Ahh, Fall, one of my favorite times of the year. The college football season is off and running, and we are all hoping for our Alma Maters to take the conference championship and dreaming of a national championship. My beloved Montana State Bobcats, although only picked to finish in the middle of the pack, will be in the hunt all year long. As long as they beat the despised Griz, it will be another successful season!
Fall is also a time when we, as contractors, can finally catch our breath. After a crazy spring and summer working to complete the underground work, grading, curbs, etc., we only await the paving (while praying for the rain to hold off one more week). Now, unless you are fortunate to have a multi-year project, is the time to plan for next year and start bidding next year’s work. But at least we now have a little time to take in that occasional Saturday football or soccer game, go hunting, or simply relax.
This year there is one “HUGE” contest we cannot miss because it could significantly impact our companies—the dreaded mid-term elections. Politics is a contact sport, so don’t be a spectator! We need to get in and mix it up! If we hope to continue on the pro-contractor, pro-business track we have been on for the past few years, it will require all of us spending some money and time to keep this going. How do we “mix it up”? I’m glad you asked. Start by getting up to speed about the good work of our industry’s highly effective political action committee, NUCA/PAC. Then encourage your friends and family to vote. Getting the right people into office in the first place is half the battle. If we sit on the sidelines and watch, we may not be pleased with the results.
Speaking of getting involved and mixing it up, NUCA actively promoted Vo-Tech programs (or Career Technical Education, CTE, as is now called), which encourage young men and women to pursue careers in construction. Reauthorization of the Perkins Act, which provides funding for access to high-quality CTE school programs, was a top issue we discussed with Members of Congress during the Washington Summit. The President, who is a strong believer in CTE, signed the Carl D. Perkins Act on July 31. This is a significant win we can be proud of and offers one more path to securing the current and future workforce we all need. The reauthorization earmarks significant funding for programs in schools beginning in 5th grade, but it is up to us to lobby state and local leaders and work with industry organizations to direct vocational funding to our communities and ensure construction programs are integrated into our local high schools and community colleges.
Another major win for NUCA members, and thanks to all who participated, was our 2018 Trench Safety Stand Down (TSSD). This year contractors and other organizations trained 22,000 workers and reinforced the importance of trench safety. We all know there is no excuse for sending anyone into an unshored hole. NUCA is proud of our record as a leader in trench safety. Remember to thank your superintendents, foremen, and crews for their diligence.
And speaking of safety, NUCA’s Safety Directors Forum will be held November 7-8 in Las Vegas. This event will open with a half-day open forum. Attendees will also hear from legal and safety experts on safety director liability, damage prevention and cross bores, hand-held saws and kick-back protection, and other important topics. The SDF is another great opportunity to share ideas and learn from your peers. If you or your safety people pick up one golden nugget to improve your safety program, it will more than pay for itself. However, as this event coincides with the election, make sure whoever goes, votes early!
Let’s Make NUCA Great Again, MNGA!