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ABC Convention, headquartered in Grapevine, Texas, this week, celebrated careers in construction and the merit shop construction industry's motivation to build with excellence.

Beginning March 9 and wrapping up on March 10, the conference announced the Construction Workforce Award winners, offered four powerful keynotes (streamed for remote attendees) and hosted the annual Excellence in Construction® Awards celebration (modified for social distancing), providing a valuable opportunity to honor those most-dedicated to merit shop construction and appreciate business leaders that are demonstrating resiliency and a strong sense of purpose throughout the coronavirus pandemic. 

Construction Executive acted as the official media partner for the event.

The Construction Workforce Awards include the Craft Professional of the Year, Craft Instructor of the Year and Young Professional of the Year, all of whom will be featured in the magazine's June 2021 issue. Sponsors of the award are NCCER, Tradesmen and Autodesk. 

The Excellence in Construction Award winners and National Safety Excellence Award winners, as well as the Contractor of the Year, will be featured in the April 2021 issue. 

The keynotes were as follows:

  • ABC Convention 2021 Opening General Session
    Sarah Thomas, the first female NFL official and first woman to officiate a Super Bowl (just this year) discussed career breakthroughs, staying focused and creating change. Thomas’ inspired contractors via advice to dream big and be the best you can be. She was also the first female official to work a major college football game and to officiate in a Big 10 stadium. In these new, particularly trying times, her message of perseverance is not only rare, it is critical. 
  • The Hero Effect®: Being Your Best When It Matters the Most!
    Kevin Brown, motivational speaker and author of The HERO Effect: Being Your Best When It Matters the Most, has a simple philosophy that separates world-class organizations and high-performance people from everyone else: the HERO Effect®. By eliminating “ordinary” thinking, Brown pushed contractors to reach for the extraordinary and make a positive difference in the lives of workers, owners and for themselves. 
  • Cyber Threat Evolution: Hacking the Hacker’s Mindset
    John Sileo, CEO of The Sileo Group, experienced his own heartache with cybercrime—and is using his lessons learned to keep other companies from the brink of disaster. According to Sileo, 75% of companies surveyed have had a cybercrime event in the last year. With this in mind, he walked conference attendees through solutions for both small and large companies that will combat ransomware attacks, outdated systems and other concerns. Security is a cost that pays dividends. 
  • Sweat the Small Stuff: Why Attention to Detail Helps You Create a Corporate Culture That Rocks
    The final speaker, Lisa Ryan, chief appreciation strategist at Grategy®, focused on discussing workplace culture and employee engagement. Ryan started her career in the trades as a welder and has an understanding for what it means to have a passion for a physical, demanding career, as well as a need to pair that with a rewarding work environment—an integral part of the merit shop. “Culture, leadership and mission are alloys that bond,” Ryan says. “When fusion happens, you have a solid employee.”

These speakers were all curated in order to leave attendees feeling energized and powerful heading into 2021. Each contributed concrete solutions for real, working contractors that will enable them to move forward in the “new normal.”

Considering COVID-19 protocols, ABC ensured at atmosphere of health, safety and personal accountability onsite, requiring masks, daily temperature checks, separating the registration desk from the health desk and adding nuanced protocols, such as a dedicated wellness button on the ABC Events app. Gaylord Texan followed COVID-19 protection protocols for guests and staff according to CDC recommendations.


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