The Utility & Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey (UTCA) held its 46th annual convention and trade show Sept. 22 through Sept. 24 at the Tropicana Casino & Resort in Atlantic City, N.J.
On Friday, Sept. 23, equipment dealers and construction services companies met with Garden State contractors during the trade show in the Grand Exhibition Center. The Annual Awards Luncheon began at noon, where Brendan Binder, president and COO of Binder Machinery Company in South Plainfield, N.J., was presented with the Larry Gardner Memorial Award. Each year, this award is given to a UTCA member who has demonstrated outstanding service to the association.
The Awards Luncheon’s keynote speaker, sponsored by Penn-Jersey Machinery, is always a highly anticipated event of the four-day convention. This year, James Bradley, author of the best-selling book, “Flags of Our Fathers,” spoke to approximately 1,000 luncheon attendees. Bradley gave a synopsis of his famous novel, providing background on the six U.S. servicemen who appeared in the famous photograph depicting the flag raising at Iwo Jima during World War II.
Bradley then deftly turned the presentation of his novel into a motivational speech, explaining how, when he first pitched his idea for the book, more than 30 publishers ultimately rejected it. He talked about making the “impossible, possible,” by relaying a story about how most militaries had come to consider amphibious assaults, like Iwo Jima and Normandy, impossible in the 1920s — until one person, not a high-ranking military man, came up with a way to do it successfully. He further explained that when “Flags of Our Fathers” was made into a movie, directed by Clint Eastwood and produced by Steven Spielberg, the former said that, “I don’t begin thinking that anything is a good idea until at least two people think it’s a bad one.”
Later during the convention, a few highlights included Darrell Harms inducted as new UTCA president; the 2011 Construction Safety Award Presentations, sponsored by George Harms Construction, were made; a grand prize — a week’s vacation to St. Maarten and sponsored by Hoffman Equipment — was awarded; and the annual PAC Auction party was held.
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