2022 NUCA Chairman: Ryan Kinning

Ryan Kinning

For Ryan Kinning, now is the perfect time to be leading NUCA. And Kinning, vice president and co-owner of Pender, Nebraska-based Penro Construction, knows a thing or two about NUCA. Penro has been a NUCA member since 1981, with Kinning attending his first NUCA Convention as a fourth-grader. Kinning started to become active as a professional within the NUCA organization beginning in 2009 when he played a key role in the formation of the NUCA of Nebraska chapter.

Based on his experience at the Nebraska Chapter, where he served as the chapter’s second president, Kinning became involved in the NUCA National leadership group starting in 2015 as a member of the Board of Directors, followed by a role on the Executive Council since 2019. The ascension culminated with his induction as NUCA Chairman March 5, 2022, at the association’s Annual Meeting in San Antonio, Texas.

“This is a great honor and I intend to make the most of it for the members and our industry,” Kinning said during his speech at the Annual Meeting. “When I first went to the NUCA Convention as a fourth-grader it seemed like every contractor on the planet was there, and I want to see us get back to that. I want to focus on growth during my term as chairman because I know what this organization can be.

“And this is great time to be leading NUCA: There is an energy that we haven’t seen in a long time, we are experiencing growth that we haven’t seen in decades, and the association is on solid footing because of the work of the leadership that has come before me. We are well positioned to continue the upward momentum.”

As an example of effective leadership, Kinning cited the 90 percent member retention and 10 percent overall growth achieved over the last 12 months.

Ryan Kinning NUCA Chariman

Kinning accepting the Silver Shovel from Past Chairman Lauren Atwell.

Growth Minded

For his term, Kinning says he is focused on continued efforts toward growing the membership, which seems natural considering his background within NUCA’s leadership. After helping establish the Nebraska chapter, Kinning became Chairman of NUCA’s Chapter Formation Subcommittee in 2015 and was involved in the formation of 10 chapters nationwide. In 2016, he helped form what is now known as NUCA Advantage, a substantial member benefits program that serves as a marketplace for industry services to members and a non-dues revenue source for NUCA and its chapters.

Kinning’s vision for growing the membership involves three key areas:

  • Membership engagement
  • Membership retention, and
  • Membership recruitment

Membership engagement, he says, is the No. 1 priority. Membership engagement includes promoting NUCA programs that provide tangible benefits to members. These include NUCA Advantage insurance programs, NUCA Advantage portal, NUCA WINS, Damage Prevention and Claims Avoidance Program, Train the Trainer, Crew Leader Trainer and a host of discount programs.

“With these programs we can make the case that you get a return on your investment by being a NUCA member, to the point where it is a poor business decision not to be a member,” Kinning said. “At that point retention becomes easier, and recruitment efforts are more effective. By focusing on engagement, retention, THEN recruiting we can sustain the growth and we should continue to grow in the future.”

Ryan Kinning on a jobsite

Kinning on a Penro Construction jobsite.

On the recruiting side, plans are in place to bring in new members. For example, NUCA is investing in a series of educational sessions and webinars with an association recruiting expert to teach members how to sell the value of the association and chapter. And, new recruiting materials are being produced as a resource for chapters and their members. The first-ever NUCA Signing Day is planned for May 2022, and NUCA will host a fall membership drive with recruiters in each state. The association plans to continue building its chapter base by establishing new chapters and welcoming back former chapters.

NUCA’s strategic plans over the past decade or so have laid the foundation for the successful path that the association is today, Kinnings says. He points to recent examples as the development of the chapter formation program, which eventually brought him back to NUCA as a NUCA of Nebraska member and added chapters across the country, as well as NUCA National’s role in providing resources and benefits to support chapters and their members at the local level.

Serving in various leadership roles at the chapter and national level has helped shape his personal development, as well as given him the opportunity to learn from his peers in companies large and small. But, Kinning says, what is most rewarding is the chance to give back to an industry that has given so much to him. “It’s payback for everything that NUCA has done for us over the 40-plus years we’ve been members,” he said.

In recognition of his service to the association, Kinning was honored with the prestigious Ditchdigger of the Year Award, which was presented to him by fellow NUCA of Nebraska member and former NUCA Chairwoman Kara Habrock at the NUCA Convention in 2018.

Ryan Kinning Ditchdigger of the Year 2017

Kinning accepting the Ditchdigger of the Year Award from Kara Habrock in 2018.

“You don’t have to be from a $100 million company to make a difference,” Kinning said at the time. “By getting involved in committees and local chapters, you can make a difference in the industry. And you can make a difference right away. I encourage everyone to pick a committee that they are interested in and participate.”

Kinning is a second-generation contractor whose father, Arlis (Bud) Kinning Jr., was a founding partner in Penro Construction in 1971. Kinning started working for the company at a young age and in 2000, he and his brother, Mark, bought the company.

Ryan Kinning and family

Ryan with his children, Max and Corinne, and his wife, Holly.

Looking ahead, Kinning sees opportunity for construction companies that can navigate a changing landscape. “There needs to be a shift in thinking from getting the work and the people will be there to build it,” he said. “Now, we need to get the people first. We need to focus on workforce development. The companies that have the best systems in place for recruiting employees will have the most success over the next several years.”

Also elected to the leadership team at the March 5 NUCA Annual Meeting was Tom Butler of Tampa, Florida, as Vice-Chairman. Tony Privitera of Kansas City, Missouri, was re-elected as Treasurer, and Matt Mingus of Nashville, Tennessee, as Secretary. Lauren Atwell, the former chairman, now becomes Immediate Past Chairman.

Kinning’s term as Chairman of the Board will end at the next NUCA Annual Meeting, scheduled for March 2023 in Las Vegas, Nevada. After his term is completed, Kinning will then become the association’s Immediate Past Chairman, and continue to serve on the Board of Directors.

NUCA Chairs
1966- Peter Ellis1994- Ted Bragger
1967- Tom Marinelli1995- “Spunky” Thaxton
1968- Tom Marinelli1996- Johnny Hall
1969- Joe D’Annunzio1997- Walter Gainer
1970- Harold Schneider Jr.1998- Lino DeAlmeida
1971- Harry Peyton1999- Andy Mayts
1972- Anthony Shuttle2000- Angelo Di Paolo
1973- Fred Compagni2001- Jeff Weitzel
1974- John Leach2002- Thomas Henkels
1975- Peter Inzero2003- Mark Accetturo
1976- Bill Lee2004- William Bowman
1977- Ed Cruz2005- Cheryl Yoder
1978- Ken Goodwin2006- Jim Stutler
1979- Dave Shevock2007- James King
1980- Paul Carson Jr.2008- Terry Dillon
1981- Gorman Pinkston2009- Lyle Schellenberg
1982- Dan Carapellucci2010- Dan East
1983- Bill Burgett2011-2012- Ryan Schmitt
1984- Leon Asadoorian2013- Florentino Gregorio
1985- Loretta Simmons2014- Ron Nunes
1986- Gerry Kenny2015- Bruce Wendorf
1987- Vic D’Geronimo2016- Jeff Rumer
1988- Rick Egge2017- Kara Habrock
1989- Jay Matricciani2018-Mark Fuglevand
1990- Mike Ellis2019-Dan Buckley
1991- Ron Pacella2020-Fred Chesney
1992- Delaine Nelson2021-Lauren Atwell
1993- Gerry Dorfman2022-Ryan Kinning
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