Attendance was up by almost 100 people as the Distribution Contractors Association (DCA) attracted 415 delegates to its 52nd annual convention at the Lowes Hotel in Miami Beach, FL. One in four of those delegates were attending their first ever DCA convention. Fourteen past presidents also attended – a record – and Dave Nelson of Pilchuck Contractors was inducted as an Honorary Member.
Presiding over the convention was outgoing president Kevin Michels of Michels Corporation, Brownsville, WI. His convention chairman this year was Frank Patterson of Patterson & Wilder Construction Co. Inc.
Executive Vice President Rob Darden pointed out the association’s explosive growth over the past several months. The annual equipment survey of DCA regular members shows them buying and leasing over $720 million in equipment in 2012 which was an increase of $150 million from the previous year. Reported man-hours worked were also up 15 percent.
Since 2009, DCA membership has increased 35 percent with two-thirds of that growth occurring within the past 14 months. Darden attributes a significant portion of that growth to the DCA’s active membership committee. This is all at a time of slow economic growth across much of the nation, when many associations are experiencing declining membership. DCA has added 15 new regular contractor members and 38 associate members.
Darden also noted that attendance last year set records at the Safety Congress, mid-year and fall meetings. This year’s Miami convention was the highest since the 2000 convention. The 415 registrants represented 44 regular member contractors and 67 associate member companies. The Professional Development Congress in November had an increase in attendance as well, and he noted that the Government Relations Committee has given DCA a voice in Washington.
The DCA has joined several active coalitions including Common Ground Alliance and is working with PHMSA and other federal agencies. Through their advocacy and new publication DCA Insights, they plan to keep members informed and get them involved in tracking new legislation and regulations affecting the industry. Financially, DCA is in excellent shape with an operating budget of over $2 million and member equity of over $1 million.
Through DCA’s sophisticated committee structure, members are engaged and educated in areas such as government relations and legislation, advancements in HDD, safety and risk management. The membership and education committees look for ways to add value to new and existing members. Additionally, the labor committee is tasked with negotiating collective bargaining on behalf of its unionized members.
Outgoing President Kevin Michels’ first DCA convention was when he was four-years-old at Del Coronado, CO. He noted that this was the 42nd convention he has attended.
Michels remarked that for him the DCA stands for success. “DCA is fortunate to have grown to the size it is today due to the success of its members, both contractor and associate members. DCA is an organization chock-full of many successful, long-established companies that have a passion for what they do, and fortunately DCA has been the recipient of some of that passion.” He also extended thanks to his mother and late father for bringing him to DCA conventions at an early age.
2013 officers, directors
New officers elected for 2013 are: President Tim Bell, president, Midwestern Contractors, Chicago, IL; Vice President H. Grady Bell, vice president of Business Development, Laney Directional Drilling Co., Humble, TX; Treasurer Frank Patterson, president, Patterson & Wilder Construction Co. Inc., Pelham, AL; Immediate Past President Kevin Michels, vice president-Equipment Division, Michels Corporation, Brownsville, WI; and Executive Vice President Rob Darden, DCA, Richardson, TX.
Directors include: Ben Nelson, vice president, Gas Distribution Division, Pilchuck Contractors Inc., Kirkland, WA; Jay Osborn, president, Q3 Contracting Inc., Little Canada, MN; Dale Anderson, executive vice president, Miller Pipeline, Indianapolis, IN; Michael J. Hickey, executive vice president-Construction Operations, The Hallen Construction Co. Inc., Island Park, NY; Larry Ernst, president, Midwest Underground Inc., East Moline, IL; Dale Mykyte, CEO, Pe Ben USA Inc., Houston, TX; and Dale Lappe, vice president, Gas Construction Services Manager, Snelson Companies Inc., Sedro-Woolley, WA. Past president director is Keith Swerdfeger, chairman of the board, K. R. Swerdfeger Construction, Inc., Pueblo West, CO.
The Associate Member Directors are: John Weaver, corporate business manager, John Deere Construction & Forestry Division, Moline, IL; and Alternate Associate Member Director Bob Darby, president, Darby Equipment Company.
Upcoming DCA events for 2013 include:
• Safety Congress – April 2 – 4, Bellagio, Las Vegas, NV;
• Mid-Year Meeting – July 17 – 21, Park Hyatt Beaver Creek, Beaver Creek, CO;
• Fall Meeting and Professional Development Conference – Nov. 18 – 21, Gaylord Texan, Grapevine, TX; and
• 53nd Annual Convention – Feb. 4 – 9, 2014, Ritz Carlton, Cancun, Mexico.
DCA’s 2013 Safety Awards Announced
At the recent Distribution Contractors Association’s 2013 Annual convention held in Miami Beach, FL, safety excellence was recognized and companies were rewarded for the effectiveness of their safety programs. The DCA established the Arthur T. Everham Safety Award in 1986 to recognize contractors with exceptional safety programs. The award is highly coveted as winners are recognized and honored by competitors.
The categories awarded are those companies that complete less than 350,000 man-hours of distribution construction per year, those that report more than 350,000 but less than 700,000 man-hours, and those companies that report more than 700,000 man-hours.
The safety awards were again very competitive with sometimes less than a point separating first and second place. The 2013 DCA safety award recipients are:
• Under 350,000 hours – Pilchuck Contractors Inc., Kirkland, WA;
• 350,000 to 700,000 hours – Midwestern Contractors Chicago, IL; and
• Over 700,000 hours – Mears Group, Rosebush, MI.