Image from CFMA 2024
A milestone for construction financial professionals

The theme for the 2024 Construction Financial Management Association’s (CFMA) Annual Conference & Exhibition was “Your Path to Bigger & Better,” held in Grapevine, Texas, May 18-22. The event marked significant achievement in the realm of construction financial management.

As noted by CFMA vice president, marketing and communications, Kristy Domboski, “[The conference] was a resounding success, setting new benchmarks for attendance and engagement in the construction financial professional community.” With over 1,900 attendees, 42 breakout sessions, 12 mini-conferences, four general sessions, four power sessions, 130-plus industry vendors and more than 100 industry experts, the event set new standards for participation and engagement within the industry.


Inspiring Keynotes & Engaging Sessions

The conference featured an extraordinary lineup of keynote speakers who captivated the audience with their insights and expertise. Shola Richards, founder and CEO of Go Together Global, kicked off the event with a powerful keynote that set an inspiring tone for the following days. His message of positivity and resilience resonated deeply with attendees, providing a strong foundation for the conference.

James Benham, president and founder of JBKnowledge Inc., followed with a tech-forward presentation, emphasizing  the importance of embracing technological advancements in the construction industry. His energetic delivery and forward-thinking ideas sparked numerous discussions among participants.

Mike Rayburn, a multidisciplinary artist and TEDx speaker, entertained and educated the audience with his unique blend of music and motivational speaking. His session was a highlight, showcasing how creativity and innovation can be harnessed in the workplace by strategically asking the question “What if?”

CFMA’s Chief Economic Advisor Anirban Basu concluded the keynote sessions with his characteristic blend of information and entertainment. His economic insights in “The Good, the Bad & the Ugly” provided valuable context for the industry’s future. Basu left attendees with much to consider while still chuckling about his low ratings with Uber and Lyft drivers, as the economic insight conversations seem to extend farther than the conference stage for him.


Recognizing Industry Excellence & Collaborative Efforts

The conference also served as a platform to honor industry leaders for their remarkable achievements. Awards were presented to the following individuals:

  • Scott Rooney: Debra Hahn Memorial Association Award

  • Melvin Schneider: Joe Quigley Memorial Chapter Award

  • Patsy Anderson-Dunn: CCIFP of the Year

  • Don Stephens: Danny B. Parrish Leadership Award


These awards highlighted the exceptional contributions of these professionals to the construction financial management community.

Representatives from various organizations, including the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI), the Association of Equipment Management Professionals (AEMP), Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) and the Construction Progress Coalition, played a crucial role in furthering collaborative activities. Their presence underscored the importance of partnership and shared goals in advancing the industry.


Addressing Critical Issues: Substance Misuse in the Workplace

One of the standout sessions was led by a dear friend to Construction Business Owner (CBO) and member of our Editorial Advisory Board, Cal Beyer. Beyer is the senior director of SAFE workplaces for the SAFE Project. (SAFE stands for “stop the addiction fatality epidemic.”) Titled “The Human & Financial Costs of Substance Misuse,” his session delved into a pressing issue affecting the construction industry.

Beyer identified the causes, consequences, costs and counter-controls for substance misuse in the workplace. He emphasized the importance of using tools like the substance misuse cost calculator by the National Safety Council to understand the financial impact of substance misuse.

A significant portion of the session focused on overcoming the stigma associated with substance misuse and breaking down barriers to care-seeking in the workplace. Beyer stressed the importance of caring for individuals as people, not just workers, and highlighted strategies for first-dose prevention of opioids both in the workplace and at home.

One startling statistic presented by Beyer was that 70% of people with substance use disorders (SUDs) are part of the workforce. This highlights the high likelihood of substance misuse issues within the workplace that may not yet be visible. Prevention methods are crucial, as evidenced by Quest Diagnostics’ report of a 22-year high in positive drug tests in 2022 and an extraordinary 600% increase in drug test cheating in 2023.

Beyer also addressed the growing demand from business owners and general contractors for pathways to reintegrate individuals into the workplace after a positive drug test. He introduced the concept of a “recovery-ready workplace,” which aims to support employees in their recovery journey while maintaining a safe and productive work environment.


Looking Forward

This year’s conference was a testament to the strength and resilience of the construction financial management community. CFMA President and CEO Neil Shah shared: “CFMA’s 2024 annual conference not only celebrated our achievements but also laid the groundwork for continued growth and innovation in the construction finance sector.”

On a personal note, learning the way the myriad sectors within the construction industry intertwine has been inspiring, and it highlights the ways community connections can serve as a limitless resource. Events like the CFMA Annual Conference & Exhibition are opportunities to witness the tangible ways conversation and innovation can encourage collaborative work and action. As the industry continues to evolve, the insights and connections made at this conference will undoubtedly play a role in shaping its future. I look forward to another successful show in Orlando, Florida, in 2025.

For more information about the conference and upcoming events, please visit