The Distribution Contractors Association (DCA) closed out a strong 2012 with an impressive growth in membership, record attendance at association meetings, active educational programs and an energetic government relations program.
Most importantly, members were busy throughout the year, said Kevin Michels, whose term as association president will end at the association’s 52nd annual meeting in March.
“The DCA as an organization and its individual members are in a very strong position,” said Michels. “Our members are fortunate to be in a market where our services are in demand, including new construction, replacement projects and integrity work.”
Many contractor members are active installing pipelines in the Marcellus and Bakken energy shale fields, Michels continued. DCA has long been an advocate of horizontal directional drilling (HDD), and many DCA members have wide experience in directional drilling. Such activity is especially heavy in Marcellus shale areas in the Northeast United States.
Events of the year began in February with strong attendance at the 51st DCA Convention in Hawaii. This successful event was followed by the Safety Congress, Mid-Year Meeting, Fall Meeting and the Professional Development Conference (PDC), each setting attendance records.
At the week-long annual meeting, in addition to several strong keynote speakers, committee meetings and the election of DCA officers, the DCA’s annual auction was held. The auction has become a primary fundraiser for the association.
“Thanks to the generosity of those who donated items and those who purchased them, DCA had a record-breaking auction,” Michels said.
In April, the two-day Safety Congress brought together safety professionals from across the country to discuss challenges and problems utility contractors face on projects, and exchange creative training ideas to develop and manage a safety culture within an organization. Michels said he expects that the DCA will continue to expand its focus on safety and training.
In November, DCA held its second Professional Development Conference (PDC) with more than 70 attending two program tracks on leadership, management, conflict resolution, negotiations and other topics designed for management and supervisory personnel.
“The PDC is a great networking opportunity with member companies encouraged to bring management personnel, operational support and other staff members to hear best practices from leaders in the industry”, said Michels. “Each year we learn from the prior program and improve the product. I believe the PDC will be a premier educational event and strong member benefit in the years to come.”
Michels said the DCA took steps to significantly increase government relations activities in 2012 with the appointment of an advocacy specialist in Washington D.C. to help the association understand and navigate through the legislation and regulations that affect the industry and association members. DCA contractors will be meeting with federal agencies to discuss new and existing laws and regulations that directly affect the industry, including pipeline safety and operator qualifications.
At year’s end, DCA membership had posted a significant net increase of a nearly 20 new members providing a strong base with good balance between regular and associate members.
Looking ahead, Michels said the DCA will expand its outreach efforts, and with a new working committee formed in 2012, which will continue to develop ways in which DCA can contribute to the industry.
Michels is vice president of the Michels Corp., one of North America’s largest multi-division utility contractors. He is the third member of the Michels family to be president of the DCA. His father, Dale, and brother, Pat, served previously. Following him as DCA president will be Timothy Bell, president of Midwestern Contractors.
Founded in 1961, DCA serves as a link between its members and government agencies, organized labor and other industry organizations. The association tracks governmental issues affecting distribution contractors and keeps members informed of the latest developments on the industry’s regulatory and legislative fronts with monthly and on-line newsletters and updates.
The association also provides signatory members with a labor relations service, negotiating collective bargaining and national distribution agreements, and maintains alliances with other industry groups to pool resources, ideas and information in order to help members operate their businesses more efficiently.
DCA offices are in Richardson, TX. Rob Darden is executive vice president. Information about the association is available on its web site (www.dcaweb.org).