Chairman’s Message: Celebrating Advocacy and Addressing Member Needs

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It was a proud time to be a NUCA officer during last month’s Washington Summit. It was a successful event that I believe helped move NUCA’s agenda forward. Attendees met with well over 100 members of Congress, and the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), which will free up significant money for water infrastructure, continued to work its way toward the House floor while we were in D.C. Both chambers of Congress would like to pass a WRDA bill before the end of the year — maybe even before the July recess.

I can’t stress enough my belief that NUCA’s Washington Summit is the association’s most important and powerful membership benefit. NUCA’s advocacy efforts open doors for the members to meet and build relationships with the federal legislators who set public policy that directly affects our companies. Many of us have built strong relationships, which, in the end, makes it more likely our lawmakers will take our calls or put us on their busy calendars. This is what effective grassroots lobbying is all about and the single most effective way to influence federal decision making. It is not difficult, but you have to show up for the first date to get to home plate.

Working to Meet Member Needs

Prior to the Summit, NUCA’s Board held a strategic planning meeting. We talked a lot about the results of a recent member survey, which indicated that the lack of a qualified workforce is the biggest challenge facing contractors. So, we will soon reinvigorate NUCA’s heralded Institute for Leadership Development and Crew Leader Programs with an emphasis on management-level training for the newest generation of workers. We will also roll out more online education.

NUCA is also looking into partnering with other construction organizations to develop a utility and excavation construction curriculum that could be adopted by high school trade schools or community colleges — an affordable way for students to gain the skills we need and give them a leg up landing good jobs with our members.

Changing the image of working in construction will be an important part of this effort. Unfortunately, stereotypes are tough to change. High school kids outside the industry only know what they see on a jobsite, not who is running the company in the front office or behind the scenes on the jobsite. Few understand the earning potential — a big incentive to smart kids who don’t have the 3.8 GPA or the financial resources to get into competitive, expensive colleges.

Accomplishing these goals will require partnering with other organizations and using significant association resources. The board believes this is a critical need for our membership, and therefore, important enough to pursue. We are in the very early stages of this effort and will keep you posted.

Lastly, NUCA is now offering members a value-added Fuel Management Program. This program offers multiple fuel card options, more than 180,000 fueling locations and a discounted pricing standard for all enrolled NUCA members. The program’s management offerings include customizable cards with limits and restrictions, a single fuel program/invoice for all fuel purchases through cardlock or retail stations and online account management for reporting and card management. On-site mobile fuel delivery is also available. There are no transaction, card or maintenance fees. This is a great member benefit, folks. Visit www.nuca.com to find out more.

Hope you are all having a productive, safe and enjoyable summer.

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Jeff Rumer, NUCA Chairman of the Board

Underground Infrastructure Technologies

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