APCA Holds 38th Annual Convention In Scottsdale

A record registration of 176 attendees marked the American Pipeline Contractors Association’s 38th Annual Convention at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Gainey Ranch Resort, Scottsdale, AZ.

The hotel provided a spectacular setting for the various business meetings and social functions.

Speakers included Greg Guidry, Onebane Law Firm, who spoke to regular members on the proposed card check legislation pending in Congress and its implications.

Rich Hoffman, executive director of the INGAA (Interstate Natural Gas Association of America) Foundation gave an overview of the organization’s mission, which includes being the research arm of INGAA, promotion of the advanced use of natural gas for the benefit of the environment and consuming public, and to facilitate efficient construction and safe, reliable operation of the North American natural gas pipeline system.

Some of the INGAA Foundation’s objectives include:

  • Removing impediments to construction and operation of pipelines;
  • Enhance the public’s perception of natural gas pipelines as safe, reliable and the environmentally preferred form of energy transportation;
  • Develop data to support INGAA’s influence on legislation and regulation at the national and state levels; and
  • For members to be better informed advocates and to facilitate communication.

The INGAA Foundation currently has studies under way covering:

  • Natural Gas Pipeline and Storage Infrastructure Projections Through 2030;
  • The Evolution of the Interstate Natural Gas Facility Approval Process;
  • Natural Gas – A Key to Climate Change;
  • Permit Program for MBTA Take;
  • Workforce: Knowledge Transition; and
  • Agency Education & Stakeholder Outreach

They are also developing guidelines for parallel construction of pipelines.

Workshops are also part of the Foundation’s program and this year they have conducted meetings on safety, building interstate pipelines – continuous improvement (QA/QC) and a PHMSA workshop.

APCA 2008 President Sean Sullivan of Elkhorn Construction, Evanston, WY, discussed cognitive dissonance and its relationship to safety. Cognitive dissonance is a psychological conflict resulting from simultaneously holding differing beliefs. For example, having a fondness for smoking while at the same time holding the belief that it is harmful.

Cognitive dissonance plays out in the workplace the same way. An example might be a spotter for a large equipment operator. He overlooks a situation that he believes to be unsafe as he does not want to appear overzealous in front of his peers who might consider the situation to be ‘minor.’ His belief will then be validated if no accident occurs. If one does, he will seek to justify his action by placing blame elsewhere. In relation to safety, it becomes doing a task that we know is not the safest manner, but going ahead and doing it that way to complete it.

Sullivan stressed that the pipeline industry needs to overcome this tendency by forming good habits that accompany our beliefs. When people are observed doing things the right way, they should receive a pat on the back. But when something is done the wrong way, you need to intervene and point out the correct procedure.

Officers and directors

Officers elected for 2009 were: Pat Simpson, president, Sterling Construction Co., Sterling, CO; Wayne Stringer, vice president, Ranger Plant Construction Co. Inc., Abilene, TX; Kevin Cater, 2nd Vice President, Willbros Construction (US); and Bruce Gilliland, secretary/treasurer. J.D. Lormand remains as executive director at the association’s office in Lafayette, LA.

Other directors are: David Dacus, Troy Construction Inc., Houston, TX; Randy Farrar, Farrar Construction Inc., Dover, OK; Max Nichols, Jomax Construction Co. Inc., Great Bend, KS; Mark O’Roke, Sunland Construction Inc., Eunice, LA; Bill Schettine, Meridien Energy, Falconer, NY; James Driver, Driver Pipeline Company Inc., Dallas, TX; John Fluharty, Mears Group Inc., Rosebush, MI; and Sean Sullivan, Elkhorn Construction, Evanston, WY.

The associate member board consists of: Scott Jeter, president, Pipe Line Machinery International, Houston, TX; Joe Trapani, vice president, Caterpillar, Houston, TX; John Graham, secretary/treasurer, Pipeline Inspection Co., Houston, TX; Carl & Sonnie Raffety, convention chairpersons, PipeLine Machinery International, Houston, TX; and Bobby Darby, Darby Equipment, Inc., Tulsa, OK, as golf chairperson.

Next year’s annual meeting is scheduled for March 3-7 in San Juan, PR.

APCA: J.D. Lormand, (337) 989 8672, www.americanpipeline.org, or Pat Simpson at (970) 522 1063.
INGAA Foundation: Rich Hoffman, (202) 216 5909, rhoffmann@ingaa.org.

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