanical construction industry. • Educator of the Year — Daryl Orth, Purdue University. Orth was selected for the award by the Career Development Committee based on a combination of his mentoring capabilities, industry knowledge and involvement, and active participation in the student chapter program activities. • Student Chapter of the Year Award — The MCA of Indiana Student Chapter at Purdue University was selected by MCAA's Career Development Committee on the basis of several criteria, including how well the chapter promotes student interest in our industry and the career opportunities the HVAC industry offers. • Foster McCarl, Jr., Philanthropy Award — The MCA of New Jersey was honored for increasing its existing generous funding to the Mechanical Contracting Education & Research Foundation (MCERF) by an additional $50,000, for a total pledge of $200,000, to show their appreciation for MCERF's new Educational Excellence Initiative to nurture and strengthen MCAA's student chapter activities. The Foster McCarl, Jr., Philanthropy Award is given to an individual, company, or local association whose fundraising activities, on behalf of the MCERF, best reflect the true spirit of philanthropic effort as lived and demonstrated by Foster McCarl, Jr. Finally, at the convention's closing session, Michael W. Gossman assumed the office of president of MCAA during the association's when the presidential gavel was passed from 2003 President Thomas L. Williams to Gossman. Gossman is chairman and CEO of Midwest Mechanical Group, Inc., located in Overland Park, KS. Midwest Mechanical Group, Inc. is the parent company of four mechanical contracting companies, all of which are MCAA members. Gossman has been in the construction industry since 1973 and holds a B.A. in Accounting from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He joined Midwest Mechanical Contractors, Inc., as president in 1990, and in January 2002, he assumed the position of chairman and CEO of Midwest Mechanical Group, Inc. Also elected during the closing session: • Stanley H. Berger, president-elect. Berger is president of Arista Air Conditioning Corp., in New York, NY. • Michael Cullinane, senior vice president and treasurer. Cullinane is president/comptroller of Bert C. Young & Sons Corp., Bellwood, IL • David J. Kruse, vice president and assistant treasurer. Kruse is president of L.J. Kruse Co., Berkeley, CA. MCAA 2005 will be held in Scottsdale, AZ. For more information, call 301/869-5800 or visit www.mcaa.org.