2010 Robert D. Sawyer Award - Scott Smith

During the CFA Summer Convention in Branson, Missouri, Scott Smith of MPW Construction Services was awarded the Robert D. Sawyer Distinguished Service Award.  The Summer Convention was held August 4-6, 2010 at the Chateau on the Lake, Branson, Missouri.

Last year’s winner, Barry Herbert of Herbert Construction, recognized Smith as this year’s recipient.

“Scott is the type of person who makes the CFA such a great organization,” states Herbert.  “Many of us have spent countless hours with him talking about business. He’s helped me personally see things more clearly from a business stand point. Most of us don’t need someone to tell them how to set forms.  But, you see, Scott isn’t just a form setter who happened to get big.   He started as a concrete guy but over the years has become a very good businessman. In fact he’s one of the most astute businessmen I know.

The Robert D. Sawyer Distinguished Service Award honors outstanding service and commitment to the CFA and the concrete foundation industry.  It is the CFA’s highest honor.  Unlike other awards it isn’t given out on a regular basis. It is awarded only occasionally and only to those individuals who over and over have given their time and effort to promote the poured wall industry and the CFA.

Smith and his company has been a member of the CFA since 1991.  During that time, he served on the board from 1993 to 2000, including a term as CFA President in 1997-98.  In addition, he served as chair for the CFA Membership Committee during a critical growth period from 2000 to 2003.

In 2003, a group of contractors became concerned for the restrictions that were being placed on residential contractors for cold weather conditions.  Smith was one of the leaders that stepped up with passion from the CFA and became instrumentally involved with the production of the research that generated the CFA’s Cold Weather Research Manual.  This research has extended its effectiveness through incorporation into ACI’s Residential Code 332 and the most recent publication of ACI’s Cold Weather Guide 306.

With this award, Smith became only the fourth in the history of the CFA to be recognized as the recipient of both the Contractor of the Year (2001) and the Sawyer Award.

Ed Sauter, executive director of CFA said, “Scott Smith is the type of person around whom successful trade associations are built.  His leadership, dedication, insights, and opinions both as president and as chair of the membership committee were invaluable.  Scott presided over CFA during a period of strong growth and his commitment to the Association was chiefly responsible for that growth.” 

Smith, his dad Jake Smith and partner Larry Rader started Modern Poured Walls back in 1976, leaving an established poured wall company in Bath, Ohio.  Through hard work, and perseverance, the company grew to be a dominant force in both residential and concrete work.  During the last decade, the company had grown to more than 100 employees and a strong fleet of equipment delivering more than 500 basements and over 42,000 yards of concrete each year.

“Scott’s business has suffered during this housing depression just like the rest of us.  But Scott hasn’t been willing to just give up or wait for it to get better.  For about four years Scott has been revamping and restructuring his business to make it the right size for the available work.  He’s smart enough to recognize there are a lot of business people out there with a wealth of knowledge.  He meets regularly with a round table group of executives,” states Herbert.  “He’s gleaned an enormous amount of information from that group and has been very willing to share that information with fellow CFA members.“

This sharing has been present throughout in Smith’s commitment to the CFA, whether as a Board president, a Membership Committee chair or as a trusted peer or friend.  Herbert reflects, “Our Company started feeling the downturn about a year after Scott’s did and I remember one particular conversation we had where Scott, my son Doug and I talked ‘til the wee hours of the night.  He made us realize we needed to make deep cuts as quickly as possible.  Little did we know at that time, that the worst was yet to come.

Smith has further served the industry with his experience and knowledge by serving on the editorial board for Permanent Buildings & Foundations, a magazine that served the residential industry for many years.  His leadership helped refine the presence of the residential foundation contractor in the national media and establish the recognition of quality and performance to the consumer.

Herbert closed his introduction of Smith during the meeting with a quote from John Maxwell, a leading Christian author.  “The pessimist complains about the wind.  The optimist expects it to change.  The leader adjusts the sails. – Scott Smith is a true leader.”


About the Award
The Robert D. Sawyer Award is named on behalf of Bob Sawyer, the first CFA executive director, and it is presented to a contractor member whose contributions to the industry merit recognition. The award recognizes individuals who commit countless time and resources to serve the industry, as Bob Sawyer did for the CFA. Bob Sawyer passed away last year after a brief illness. His inspiration and leadership brought together a group of minds that are focused on improving the technology and practices in the poured wall industry.
 


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