February 2010 Vol. 65 No. 2


DCA Looks To New Leadership, Better Economy

Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor

During 2009, members of the Distribution Contractors Association (DCA) dealt with the effects of a continuing economic recession as well as making a transition in leadership with the retirement of longtime Executive Vice President Dennis Kennedy and hiring as his replacement Robert (Rob) Darden (a special report on the transition was published in the January issue of Underground Construction magazine).

“The economy and leadership change clearly stand out as the most significant challenges for DCA members during the past year,” said Shepard Poole, 2009 DCA president.

“The recession has affected both our contractor and associate members,” said Poole. “Work was down for about six months of the year. While problems caused by the economic conditions certainly are not over, by year’s end, the pain had lessened.”

Poole said the economic situation has made it necessary for most members to review their business plans to evaluate operational efficiencies and how to sustain business when opportunities for growth are restricted.

“One of the greatest benefits of DCA membership is the opportunity for networking,” Poole continued. “During this time, members exchanged helpful information and ideas for getting through the current down cycle.”

While dealing with the recession and continuing regular association business, members and staff also were faced with replacing an executive vice president who had served the organization for 20 years, finding and hiring a qualified replacement, and initiating the transition.

“Rob Darden is well qualified for the position,” said Poole. “He has valuable association management experience, his previous position with QuEST Forum brought exposure to the telecommunications industry, and his time with the Young Presidents’ Organization required good people skills that will benefit DCA.”

Darden joined the DCA in July, and assumed many responsibilities while his predecessor Dennis Kennedy was still with the association. Darden officially assumed his new duties on Jan. 1, 2010.

Maintaining momentum
Looking ahead, Poole said the economy and how it impacts utility markets will be a primary concern of the DCA and its members.

“We need to maintain active membership and participation of members in association business,” he said. “The transition from Dennis to Rob has gone smoothly, but a new executive vice president will have his way of doing things as he builds on past accomplishments and takes the DCA forward.”

Poole said the DCA has conducted business based on a five-year strategic plan, and finalizing the next plan for the period 2011 to 2016 is an important task for 2010.

Poole’s term as president ends at the DCA’s 2010 annual meeting in February with Kevin Miller becoming the 2010 president.

Poole is president and chief operating officer of Hallen Construction Co., Island Park, NY, a leader in the heavy construction industry specializing in pipeline, telecommunications, water and sewer projects, electrical construction, and site work.

Miller is president of Miller Pipeline Corp, Indianapolis, IN, a leading natural gas distribution and transmission pipeline and utility contractor, also serving the water and sewer, rehabilitation, and telecommunications industries.

DCA offices are in Richardson, TX. Since 1961, the association has served 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 is a leading advocate of the directional drilling industry and counts among its members many leading directional drilling contractors.

Distribution Contractors Association, (972) 680-0261, www.dca-online.org

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