Constructing Progress in the Windy City MCA Chicago Celebrates 125 Years

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Celebrating 125 years of dedication to the mechanical contracting industry, more than 350 guests attended a black-tie event at the elegant Art Institute of Chicago on Saturday, June 1, 2013, honoring the Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago (MCA Chicago).

The event treated MCA members and guests to an evening filled with food and entertainment as they were surrounded by the exquisite paintings of Monet, Renoir and Degas.  Emcee, former Chicago Bear Tom Waddle, amused the crowd with stories and humor and Jim Cornelison, national anthem singer for the Chicago Blackhawks, thrilled everyone with his amazing rendition of the national anthem.  Entertainment also included dinner music by The Stu Hirsch Orchestra followed by laughter as Second City Communications improvised with the audience for hilarious results.

The Mechanical Contractors Associations started it’s rich history in 1888 as the Master Steam Fitters when a group of steam fitting contractors joined together to work with the union to eliminate unfair wages, long working hours and unsafe conditions. Continually improving upon their expertise, The Master Steam Fitters advanced to become what is now known as the Mechanical Contractors Association of Chicago (MCA Chicago).

Today, 125 years later, the association still strives to keep its members on the cutting edge of technology while it maintains its relationship with its union, Pipe Fitters Local 597.  Working together they have never had a strike – a truly unusual situation between a labor and management group.

Speakers at the event, United Association General President William Hite, Chicago Pipefitters Local 597 Business Manager Jim Buchanan, MCA President Kevin Condon and MCA Executive Vice President Stephen Lamb, all commented on the long and positive relationship between the United Association and MCA Chicago.

“Our relationship with the union has helped us maintain steady growth throughout economic declines and building slowdowns,” said Executive VP of MCA Chicago, Stephen Lamb. “Anyone in the construction industry knows that it is a near impossibility to keep up with technological advances, keep your contactors educated on latest practices and communicate with legislators at the same time. But we have done it successfully.”

Lamb joined MCA in 1988 after many years as a construction industry association executive. Lamb recognized the need for ongoing education to keep his members current, so he founded the Construction Education Institute®, a learning center within the MCA headquarters in Burr Ridge. Members are offered more than 70 classes ranging in topics from Project Management to Computer Skills and Active Listening. Before green was savvy, MCA Chicago championed sustainable building initiatives to members and also recognized the importance of computer technology in the construction industry, therefore introducing members to Building Information Modeling (BIM) concepts.

The MCA has had only four executives in its 125-year history – each one as dedicated as the last to making the MCA an association that will remain relevant through its ability to persevere through change. Lamb has shown his dedication with an attitude of respect for the long history of the organization and a commitment to the future of its members.

About MCA Chicago:

Mechanical Contractors Association Chicago promotes the highest caliber of worker at all levels of the union mechanical contracting industry by advancing safety and education. MCA Chicago represents 60 member companies who work with the highly qualified pipefitters and service technicians of Pipefitters Local Union 597. Together, they install and service heating and air conditioning; and install piping wherever it's needed – from power generation, to oil refineries, to pharmaceuticals, and food processing plants. For more information, visit

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