Article Written by Jennifer Murphy from NetPlus Alliance (Where all the Top Tool Brands get together to become more awesome!)
The theme at this year’s STAFDA convention in Austin, Texas was ‘Raising Leadership,’ and I was lucky enough to have my own future leader in tow with me at the show. It was an exciting moment when Georgia Foley, the Executive Director at STAFDA, gave my son Henry a shout-out during her opening address, welcoming him to Texas and to his first STAFDA show. Henry has wanted to come to STAFDA since he was little. The keynote speakers, usually retired NFL players and coaches, or the Shark Tank stars were always a draw, but also my stories about the tool displays and the big parties hosted by the major construction manufacturers also fueled his interest.
This year’s keynote speaker was John Ratzenberger, infamous from his days as Cliff Claven on Cheers, and the only actor to voice a character in every Pixar film. John shared his passion for American manufacturing in the Travel Channel’s ‘Made in America’ show, and during his keynote address at the STAFDA General Session, he talked about the rapid decline of skilled workers and tradesman for jobs in U.S. construction and manufacturing. On October 16, following President Donald Trump’s Executive Order Expanding Apprenticeships in America, John was appointed to the Task Force on Apprenticeship Expansion as a workforce training advocate by U.S. Secretary of Labor Alexander Acosta. The mission of the task force is to identify strategies and proposals to promote apprenticeships,