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Share & Enrich Your Knowledge at CFMA’s Regional Conferences

Joe McLaughlin
Joe McLaughlin, CCIFP, Incoming Chairman

Autumn is one my favorite seasons. The temperature becomes cooler, leaves start to change color, and football season begins. It is also regional conference season, which is one of the busiest times of year for CFMA.

In 2018, 10 conferences were held across the country that provided more than 80 CPE credits in total from informative and dynamic speakers.

I would like to thank all of the regional conference planning committees for their time and effort to plan and execute these successful events! Not only do they have full-time jobs and serve as chapter leaders, but they also take on the responsibility of delivering excellent programs to our members.

There were 55 chapters represented between regional planning committees and sponsoring chapters. The conferences would not be possible without the dedication and passion of our volunteers. Again, thank you!

I would also like to recognize and thank the many generous sponsors and exhibitors that support our regional conferences. In the exhibition halls, vendors have the opportunity to share the latest innovations in technology, construction-related products, and professional services to a targeted audience who can take this information back to their companies and increase efficiencies, processes, and their bottom line. 

I was fortunate to have attended several regional conferences this season. At the Louisiana Construction Conference, I attended an excellent panel discussion with senior leaders from leading companies in the industrial market segment. This region is known to be heavily populated in the industrial construction and maintenance space. As my company works within this space, I was excited to not only attend this session, but to also participate in relevant discussions pertaining to the industrial maintenance and construction industry space.

The entire conference was very educational and beneficial to my organization. The diversity of content among our chapters compared to other parts of the country was eye-opening. Also, Kevin Foley gave an excellent encore performance of “Death of a Contractor,” which was first presented at CFMA’s 2018 Annual Conference & Exhibition.

Next up was the Midwest Regional Conference, which was very well attended. Attendees participated in a trial run of the “CFM Challenge” on Sunday afternoon. In this interactive game, attendees were divided into “companies” and role-played key financial strategic decisions required during the typical life cycle of a construction project. This was an excellent way to earn CPE credit, and I hope to see it deployed at future regional conferences. On Monday, the keynote speaker, Chuck Gallagher, presented on “Every Choice Has a Consequence.”

Lastly, I attended the Lone Star Conference this year in Temple, TX, which was hosted by the Heart of Texas Chapter and attended by members from six CFMA chapters from all across the state.

It was great to see a relatively new chapter (formed in 2014) host a regional conference. The conference spanned two days and included education, an exhibition hall, and a Texas-sized backyard barbecue event. At the Chapter Summit, leaders shared ideas, best practices, and good advice.

I’d like to recognize the planning committee of the Lone Star conference for some out-of-the-box thinking. Melissa Rutledge, Vice Chairman of the ICCIFP, encouraged the planning committee to promote and hold a CCIFP exam, which was held on Thursday, September 27, 2018. The Institute coordinated with a local testing center for seven individuals to sit for the exam during the conference.

As evidenced here, certification continues to be promoted through collaboration among the institute, CFMA, and CFMA chapters. Lessons learned from this initiative will be shared with other regional conferences to encourage participation next year. Way to go, Lone Star!

In closing, I encourage you to get involved beyond the chapter level; consider the different committees, task forces, and leadership opportunities that CFMA has to offer. This type of involvement provides the opportunity for you to directly impact the direction of the Association.

With more than 15 committees and task forces to join, it is a great way to connect with fellow CFMs across the country as well as improve and develop CFMA’s direction, content, and programming.

For a list of committees and task forces, and how to volunteer, visit

Copyright © 2018 by the Construction Financial Management Association (CFMA). All rights reserved. This article first appeared in CFMA Building Profits and is reprinted with permission. CFMA Building Profits is a member-only benefit; join CFMA to receive the magazine.

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