Event Program

The general session will start 10:00 am on Wednesday, September 11. The program will conclude at 12:00 pm on Friday, September 13.

Wednesday
2024-09-11
Thursday
2024-09-12
Friday
2024-09-13
07:00 - 17:00 (CST)
Registration
10:00 - 11:30 (CST)
Opening General Session: The Pulse of Fabrication

Join industry experts Jonathan Marsh and Amanda Comunale for “The Pulse of Fabrication,” a practical session designed to directly involve you in program. Through live polling and roundtable discussions, you’ll have the opportunity to share your insights on key topics in fabrication technology and processes.

  • Live Polling: Participate in real-time polls to voice your views on important fabrication issues. Your input will drive the session’s discussions.
  • Roundtable Discussions: Engage in focused discussions led by Jonathan and Amanda, exploring solutions and strategies based on your feedback.
  • Published Report – Following the conference, you will receive a copy of the report’s findings based on both the survey and the roundtable discussion.
Speakers
Opening General Session: The Pulse of Fabrication image
Jonathan Marsh
Steel Toe Consulting
Opening General Session: The Pulse of Fabrication image
Amanda Comunale
ASC Engineered Solutions
11:30 - 12:00 (CST)
Tour Hosts Welcome

Join main facility tour hosts, JM Brennan, as they discuss their operations, markets and fabrication mentality.  The tours this year are split into two different areas of operations – Plumbing/Fitting and Sheet Metal.  In this session, leadership from JM Brennan will talk about what drives the work they are fabricating and provide an overview of their fabrication mindset.

A secondary tour offering will be to the Milwaukee Tool Redline facility.  This tour, only available to contractor registrants, will showcase some of their manufacturing, research and development.  In this session, leaders from Milwaukee Tool will discuss their manufacturing strategy as well as their goal of increasing their domestic production of more tools.

12:00 - 13:00 (CST)
Exhibit & Lunch
12:15 - 14:15 (CST)
Tour: JMB Mechanical Plumbing (Tour #1)
12:45 - 14:45 (CST)
Tour: MILWAUKEE TOOL Factory (Tour #4)
13:00 - 14:00 (CST)
Breakout Session: Modular Construction and Fabrication

Presented by Don Flight and Kari Holtz from the Hill Group, this session explores the benefits and challenges of Modular Construction and Prefabrication. Modular Construction and Prefabrication requires coordinated planning from start to finish, leveraging Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) technology, running multiple trades, managing logistics, and communicating with the on-site team effectively. This session will share project examples and lessons that the Hill Group has learned from years of advanced fabrication. It will also explore the unique challenges that contractors face when approaching modular projects.

Speakers
Kari Holtz
The Hill Group
Don Flight
The Hill Group
13:00 - 14:00 (CST)
Breakout Session: Fabrication First Steps

Join Andrew Lutton of SJS Mechanical, based in Seattle, Washington, as he shares with you the progress of his company’s recent build out of fabrication services. This session provides a detailed case study on navigating the transition from traditional plumbing services to incorporating fabrication practices, offering valuable insights for businesses ready to make a similar shift. This presentation covers the essentials of setting up a fabrication operation, including the space requirements for efficient workflow, the selection and acquisition of key equipment, and the mapping of processes to ensure smooth operations. It will also cover the initial steps needed, the investment involved, and the transformative impact fabrication can have on their business efficiency and service quality.

Speakers
Andrew Lutton
SJS Mechanical
13:00 - 15:00 (CST)
Tour: JMB Sheet Metal (Tour #3)
13:00 - 16:00 (CST)
Exhibit Hall Open
14:30 - 16:30 (CST)
Tour: JMB Mechanical Plumbing (Tour #2)
14:30 - 15:30 (CST)
Breakout Session: Electrical Fabrication

Mechanical contractors have a unique opportunity to expand their services by incorporating electrical fabrication into their operations. This session will highlight the benefits of electrical prefabrication and showcase various types of prefabricated electrical systems. The session will provide practical examples and insights into how electrical prefabrication can streamline project timelines, reduce labor costs, and improve quality control.

