The Attributes of Leadership
A one-on-one with MCAA’s incoming President Tom Fuller gives us insight on what to expect from the association in this new year.
It’s time again to pass on the reins of leadership, and the Mechanical Contractors Association of America (MCAA) will do just that at its annual convention in San Diego, California on March 5-9 as it bids farewell to Tom Stone, and welcomes Greg Fuller.
President and owner of Indianapolis-based North Mechanical Contracting and Services Co., Greg Fuller began his journey into the industry at the young age of five. Learning his craft from his father, Fuller continued through the years working at his father’s small plumbing service company and shaping his mind around business.
Fuller joined North Mechanical in 1991 as a project manager, then transitioned to vice president, and eventually purchased the company in 1997, becoming president and owner. Under his leadership, the company has grown by 800 percent in the last 17 years.
He received his journeyman plumber status in 1985. Fuller serves on the Board of Directors for MCA of Indiana and the group’s Indianapolis Chapter, and also served on the Labor Management and Finance committees. He also served on the MCA of Indiana's Membership & By-Laws and Legislative committees. He is chairman of the UA Local 440 Health and Welfare Trust.
He began his journey with MCAA by attending the association’s educational programs, and serves on the Project Managers Education Committee, including as the group’s chairman and an instructor. Fuller joined MCAA’s Board of Directors in 2010, and is currently the senior vice president and assistant treasurer.
PHC News had the opportunity to talk to Greg Fuller and ask him thoughts on the future.
Sharon J. Rehana (SJR): As you prepare to move into the role of president, what are some of your goals?
Greg Fuller (GF): The relationship between the MCAA and the United Association is at an all-time high. We developed a great partnership during General President Hite's tenure and I plan to build on that in an exponential way with General President McManus’ terrific leadership team. We all understand that a big challenge for us as union contractors is to at least maintain, and hopefully regain, market share. The best way to accomplish that is to work with our labor partners at the UA to do our best to exceed the expectations of our clients, owners of the projects we build.
SJR: What are some of the biggest challenges MCAA faces, and how do you plan to address them? What about challenges in the industry in general, and how do you plan to address those within your role as president of MCAA?
GF: Attracting talented, young people into our industry, gaining market share, ensuring the safest jobsites possible, enhancing competitiveness, increasing efficiency and productivity, staying ahead of the technology change curve, enhancing the leadership potential of senior management … there is certainly no shortage of opportunities for mechanical and service contractors today. MCAA’s "challenge" is to do all that it can to assist our members so they successfully take advantage of those opportunities.
SJR: As technologies and other innovations advance in the industry, how do you see mechanical contractors adapting to the new trends?
GF: Keeping our contractors ahead of the change curve in this era of rapidly evolving technology is one of the most important things I think we can take on as an association. Technology is, therefore, something MCAA is now working into all of our educational programs, from our annual Student Summit to our Advanced Leadership Institute. In fact, MCAA now has an ongoing Technology Initiative.
We have recently released research reports on 3D Scanning Technology, BIM Modeling Software, BIM to Field Technology, Field Service Software and Safety Apps. We also have a very popular annual Technology Conference.
SJR: What advice would you give the new generation of mechanical contractors as they start their careers?
GF: The return I and my company have realized on our MCAA dues investment is better than pretty much any other investment I’ve made. My primary advice to the new generation of mechanical contractors is that they get involved in their national association, and take advantage of its offerings and resources.
SJR: In your own words, what does it mean to be a great president? And what are you looking forward to the most as an incoming president for MCAA?
GF: In my opinion, the key attribute of a great president is to listen more than you talk! Only then can you learn what your fellow contractors concerns and needs are. What I’m looking forward to the most as MCAA’s president is "getting out of the office" and visiting as many MCAA chapters as possible. Then we can fine tune our resources and help our members understand fully the benefits to them of participating in their national association.
SJR: What do you hope will be the main takeaways from MCAA 2017 in San Diego?
GF: Gained knowledge, a reinforced sense of community and greater perspective. They’re all critically important, and I appreciate the fact that I’m a member of an association with offerings that provide those takeaways.
SJR: What are you most excited about for this year’s convention?
GF: MCAA’s annual convention is a great educational offering. Our San Diego convention will be just as special as the MCAA conventions that preceded it. We have great speakers, like former Speaker of the House John Boehner, football great Emmitt Smith, astronauts Mark and Scott Kelly, Academy Award winner Goldie Hawn and futurist Peter Diamandis, along with a slew of terrific educational workshops.
SJR: Do you want to share any thoughts with readers about something I have not asked you about?
GF: In terms of educational resources, I'd like to mention MCAA’s new and completely reinvented MCAA website, where, as a benefit of membership in MCAA, our members can download for free every one of MCAA’s business resources.
Another thing I'd like to mention: MCAA’s Career Development Initiative, which is a full-blown and multi-pronged effort to bring the brightest college students into our industry. As of our annual convention we will have 53 student chapters at colleges and universities across the country!