When everything is tallied – record attendance at the 2013 annual meeting, a record amount pledged at the meeting’s fund-raiser auction, continued growth in association membership, most contractor members busy and an active association presence in Washington, DC – the year 2013 was another good 12 months for the Distribution Contractors Association (DCA).
“Twenty-thirteen has been especially good for members who do gas construction, boosted by integrity management requirements gas providers now must perform,” said DCA President Timothy A. Bell. “In fact, there is again concern about the availability of skilled workers needed to complete current and projected projects. The industry had that concern early in the decade, but we didn’t hear much about it during the recession. Now, it’s back. DCA is doing its part to help the situation by increasing scholarship offerings and encouraging students entering the industry.”
Multiple trips were made to the nation’s capital by representatives of DCA, said Bell. Having appointed a consultant group in 2012 to help increase governmental relations activities, DCA spent 2013 getting to know the inner workings of Capitol Hill and educating government officials on the industry, the benefits of HDD and the scope and value of the association.
During the year, DCA delegations met with numerous congressional offices and regulatory agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) at the Department of Transportation (DOT) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the Department of Interior.
DCA even testified before the House Energy and Commerce Committee in support of HR 1900, the Natural Gas Pipeline Permitting Act, said Bell. The purpose of the legislation is to accelerate construction of natural gas pipelines and help speed up the process of building the architecture needed to fully realize the benefits of the American energy boom.
DCA and other proponents of HR 1900 saw their efforts pay off in late November when the U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill. It now goes to the Senate.
DCA member link
Throughout the year, DCA conducted its regular business serving 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 the DCA website.
DCA also was active promoting the market at various industry events. Each January, the DCA develops and sponsors a panel discussion on significant topics for the Underground Construction Technology (UCT) Conference. In October, the DCA’s HDD Committee sponsored a session at the bi-annual ICUEE show that focused on the latest product developments.
The DCA holds three member meetings each year. One of the primary contributors to the popularity of the events is the outstanding speaker and informational programs organized by the DCA’s Education Committee.
“These sessions bring great value for our attendees, allowing them to bring valuable information back home to their workplace,” Bell said.
DCA 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.
Going forward, Bell said the DCA will continue to address the manpower issue, work to get member personnel qualified to meet industry standards, and encourage experienced and qualified field personnel to step up to project supervisory positions.
Bell is president of Midwestern Contractors. He has been with Midwestern since 1985, starting as a laborer and working his way up through the ranks to his current position as president. His term as president will end at the association’s 2014 annual convention in February in Cancun. At that meeting, H. Grady Bell, vice president of Laney Directional Drill Co., will take over as president.
Founded in 1961, DCA offices are in Richardson, TX. Rob Darden is executive vice president.
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Distribution Contractors Association, (972) 680-0261, www.dcaweb.org.