June 2020

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A New Challenge for an Old and Extremely Strong “Family” Mike Silvers, CPRC, Owner Silvers Silvers Inc., and FRSA Technical Director Like many of you, I recently received an email from FRSA informing me that our Convention and the Florida Roofing and Sheet Metal Expo had been cancelled. I know this was a very tough decision, but one that was necessary and, with all things considered, definitely the right one. Over many, many decades attending Convention has been a regular part of my life. We are not alone in this. So many events have been cancelled, postponed or are being conducted by teleconference. For us, these include our Board and Committee meetings, seminars, apprenticeship classes and now Convention. The Future Builders of America Summit was cancelled. We will never know the important discussions or learning experiences that for now at least, will not take place. The Florida Building Commission and Technical Advisory Committee meetings are now conducted by teleconference. This has been convenient but, unfortunately, this eliminates the hallway discussions that can be used to present different viewpoints that may influence a decision. A discussion on a conference call leaves a lot to be desired compared to a face-to-face review of the issues at hand. Often, in real time, we can overlook the most important moments in these events. The firm handshake of a colleague, the welcomed hug of a good friend, kind words of encouragement, gratitude or condolence. The look on the face of the apprentices or other Convention newcomers when they realize what a big industry they are part of. A moving address

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by a speaker or important piece of information gained in a seminar. Most of all, I’ll miss the characters. The stuff that makes up the fabric of the human existence. The construction industry has many of these; FRSA certainly has more than its fair share. I’m not going to name names here. You know who you are and please, don’t change. Contemplating the loss of our Convention brought back a lifetime of Convention memories. There have been some personal highlights. Being sworn in as this organization’s President and receiving the Campanella Award were both personally important and very humbling. Watching so many people that I respect and admire receive these and other recognitions also stand out. But one particular memory came rushing back. It was during one of the now famous annual Welcome Receptions. Just before this event the Association sponsors a Past Presidents, Life, Honorary and Campanella Reception, so that many of us FRSA lifers could renew old friendships and acquaintances. I was in the middle of my first Convention as a member of the FRSA staff. There were new responsibilities to prepare for and new duties to contemplate. This was keeping me somewhat distracted. The party was roaring. Sitting on a long couch in the middle of the room was another FRSA lifer. He was one of my mentors and someone for whom I have great respect. I asked if I could sit with him and take a break for a few minutes. This gentleman (in the truest sense of the word) was