Speakers
Adam Rude
Ermco
Breakout Session: Electrical Fabrication image
Adam Davis
Miller Electric
14:30 - 15:30 (CST)
Breakout Session: Model Based Fabrication (MBF)

In this breakout session at the MCAA Fabrication Conference, Jeff Elwell, Chief Technology Officer at EM Duggan, will delve into the transformative impact of model-based fabrication in plumbing and mechanical construction. Model-Based Fabrication (MBF) leverages 3D models to streamline and enhance the fabrication process by integrating design, manufacturing, and quality control into a unified digital workflow. This method includes embedding all necessary manufacturing information directly into 3D CAD models, such as geometric dimensions, tolerances, material specifications, and surface finishes. By doing so, MBF eliminates the need for traditional 2D engineering drawings, creating a single source of truth that guides the entire fabrication process. Attendees will gain insights into how MBF enhances efficiency and accuracy by automating various functions and integrating seamlessly with integrated tools.. Jeff will highlight the capabilities of MBF, such as cloud-based model access, real-time collaboration, and precise cutlist creation, which collectively streamline workflows and reduce material waste.

Speakers
Breakout Session: Model Based Fabrication (MBF) image
Jeff Elwell
E.M. Duggan, Inc.
16:00 - 17:00 (CST)
General Session: The Total Cost of Fabrication

This session explores all the costs related to fabrication, beginning with well-known expenses like equipment purchases and productivity benefits. It will also cover often overlooked factors such as building depreciation, software, and overhead costs, which significantly impact the total cost of operations.

Session Highlights:

  • Initial Costs: Review the upfront costs most contractors are familiar with, including equipment purchases and productivity-related savings.
  • Additional Costs: Discuss lesser-known expenses like depreciated building costs, software investments, and overhead, and understand how these affect your profitability.
  • Finding Your Target: Determine the target amount of work your fabrication shop needs to handle to justify its operations, helping to set realistic production goals.
  • Baseline Stats for Investment: Learn how to calculate essential statistics to assess the worth of investments in your fabrication operations.
  • Adjusting Costs with New Purchases: Explore how buying or selling equipment impacts your total costs and how this should influence your business goals and performance metrics.
17:00 - 18:30 (CST)
Opening Reception & Exhibit

After the general session program concludes and the tours end for the day, join us for a reception in the Imperial Ballroom that includes a taste of Milwaukee and demonstrations of the latest fabrication technology.

18:30 - 22:00 (CST)
Stratus & MILWAUKEE TOOL After Party

While the program might be concluded at 6:30 PM, the night is still young.  Join Stratus and Milwaukee Tool for an after party in The Rouge room.  Located in the lobby right near the registration, The Rouge is the historic drawing room for the 130-year-old hotel that has taken on many roles throughout the hotel’s history, hosting celebrities and royalty.  On Wednesday night, Stratus and Milwaukee Tool invite all guests to join them to meet and rub elbows with the celebrities and royalty of fabrication.

07:00 - 08:00 (CST)
Breakfast
07:00 - 17:00 (CST)
Registration
07:45 - 09:45 (CST)
Tour: MILWAUKEE TOOL Factory (Tour #7)
08:00 - 10:00 (CST)
Tour: JMB Mechanical Plumbing (Tour #5)
08:00 - 09:00 (CST)
General Session: Manufacturing Mentality

This session will delve into the evolving landscape of Operational Planning at Milwaukee Tool, emphasizing the strategic utilization of data to and enhance decision-making. Attendees will hear examples of a proactive planning environment for long-term scenario analysis and efficient space management. Real-world examples of 3P (Process, Preparation & Production) implementation and the “7 Ways” approach will be discussed.

Key Takeaways:

  • Gain insights into the data-driven transformation of operational planning – Scenario analysis, capacity planning, & space requirements
  • Understand Milwaukee Tool’s evolution from manual to automated data processes for Operational Planning
  • Learn how to implement and benefit from proactive planning and long-term scenario analysis.
  • Discover practical examples and strategies for applying 3P and the “7 Ways” to enhance material flow and drive efficiencies
Speakers
General Session: Manufacturing Mentality image
Carrie Struss
MILWAUKEE TOOL
General Session: Manufacturing Mentality image
Christian Abbey
MILWAUKEE TOOL
General Session: Manufacturing Mentality image
Tonia Dobbe
MILWAUKEE TOOL
08:30 - 10:30 (CST)
Tour: JMB Sheet Metal (Tour #6)
09:15 - 10:15 (CST)
Breakout Session: Scheduling Your Work Through Your Shop

When receiving a drawing, how do you determine its priority for the field or whether the necessary materials have been ordered? Discover effective techniques for scheduling your fabrication shop, ensuring you are facing what is needed next.

