For students throughout America, the start of a new school year is just around the corner. Many educators today have come to appreciate lesson plans in which students gain from knowledge imparted by other students who have developed a special expertise.

Similarly, autumn offers exciting learning opportunities for SC&RA members. And many of the best teachers are fellow members.

First up is the SC&RA Crane & Rigging Workshop, September 20-22, at The Westin Crown Center in Kansas City, MO. Attendees will be educated by members who are also some of the industry's best and brightest experts.

Phil Hooper, Southern Industrial Constructors, Inc., and Terry Young, Construction Safety Experts, will discuss lessons learned from near misses.

NBIS Construction and Transport Underwriters, Inc., the exclusive administrator of SC&RA's insurance program, will be well represented. Bill Smith will explain how to develop a rigging planning checklist. Kevin Cunningham will moderate a panel on navigating crane rental agreements, which will include Smith and a third NBIS representative, Robert Moore.

That panel will also include SC&RA members Harry Baker, Southwest Industrial Rigging; Delynn Burkhalter, Burkhalter Rigging, Inc.; and Robert Hileman, United Crane & Rigging Company.

Hileman will be joined later in the Workshop by Earl Johnson III, Southern Crane, for a session on proper crane setup.

SC&RA Vice President Randall Goddard, Atlas Industrial Contractors, Ltd., will moderate a panel of fellow members who will discuss new developments in the gantry industry. Panelists will be Ben Forster, Riggers Manufacturing Company; Kevin Johnston, J&R Engineering Co., Inc.; Brian Wagner, Lift Systems, Inc.; and Craig Welch, Bigge Crane & Rigging.

In yet another session, Jim Yates, Barnhart, will examine proper methods and operations of platform trailers in the rigging industry.

Members will also learn from other members at the Exhibit Center, where 42 companies will explain their products and services, and at a presentation of the 2007 Rigging Jobs of the Year. Additionally, the Crane & Rigging Workshop will include two plant tours: Custom Mobile Equipment (manufacturer of the Versa-Lift line of fork lift) and Royal Tractor Company Inc. Following on the heels of the Workshop is the Financial & Risk Management Forum, October 11-12, at The Westin Indianapolis. This seminar will draw heavily on responses from dozens of member companies that participated in the 2007 SC&RA Financial Benchmarking Study. Participating members will learn by seeing how they compare financially to other members.

As with the Workshop, the Forum will benefit from presentations by SC&RA members, a number of whom will speak at both meetings.

For example, Terry Young will be back with an interactive session on ways to protect personnel and profits through a proactive risk-control program.

Kevin Cunningham with be joined by Mike Leamanczyk, a colleague at NBIS, to explain how companies can use insurance renewal specification techniques to control their bottom line.

SC&RA's General Counsel, Jason Branciforte, Littler Mendelson PC, will discuss ways employers can avoid employment mistakes that can result in lawsuits.

Harry Fry, Harry Fry & Associates, will explain how companies can make their financial package attractive to lenders. He will share the podium with Kevin Libert, Key Equipment Finance.

Like a number of speakers at the meetings, Libert offers a unique, nonmember perspective. Other nonmember speakers at the Forum are Robert Terpening, Executive Vice President, the Indianapolis Colts; Robert Reilley, Director of Global Security, Eli Lilly Corp.; and Mike Whitlock, President, Tannian Consulting. Nonmember speakers at the Crane & Rigging Workshop include Bo Brasher, Results in Learning; Andy Patron, FMI Corporation; John Davis, Crane Certification Association of America; and Jeffrey B. Rosen, Poisinelli Shalton Flanigan Suelthaus PC.

Look for further details of these meetings in the mail, this magazine and The SC&RA Newsletter.

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