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UTCA Welcomes Back Members to Its Annual Convention

Thu October 07, 2021 - Northeast Edition #21

The Utility & Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey (UTCA) held its annual convention at the Tropicana Hotel & Casino Sept. 30 to Oct. 2, 2021, in Atlantic City, N.J.

After having cancelled its convention in 2020 because of COVID-19, the UTCA came roaring back with a well-attended event, which is not surprising considering its vibrant, active and expansive membership in the state of New Jersey.

At the convention's trade show exhibit, more than 100 exhibitors kept attendees busy touting their equipment offering and services.

During the event, UTCA inducted its new president, Rolando "Roly" Acosta, president and CEO of JAG Companies, Wall Township, N.J., who is replacing the now outgoing president, Dave Smith, CEO of Mount Construction Co., Berlin, N.J.

Peter Hutchison of Selco Manufacturing received the Larry Gardner Memorial Award, given annually to a UTCA member that has demonstrated outstanding service to the association. The Robert A. Briant Sr. Memorial Award went to Tino Garcia, senior vice president of Ferreira Construction.

During the luncheon, Robert Briant Jr., CEO of UTCA, remembered and honored Joseph T. Walsh III, who passed away on Aug. 2, 2021 and who served as president of the UTCA in 2012-2013, and 2018-2019 and was an executive member on the association's board for many years. Mr. Walsh worked for J. Fletcher Creamer and Son for 26 years, becoming the first non-Creamer family member to hold the position of president, was named COO in 2016, and then CEO in 2020. Briant Jr. was visibly moved, as were all in attendance, when a video was shown of Mr. Walsh's involvement in the UTCA and J. Fletcher Creamer and Son over the years.

When lunch concluded, Briant Jr. introduced Keynote Speaker Kevin "Dauber" Lacz, who is a United States Navy SEAL veteran who served two tours in the Iraq War. His platoon's 2006 deployment to Ramadi has been discussed in several books, including Dick Couch's The Sheriff of Ramadi, Jim DeFelice's Code Name: Johnny Walker, Jocko Willink and Leif Babin's Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy Seals Lead and Win and Chris Kyle's New York Times best-selling autobiography, American Sniper. Lacz's presence in the book led to his involvement in the production of and eventual casting in the Clint Eastwood-directed Oscar-winning biopic of the same name, starring Bradley Cooper.

(All photographs in this article are Copyright 2021 Construction Equipment Guide. All Rights Reserved.) CEG

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As has been the case for many years at the UTCA annual convention, Foley Inc. took center stage in the exhibit hall as guests enter the trade show.
Alonzo Bess was a one-man booth for NJ One Call. It’s required in the state of New Jersey to acquire dig tickets before starting a job.
(L-R, top row): Ron Dortone, Brianna Hughes, Ryan Smith. (L-R, bottom row): Sam Maury and Anthony Brown, all representing Modern Machinery, which sells the Hyundai product line, including loaders, excavators and high-speed grinders.
Vermeer North Atlantic’s Jonathan Converse (L) and Stephen Raffo, vice president of sales and rentals.
Rob Craig (L) and Anthony Falzarano, representing JESCO, show off the John Deere Toy Gator, which was auctioned off at the PAC auction during the UTCA conference.
(L-R): Steve Sigmund, Keith Meitzler, Kelly Simon and Rich Anderson, all of Equipment Corp. of America, represented Bauer drill rigs and RTG piling rigs at the UTCA convention.
Hoffman Equipment, represented (L-R) by Walt Joachim, Eric Seikel, Rob Martini, John Sands, George Heck and Bryan Bloyd.
Mike O’Gara represents Tri State Equipment, based in Tinton Falls, N.J.
(L-R): Bay Crane’s Ed Hogrelius, Dan Fallon and Lou Slota take in the crowd at the UTCA convention.
Representing the Ritchie Bros. booth (L-R) are Gary King, Adam Byrne and Fred Vilsmeier.
Eric Porter of Montana Construction Corp. tries his luck in The Kennedy Companies Fun Machine. He had 30 seconds to capture as much cash as he could. When his time was up, he scooped up $49.
During the UTCA Keynote Luncheon, new UTCA President Rolando “Roly” Acosta, who is president and CEO of JAG Companies, Wall Township, N.J., spoke.
With its vibrant and active membership, the UTCA Convention is always well-attended in Atlantic City, N.J. Here, members gather during the Keynote Luncheon on Oct. 1.
Kevin “Dauber” Lacz, United States Navy Seal veteran and advisor and cast member of the Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper,” delivers the keynote during UTCA’s luncheon at the Tropicana in Atlantic City, N.J.
GT Mid Atlantic, a long-standing member of UTCA, gathered for the main event of the year. Representing the company (L-R) are Ed Lafferty, Victor Riga, Sean Collins, Pat Geiger, Bob Taormina, Bill Garofalo and Frank Horan.
Company Wrench’s Dave Manwiller, Chris DeRonde and James Bulebush show off tracked mulching trailers from Fecon and Kobelco hydraulic excavators.
Ed Androvich (L) and Bob Grover, representing Toys for Tots, take in the crowds at the UTCA event held on Oct. 1 at the Tropicana in Atlantic City.

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