Speakers
Breakout Session: Scheduling Your Work Through Your Shop image
John Bowers
icon Mechanical
09:15 - 10:15 (CST)
Breakout Session: Sheet Metal Fabrication

Join industry leaders Kevin Gill and Travis Voss for an in-depth session on Sheet Metal Fabrication. This session will provide education through a case study of McCusker-Gill’s sheet metal operations, the focus of the 2024 SMACNA Fab Forum. The session  will showcase the latest equipment, logistics, and best practices in the field of sheet metal fabrication. Attendees will gain insights into essential tools and machinery, equipment, space and investment for sheet metal fabrication. In addition to equipment, the session will delve into best practices for packaging and shipping sheet metal parts, workflow optimization techniques to minimize bottlenecks and maximize productivity will also be discussed.

Speakers
Kevin Gill
McCusker-Gill
Breakout Session: Sheet Metal Fabrication image
Travis Voss
SMACNA
10:30 - 12:30 (CST)
Tour: JMB Mechanical Plumbing (Tour #8)
10:45 - 12:45 (CST)
Tour: MILWAUKEE TOOL Factory (Tour #10)
11:00 - 12:00 (CST)
Breakout Session: Shop Metrics

In this session, we will delve into the critical performance metrics that every mechanical fabrication shop should track to enhance efficiency and productivity. Participants will gain insights into how to effectively gather and input essential data points through Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) processes. Key metrics such as weld inches, pounds of sheet metal, and feet of pipe will be discussed, providing a clear understanding of how these indicators can drive better decision-making and operational improvements. Furthermore, the session will offer guidance on creating impactful dashboards using software to visualize the data. We will explore the criteria for selecting the most relevant metrics to display, ensuring that your dashboards provide actionable insights. By the end of the session, contractors will be equipped with the knowledge to set up and maintain a robust performance tracking system that enhances visibility and accountability within their fabrication shops.

Speakers
Breakout Session: Shop Metrics image
Tole Burnett
North Mechanical Contracting, Inc.
Breakout Session: Shop Metrics image
Trent Leinenbach
Stratus
11:00 - 13:00 (CST)
Tour: JMB Sheet Metal (Tour #9)
12:00 - 13:00 (CST)
Lunch
13:00 - 14:00 (CST)
Breakout Session: BIM Phase II

Many projects stop after BIM Phase 1. At HFI, BIM Phase 2 is a critical component to daily operations. This session highlights the best practices for BIM Phase 2. BIM Phase 2 is the phase of the project where the virtual construction team pulls the data out of the model to support field and fab operations. The following items will be discussed along with sequencing, timing, and the collaboration between the virtual construction team, fab shop, and field teams.

Speakers
Breakout Session: BIM Phase II image
Jeff Miller
Harrell-Fish, Inc.
Nathan Hagerty
Harrell-Fish, Inc.
Kevin Bailey
Harrell-Fish, Inc.
13:00 - 14:00 (CST)
Breakout Session: Assisted Welding

We will explore how contractors are leveraging robotic equipment to assist welders in fabrication shops. Robotic welding systems are gaining traction as they have the ability to produce high quality welds consistently with unrelenting pace. Many members have begun incorporating them for certain processes in order to maximize their efficiency. This session will look at configurations and workflow that maximize the equipment as well as processes and manpower to feed the equipment with as little downtime as possible. With any new technology, change management will play into its effectiveness. Approaches to how to have it accepted by shop workers and the near future iterations that could include artificial intelligence will be discussed.

Speakers
Bob Snyder, Jr.
FPI Mechanical
13:00 - 15:00 (CST)
Tour: JMB Mechanical Plumbing (Tour #11)
13:30 - 15:30 (CST)
Tour: JMB Sheet Metal (Tour #12)
13:45 - 15:45 (CST)
Tour: MILWAUKEE TOOL Factory (Tour #13)
14:30 - 15:30 (CST)
Breakout Session: From Design to Delivery – Maximizing Prefabrication with Analytics

The construction industry is experiencing a transformative shift towards prefabrication, which promises not only enhanced efficiency and cost-effectiveness, but also real-time monitoring, predictive maintenance, and optimization of prefabricated elements throughout their lifecycle. However these advantages, while numerous, are difficult to fully realize if they are not integrated with analytics-driven insights. This presentation will explore the relationship between prefabrication and analytics, highlighting their combined potential to revolutionize construction practices. Through detailed case studies and analysis of industry trends, we will showcase real-world examples where the integration of analytics in prefabrication has driven significant innovation and competitive advantage in the mechanical construction industry. Attendees will gain valuable insights into how they can leverage data-driven strategies to maximize the benefits of prefabrication and stay ahead in a rapidly evolving market.

