February 2019 Vol. 74 No. 2


DCA Prepares for Largest Annual Convention in 58-Year History


The Distribution Contractors Association (DCA) expects to break attendance records again when the organization meets in the Bahamas next month for its 58th Annual Convention.

DCA Executive Vice President Rob Darden said 600 registrants are expected at the Nassau’s Grand Hyatt Baha Mar resort for the event which annually marks an unofficial kickoff to the upcoming construction season.

The week of business and leisure events in the Bahamas begins March 4 with leadership meetings. Keynote breakfasts are scheduled for March 6, 7 and 8, and the convention closes with a farewell breakfast on March 9.

DCA has made development of a skilled workforce a top priority, and its efforts to raise awareness of career opportunities in underground construction will be the focus of the association this year, and for years to come. “This is not a problem that can be solved in a year,” Darden said.

“I’ve been at DCA for 10 years and seen incredible growth over those years,” Darden said, noting that attendance at this year’s convention is expected to double that of his first year with the association.

During the same period, he said, total DCA membership has grown to 228 from 140, including an increase in contractors to 90 from 52.

“The safe transport of natural gas is a rapidly growing industry and requires a skilled workforce. Jobs in our industry regularly pull in six figures without a college education. But the underground construction industry, particularly distribution pipeline, is largely unknown to the general public,” Darden said. “When people hear about construction work, they think ground up, not what’s under their feet.”


The variety of workforce-related partnerships DCA is nurturing include industry groups like the American Gas Association and, American Petroleum Institute, labor unions and other affiliated organizations. But they are also aligning with groups dedicated to the skilled workforce such as SkillsUSA, The Center for Energy Workforce Development (CEWD), and the mikerowe-Works Foundation.

Last year DCA hired Jason Dorsey and the Center for Generational Kinetics (CGK) to conduct a major study on attracting and retaining 18- to 30-year-olds (Millennials and Gen Z) to the underground workforce, as well as a digital review of member eff orts to communicate with the younger generations. The first Workforce Summit was held in May 2018, and a second is scheduled for September 2019. The next step is an implementation guide to put the survey results into practice.

DCA is also collaborating with Mike Rowe and API to produce an energy awareness series with an expected launch in the fall on social media platforms and potentially a network. Additionally, DCA is advancing other initiatives considered important to reducing workforce needs, including the DCA-led Operator Qualification Integrity Program initiative (OQIP). With participation by DCA contractors, senior staff of AGA, APGA, the regional gas associations and OQ training providers, OQIP seeks to raise the bar of operator qualification training based on ASME B31Q.

Just as DCA has grown, so has its member support for key events that fund the associations priority programs. A silent auction held at each annual convention is a clear example. Ten years ago, the event raised $271,000, while last year it brought in $1,127,000.

“DCA has a very generous membership base, and through donations and purchases at the auction, sponsorship of the convention, participation in the labor agreements and attendance at our numerous events, it has grown into a robust and influential association,” Darden said.

“This generosity has allowed DCA to pursue not just these initiatives, but others that benefit the membership and the industry as a whole. “It really is an exciting time to be in this industry and leading this great association,” Darden said.

For more information, contact Teri Korson at (972) 680-0261 or tkorson@dcaweb.org

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