PCCA Enjoys Strong, Productive Year

The year 2008 represented significant accomplishments for the Power and Communications Contractors Association (PCCA) and its members, reports association president Ron Tagliapietra, senior vice president at Michels Corp.

“At the end of the year, our membership – like the rest of the construction industry – was dealing with a down economy,” said Tagliapietra. “However, we are facing it with a positive, optimistic attitude. Our association has been through this before, and fairly recently with the telecom crash earlier this decade. Taking guidance from our members, we got lean when times got tough and we’ve stayed lean even though we have had several very strong years in a row.”

Tagliapietra said significant accomplishments during 2008 include:

  • Launching of the PCCA Young Construction Professionals educational program;
  • Continued cooperation with the staffs of the USDA’s Rural Development Utility Program (RDUP) and the Association of Communications Engineers (ACE) about amending the RDUP 515 construction contract for telecommunications systems;
  • Informing and educating members about vital industry issues, including the importance of locating and marking utilities before construction and ways of mitigating risks associated with utility hits; and
  • Outreach to prospective new members and educating the industry about the value of PCCA programs and services.

Tagliapietra added that the association continues to work hard to make meetings productive and informative with programs that provide the opportunity for dialog among members.

“We had a very productive 2008 annual convention in February and an excellent mid year meeting in August,” he said.

YCP program

Tagliapietra added that he is very proud of development and implementation of the Young Construction Professionals (YCP) program.

“Whether the economy is up or it’s down, our people need the skills to help their companies succeed,” he explained. “The YCP program helps supply those skills to our up and coming leaders. In the classroom, during our Construction Industry Roundtables, and in the informal mentoring during our meetings, we bring together the young and the old, the experienced and the less experienced but enthusiastic. We all learn from each other, and we have a good time doing it.”

Regarding the RDUP program, Tagliapietra said that a PCCA delegation met with RDUP officials and ACE members in August for a frank exchange of experiences and opinions. A group that includes members of PCCA, ACE, the Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies (OPASTCO), and the National Telecommunications Cooperative Association (NTCA) is preparing a document of suggested contract revisions that will be presented at the ACE summer meeting in Washington, D.C. Kevin Mason and Greg Spalj represent PCCA on this group.

Tagliapietra said PCCA’s top priority in 2009 is to help keep all industry colleagues productive and profitable in the changing economy.

“For example,” he said, “at the 2009 PCCA Convention Feb. 27 through March 4, we will have a session on wind energy, an industry sector that seems to really be taking off. Many of our members are already building wind farms, and many more will be exploring opportunities as the Obama administration pushes its renewable energy agenda. We also have a session explaining the smart grid for electric utilities and discussing opportunities in both electric distribution and communications. Another session is about steps that can assist contractors in getting paid for the work they do.”

He said The PCCA Journal will continue focusing on new opportunities like wind energy, broadband over power lines, and the smart grid, as well as our bread and butter work, industry news, safety, human resources and legal issues.

The YCP will have a full program at the 2009 annual convention and will also hold sessions at the mid year meeting in July. The RDUP Task Force will continue its work on contract revisions with a report due in August.

Founded in 1945, the PCCA is composed of leading construction, manufacturing, supply and service companies in the United States, Canada and Mexico. In addition to the telecommunications and power industries, PCCA contractors do both open cut and trenchless construction for natural gas and oil pipelines and water and sewer utilities. PCCA is headquartered in Alexandria, VA.

PCCA: (703) 212-7734, www.pccaweb.org

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