Speakers
Lee Browning
14:30 - 15:30 (CST)
Breakout Session: Offsite Manufacturing

Join Doug Smith from DSI and Steve Otis from Hermanson as they discuss Off-Site Manufacturing (OSM). Learn how contractors are collaborating with other contractors around the country to leverage their fabrication capabilities to win and fulfill large-scale projects efficiently. Through case studies, discover coordinated strategies in designing, assembling, and transporting modules across the country in order for contractors to gain the necessary schedule and labor capacity to handle large projects. Gain insights into software-driven joint visibility and coordinated shipping for enhanced project success.

Speakers
Doug Smith
DSI
Steve Otis
Hermanson
16:00 - 17:00 (CST)
General Session: Hanging by a Wire – Innovative Use of Wire Hangers in Mechanical and Plumbing Systems

While high tension wire systems have been accepted and used in hanger systems for sheet metal and electrical for years, more projects are pushing for their acceptance in mechanical and plumbing systems as well. This session, funded by JRGF research, will explore three case studies and cost comparisons of contractors using tension wire systems for mechanical purposes, what lessons were learned with engineers, what project types have worked best with them and the productivity increases and costs comparisons with their use.

Speakers
Steve Kilts
W.E. Bowers
General Session: Hanging by a Wire – Innovative Use of Wire Hangers in Mechanical and Plumbing Systems image
Jim Tedrow
Modern Companies
Thomas Walker
John W. Danforth Company
17:00 - 19:00 (CST)
Taste of Wisconsin Reception

We finish the day off with a reception featuring the taste of Wisconsin. Join us for what will truly be a unique experience as we lean into a cheese themed event. Hosted by four sponsors with four different areas of entertainment including bar games, music and food. The reception will conclude with a competition like no other. Champions from each of the four sponsors will compete in a very unique tournament of skill with the winners receiving one-of-a-kind rewards and glory.

07:00 - 08:00 (CST)
Breakfast
07:00 - 12:00 (CST)
Registration
08:00 - 09:00 (CST)
Closing General Session: Best Practices Showcase

The best ideas at this conference often come from each other. This facilitated discussion will share some of the best ideas that have been submitted by you with the group. Each person that shares their best ideas will earn a customized Yeti with a fabrication theme and the best idea or fabrication will earn a special prize.

09:15 - 10:15 (CST)
Breakout Session: Fabricators Workflow & Tech Stack

Knowing where your fab is and effectively communicating this information to customers can be challenging. Discover how Andy J. Egan utilizes technology and optimized workflows to manage the entire fabrication process, from design to installation.

Speakers
Chris Weaver
Andy J. Egan Company
Benny Baltrotsky
MSUITE
09:15 - 10:15 (CST)
Breakout Session: Shop Metrics

In this session, we will delve into the critical performance metrics that every mechanical fabrication shop should track to enhance efficiency and productivity. Participants will gain insights into how to effectively gather and input essential data points through Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) processes. Key metrics such as weld inches, pounds of sheet metal, and feet of pipe will be discussed, providing a clear understanding of how these indicators can drive better decision-making and operational improvements. Furthermore, the session will offer guidance on creating impactful dashboards using software to visualize the data. We will explore the criteria for selecting the most relevant metrics to display, ensuring that your dashboards provide actionable insights. By the end of the session, contractors will be equipped with the knowledge to set up and maintain a robust performance tracking system that enhances visibility and accountability within their fabrication shops.

Speakers
Jeff Knoup
The Helm Group
Breakout Session: Shop Metrics image
Trent Leinenbach
Stratus
Joe Melody
The Helm Group
10:45 - 11:45 (CST)
Breakout Session: Optimizing BIM for Fabrication

Misalignment with your design department can lead to significant delays in the fabrication process. Explore how Jackson and Blanc has streamlined its Building Information Modeling (BIM) processes in Revit to ensure seamless design through fabrication. Learn how they leverage internal and external design teams with a centralized fabrication shop.

Speakers
Brian Underwood
Jackson & Blanc
Anthony Torres
Jackson & Blanc
Erin Blomme
MSUITE
12:00 (CST)
Conference Concludes
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