The Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) held its annual labor management conference this week in Las Vegas, where it concludes today. The conference has featured a number of sessions focusing on everything from the future of pension plans to the demand for skilled labor in Canada to safety.

Yesterday, Mark Eaton of 7foot4, led a keynote session called “Safety from the Top,” which focused on building effective teams. On Monday, Jason Jennings provided a seminar called “Think BIG, Act Small,” during which he discussed the importance of such industry meetings.

“It’s about growth for our [companies] and jobs for our members,” he said.

Other sessions included “The Future of Our Pension Plans” by Randy DeFrehn, executive director of the National Coordinating Committee for Multi-Employer Plans and “Success Today!” by John Bielak, general organizer/director of the shop department for Iron Workers International.

Darrell LaBoucan, president of the Iron Workers District Council of Western Canada, Shawn Campbell, president/general manager for BFI Constructors Ltd. and Ron Gladney, general counsel for Iron Workers International, participated in a panel called “Demand for Skilled Labor in Canada.

During the conference, IMPACT announced an alliance with the Surety & Fidelity Association of America (SFAA) “designed to increase diversity in the ironworking sector of the construction industry by facilitating access to bonding opportunities and technical assistance for small and emerging contractors.”

“SFAA is dedicated to increasing diversity and supporting the growth and sustainability of small and emerging contractors through greater access to bonding and credit,” says SFAA president Lynn M. Schubert. “Since small businesses are the engines of job generation, the ironworking industry will benefit from the cutting-edge programs and opportunities created through SFAA’s partnership with IMPACT.”

In addition to bonding opportunities and technical assistance, the partnership between IMPACT and SFAA seeks to provide informational and educational support to emerging contractors, according to the groups. “As a 47-year veteran of the ironworking and contracting industries, I know how important educational tools are to survive and thrive,” says Bill Brown, IMPACT Management co-chairman and president of Ben Hur Construction Co. in St. Louis. “This partnering agreement marks an important step in expanding services to this group.”

As part of the partnering agreement, IMPACT and the SFAA plan to:

  • Jointly develop and support programs to provide ironworking contractors with the skills and access to bonding and finance;
  • Facilitate access to bonding opportunities and technical assistance for ironworking contractors through informational and educational activities; and
  • Increase access to surety bonding by small and emerging companies involved in the ironworking sector of the construction industry.

“One of our goals as a joint labor-management partnership is to serve as a catalyst for entrepreneurial activity,” says Walter Wise, IMPACT Labor co-chairman and general president of the Iron Workers.