April 16, 2007

Mike Moore of Sault Ste. Marie considers the Ontario General Contractors Association's annual construction symposium to be such a sound investment that he's taking along several staff members from his firm, Mike Moore & Sons Construction Ltd.

Something for everyone at construction event

Sault Ste. Marie contractor Mike Moore views participating in the Ontario General Contractors Association’s (OGCA) annual construction symposium as a sound investment.

So much so, that he’s picking up the tab for himself and six others from his firm, Mike Moore & Sons Construction Ltd., to attend the 4th such event, being held later this week at the Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood.

“It’s a great learning opportunity,” Moore says. “The seminars are very informative. You also get to mingle with people from across the province and maybe even strike some business deals.”

Moore, who is organizing two sessions, is being accompanied by his wife Fern, the company’s vice-president and chief financial officer, as well as an estimator, superintendent and project manager and two of their spouses.

“It’s a learning weekend,” he says. “But it’s also an enjoyable one.”

Moore, a former president of the Sault Ste. Marie Construction Association, is one of the close to 500 participants this year — sponsors, delegates and speakers.

Personnel from close to 70 of the OGCA’s 210 member companies are registered.

“What’s attracting the members is the quality of the seminars and the opportunities for networking and sharing information,” says OGCA president Clive Thurston. “People start to realize that they are part of the OGCA family.

“The number one comment we hear every year is ‘I’m just a small guy; but I was talking to someone from one of the large firms and learned they’ve got the very same problems as me.’ ”

"It's a learning weekend ... but it's also an enjoyable one."

Mike Moore

Sault Contractor

This year’s symposium, which kicks off Thursday afternoon with a session on Gold Seal certification, features 23 seminars and 53 speakers.

The most popular sessions are those dealing with due diligence, LEED Green, construction law, negotiating techniques and strategies and Gold Seal.

Thurston said the OGCA’s board of directors has made a concerted effort to keep the event affordable in order to attract as many members as possible. The registration fee for delegates from member company is $159.

“We wanted to make it possible for our member companies to send as many people as they can,” Thurston said. “Some firms are sending as many as 12 or 15 people. We’re very pleased to see that happening.”

One company that fits into that category is Mississauga-based Kenaidan Contracting Ltd. The firm is sending 17 people to the event — a mix of project managers, superintendents and estimators as well as some senior management personnel.

“We use this event as a professional development tool,” said human resources director Deb Fillippe who is speaking at two seminars. “It’s part of our ongoing professional development program.”

Sponsorship is also at an all-time high, Thurston said.

“One of the things that attracts the sponsors is that we control the numbers, so that there are always far more delegates than sponsors. That way, sponsors have an opportunity to network with as many of our members as possible.”

The inaugural symposium was held at the Deerhurst Resort in Muskoka. Just under 200 people attended.

“There’s been tremendous growth in participation,” Thurston said. “I hope to see the day when at least three quarters of our member companies send people to this event.”

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