ICYMI: Highlights From ABC Convention 2024

‘Satisfaction is code for ordinary’—and other takeaways from ABC Convention 2024 in sunny Kissimmee, Florida.
By Grace Calengor
March 28, 2024

In case you missed ABC Convention 2024 in Kissimmee, Florida, last month, here are key highlights from the week of competitions, exhibitions, speakers, performances and more.

ABC 2024 National Chair Buddy Henley cuts the ribbon to the exhibit hall and competition floor.


Contractor of the Year

Kwest Group was announced as ABC’s 2024 Contractor of the Year. Read CE's full story here.

Careers in Construction Awards

A total of 25 teams comprising undergraduate students from colleges across the country competed in ABC's 2024 Construction Management Competition, developing proposals for a project that included renovation and new construction at the Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center. The overall winner was the team from Clemson University, a member of ABC of the Carolinas. For a full list of winners in all categories, visit here.

In the 35th year of ABC's National Craft Championships, nearly 200 skilled trades workers displayed their craft in the exhibit hall—taking home bronze, silver and gold as well as recognition for safety in 16 categories. For a full list of winners, visit here.

Construction Workforce Awards

ABC’s 2024 Craft Instructor of the Year is Paul Asselin, instructor, Gould Construction Institute, ABC Massachusetts, Woburn, Massachusetts. For more information, visit here.

ABC’s 2024 Craft Professional of the Year is Joseph Ahrens, general superintendent, HPS Plumbing Services, San Diego. For more information, visit here.

ABC’s 2024 Young Professional of the Year is Mike Menke, project manager, FCI Constructors Inc., Grand Junction, Colorado. For more information, visit here.


a crowd at ABC convention cheers for the careers in construction awards

Opening General Session—Ryan Leak, Executive Coach and Transformational Speaker

“Do not get so consumed with your own career path you forget somebody is else a part of it.”

“Who’s going to be in the room five years from now because you decided to invest in somebody else?”

“There is more than one way to be in the NBA.”

Breakout Session—Crisis Management: Jennifer Miller, Managing Partner, Rockford Gray

“Your words matter when talking to your crew.”

“The conflict is what drives the story. Talking about traditional media, they don’t make up facts, but the story is based on the facts they have, so have a plan to control what you can.”

Breakout Session—Contech and AI: ABC’s Matt Abeles, Microsoft’s Ajoy Bhattacharya and Haskell’s Hamzah Shanbari, moderated by CE’s Chris Durso

“AI and ROI, these are some of the benefits we are already starting to see.”

“How is this going to change how we design? Not just in terms of getting there faster…. There are a lot of things that are changing and disrupting the essence of how we design, how we quality check and also the design itself and how to present it to the end [client].”

“There’s so much work to be done…. It’s all about building up the industry all together.”

Breakout Session—Empowered Teams/Culture: Yasmeen Tonnos, Industry Culture Strategist, Procore

“Culture is now a part of our strategy to address key challenges.”

Closing Industry Insight Session—The State of the 2024 Construction Economy: Anirban Basu, ABC Chief Economist and Sage Policy Group Founder

“Consumers are spending, employers are hiring, which fuels future spending power.”

“You cannot have a recession unless the consumer participates, and right now the consumer is spending, but can that spending continue?”

Closing Keynote—Kevin Brown, Author, “The Hero Effect”

“What does it really mean to be heroic to the people we work with and the people at home?”

“You can never go wrong doing the right thing.”

“Satisfaction is code for ordinary, and yet every organization chases it like it’s gold.”

“At work and at home, people will live up to or down to the vision that you cast on them.”

“Leadership is not about popularity, it is about potential, and when you help someone find their potential, you’ll be the most popular leader.”


a man on stage playing an electric violin

The acapella group Vocal Flash kicked off the opening general session.

ABC chapters and member companies were honored at the Association Excellence Awards.

The 34th annual ABC National Excellence in Construction® Awards celebrated construction projects and contractors for achievements in leadership, safety, innovation, inclusion, diversity and merit.

The Milwaukee Tool Shed Band brought everything home Friday night at the rockin’ closing reception.

Don’t miss ABC Convention 2025 in Las Vegas!

by Grace Calengor
Grace Calengor is associate editor of Construction Executive.

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