CIPH ABC 2018: Stepping up to the changing market

June 26, 2018

CIPH president and GM Ralph Suppa (left) and now past-chairman Joe Senese belt out a Karaoke tune during CIPH ABC.

More than 300 members of the industry took the trek up the Sea to Sky Highway in B.C. for CIPH’s 86th annual general meeting and business conference in mid-June.

The event, held at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler, presented an opportunity to network, catch up on industry happenings and to take in advice from a full slate of experts.

Taking advantage of the locale, conference organizers arranged an opening talk with bear expert Michael Allen. He explained that the conditions created by the Whistler resort make it an ideal bear habitat, and a great place to study both black bears and grizzly bears. ”Black bears are a barometer of everything else that is going on in the environment,” he explained.

On the business front, speakers Mike Marks of Indian River Consulting Group and John Izzo, a professor, best-selling author and expert in employee engagement and leadership, outlined changes that are happening in business.

”The dumbest guy in the market always dictates the price,” stated Marks as he discussed how the country is experiencing a transition from a service economy to a digital economy. ”Every customer wants to buy from the best distributor at the worst distributor’s price.”

He views the mechanical sector as a foundational industry, which is an advantage, but it does not make it immune to the shift that is happening with consumers.

”I am very optimistic about the future of this industry, but you are going to change,” he said.

”How many of you would like to be the best leader your employees ever had?” queried Izzo during his business session. ”There are only two things that you have control over on an ongoing basis: the engagement of your people and your leadership.”

People need to feel appreciated, he explained, adding that leaders who make the rounds every day to connect with their employees, to discuss successes, challenges and what they are experiencing both inside and outside of work will see employee engagement rise. ”The average engaged employee is 20 to 40 per cent more productive.”

Conference keynote speaker John Furlong, the former CEO of the 2010 Vancouver Olympic organizing committee, and the father of a plumber, proclaimed that, ”The games of 2010 went down as a ‘nation building event.’”

Those games produced several memorable events, including John Montgomery’s post-victory walk through the Whistler village, but for Furlong, he said that the games were about the extraordinary efforts of the people who pitched in to ensure everything that needed to get done was done, and in time for the games.

”When I came to Canada in 1974, the customs agent said to me, ‘Welcome to Canada. Make us better.’ and I took him seriously, so my internal life focus was to pitch in.”

The 2019 CIPH ABC is scheduled for June 16 to 19 at the Delta Prince Edward in Charlottetown, PEI.