(By Mike Maloney, Director of Apprenticeship, Gould Construction Institute)


Heading to San Antonio for his first ABC National Convention, I decided to chronicle my experience for others who have never gone.  It was marked by fun, learning, delicious food and great music.


One of the highlights was clearly the Craft Championships, where the competitors showcased their talents against tradespeople from around the country.  I watched the competitors hard at work, looking sharp in their t-shirts, and also stopped and talked to judges of the plumbing, sprinklerfitting and team competitions.  Among the plumbing competition judges was GCI board member Gary Gauthier.  It was certainly a thrill when Nathan Gallagher of Notch Mechanical Constructors took home the Silver Medal in pipe welding and Caio Torres of Medford Wellington Service Company won Bronze in the sheet metal team competition.


The opening night celebration included an all-female mariachi band, and there was another great band at the closing ceremony.  Opening night also featured some of the best BBQ brisket I ever tasted!  I think I gained 10 pounds on the trip!

Everything was well organized, from the check in at registration to the luncheons to the seminars we attended.  I learned a lot about the ERISA trust during our seminar, from responsibilities of the trustees, to recruiting instructors.


During off hours I visited the Alamo and took in the sites around the Riverwalk, which was very beautiful and clean.  They turned the river green for St. Patrick’s Day.


The weather was sunny and warm during the day, cool at night.  After a National Center for Construction Education and Research dinner at the Tower of the Americas – a 750- foot-tall tower overlooking San Antonio, we played cornhole on the rooftop lounge.  GCI Education Director Diane Craven and her husband where the big winners!


Of course, no trip is perfect.  My luggage never made it on the plane at JFK going to San Antonio, and the airline also lost the luggage of GCI Marketing and Communications Coordinator Allison Jackson.  I’m happy to report both of us have recovered our luggage!