MCA – Akron & Mahoning Valley
- Written by: Molly Shaw
- Produced by: Dave Gushee
- Estimated reading time: 4 mins
In the Akron and Mahoning Valley region of northeast Ohio, the local chapters of the Mechanical Contractors Association (MCA) bring a whole new meaning to the word service. These local chapters arm members with pertinent regulatory information essential to conducting business, the latest industry-leading technology and trends, and serve as a networking platform for companies to learn from one another. MCA Akron and Mahoning offer all of this, while developing the skilled workforce of tomorrow by shaping apprenticeship and journeymen training programs in Local Union #219 and #396.
MCA Akron has been uplifting members and elevating their business since 1979, covering the jurisdiction of the United Association (UA) Local #219, including Summit, Portage and Medina counties. MCA Mahoning is more recently formed, established in 2010. This chapter serves contractors signatory to the UA Local #396 in Mahoning, Columbiana and Trumbull counties in Ohio and the Grant District in Hancock County, West Virginia.
Representing all facets of the mechanical market
The membership covers all corners of the mechanical industry, including area union contractors installing heating, ventilation, air conditioning, process piping and refrigeration units. Members range from small, regional companies to large contractors working from coast to coast.
“We believe our association’s strength rests in the diversity of our membership base,” says Aaron Hall, executive director of MCA Akron and Mahoning. “The main distinction between MCA Akron and Mahoning is the counties the local union covers. Our contractors who are signatory to the union in that area pull their labor from that particular union hall. Both MCA Akron and Mahoning are chartered through the Mechanical Contractors Association of America.”
Spotlight members in this segment include: The Geopfert Company, a fourth-generation family-owned commercial HVAC provider serving Akron and Canton, Ohio; Cahill Corporation, an Akron-based mechanical contractor, specializing in process piping service and design-build delivery with roots dating back to 1895; Alcon Mechanical, serving commercial and industrial customers with wide ranging in-house fabrication capabilities and Prout Boiler, Heating & Welding Inc., based in Youngstown, Ohio, offering boiler installation and replacement as well as commercial and industrial plumbing, HVAC and process piping.
After 13 years with the association, Hall has seen the MCA’s varied membership come together under common goals. “I have a background in construction, growing up in my family’s company, so I really enjoy talking about the industry, listening and telling stories about things that happen with jobs over the years,” he says. “At MCA Akron and Mahoning, we host a lot of social events for both groups. It gives us a chance to get to know each other better, as well as spouses and family members.”
Even with increased technology that can sometimes take the place of manpower, Hall says the mechanical industry is still very much a people-oriented business. “Our industry is still very much a people industry,” he says. “I think it’s imperative that we still make face-to-face appointments with our members and call them, not just when an issue comes up, but just to check in and see what they’re doing and how everything is going.”
Taking it to the next level with technology
Although business begins and stands on close, interpersonal relationships, Hall says MCA Akron and Mahoning have been leading the pack when it comes to the latest and greatest technology solutions and education for members. Hall himself has been a big proponent of new field technologies. “I was asked back in 2012 to start training MCA chapters across the country and their members on how to use iPads and iPhones for basic work and field use,” he recounts.
Since launching the program, Hall has trained 1,000 people, including many MCA Akron and Mahoning members. “We were also one of the first chapters in the country to go paperless, all of our meetings are done via iPad and utilize no paper,” he adds. “Our office does as much as we can paperless and I help train other association offices how to do paperless meetings and operate their chapters with less and less paper.”
At the annual MCAA national convention in March 2015, Hall led a technology course with more than 110 people in attendance. “I taught at the national MCAA convention in 2013 and this past year,” he says. “This year’s topic was ‘Discover Mobile Apps to Simplify Your Life.'”
“At home though, we’re working on getting more iPads in the hands of members,” adds Hall. “Currently, MCA Akron and Mahoning have distributed, helped fund or offered a discount for 60 member iPads.”
While this technology makes everything from the desk to the field more efficient, Hall says the main benefit of MCA is furthering industry relationships. “All of our contractors have great working relationships,” he says. “They might be competitors, but they share common interests. Some even share work, recommending one another on jobs.”
Uniting a diverse membership and working toward common goals such as fostering quality, competitive labor makes MCA Akron and Mahoning Valley an association that works for its contractors day-in and day-out.
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