While I find myself surprised by how quickly this summer went by, it’s no secret fall has arrived. For the next few months many of us will be focused on closing out projects for the year. Before we know it, winter will be here, delivering the holiday season and all that it entails. Winter also means that NUCA’s 2020 Convention and Exhibit in Tucson, Arizona, on February 27-29, 2020, will be right around the corner.
As I mentioned in previous columns, we have two very important NUCA events between now and the Convention. First up is the Safety Directors Forum (SDF) in Nashville, Tennessee, on November 6-7. The SDF covers some of the most critical issues our safety managers face every day, as well as regulations on the horizon, professional development, and best practices – all in an open forum setting. OSHA fines can cost our companies big money and an inspector isn’t going to care if a manager was uninformed. As far as I see it, investing in our safety programs and personnel pays for itself twofold in avoiding potential fines, but more importantly, it’s our duty to keep our people safe. If you have yet to do so, register your company’s safety professional today.
Personally, I’m very excited about the Utility Construction Career Fair happening at the Dulles Expo Center in Chantilly, Virginia, on November 15 – and not just because it’s close to home. We’ve all had the same conversations: we need people. Because this is a vitally important issue for the industry to solve, we added Workforce Development to NUCA’s Strategic Plan. Many of our advocacy efforts have focused on and will continue to reinforce to this need. If your company does work in the mid-Atlantic region, please make it a priority to exhibit your opportunities and attend.
I look forward to seeing our Chapter Executive Directors from around the country taking part in the Career Fair. They have an exciting opportunity to bring their experiences home with them and to replicate their takeaways locally. In doing so, they can make a significant impact for their members, which in turn serves NUCA’s Strategic Plan. I think we can all agree that this would be a win for member companies nationwide.
Before you pull that old calendar off the wall, take time to reflect on 2019 and what it meant for you, your company, and our industry. I know many of you have completed some outstanding jobs since November of 2018. Remarkable work deserves recognition. I hope you consider submitting your best projects to the association’s prestigious 2019 Top Jobs Awards. I enjoy taking the time at each convention to walk through the displays and read about some really impressive work – often completed in the face of incredibly challenging conditions. I know I’m not alone. Reviewing such exceptional output makes me proud of our industry. I look forward to seeing the best of the best at Convention in February.
As planning continues for exciting educational and networking content, a big part of the convention is acknowledging our colleagues who have really gone above and beyond for the association and the industry. NUCA is now accepting submissions for its annual awards, including the Awards of Excellence, Safety Awards, Chapter Merit Awards, and the Community Service Award. Take the time and brag about your peers. Head over to nuca.com/awards to learn more.
And what would one of my messages be without touching on the current situation on Capitol Hill? The August Congressional recess just ended, the 2020 election cycle is not yet in full swing, and Congress has been predictably quiet. That said, insiders on the Hill are indicating that we can expect movement of some kind next year on reauthorizations for the 2015 Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act (which is set to expire in September of 2020) and WRDA (also set to expire in 2020). It’s all well and good that our elected officials are touting the “largest highway reauthorization legislation in history,” but as of today the reality of these bills and real, tangible results remain to be seen. It may be a good idea to reach out to our Representatives and Senators and remind them that this industry is paying attention, particularly heading into an election year.
Dan Buckley, NUCA Chairman of the Board/Garney Construction