Strength in Numbers

Will BrownNearly a hundred NUCA members descended on the Nation’s Capital on May 6 for NUCA’s annual Washington Summit. For three days, NUCA members heard from poignant speakers on legislative issues that matter to the construction industry, discussed Congressional legislation and initiatives and lobbied Congress for infrastructure investment and innovation.

The Washington Summit is NUCA’s premier government relations event. Educating NUCA members as well as Congressmen and Congresswomen of the intricacies of legislation and contractor issues is invaluable to NUCA’s mission. There is no stronger action NUCA members can take to positively influence lawmakers than making visits to their Representatives and Senators.

The 2013 Washington Summit kicked off Monday, May 6, with a Safety and Damage Prevention Committee Meeting and a visit to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The NUCA contingency met with Peter Shanaghan at the EPA’s Office of Ground Water & Drinking Water to suggest and discuss the possibility of finding project cost savings through the use of Consensus Docs to standardize contract documents.

Tuesday, May 7, was a busy day of speakers, education and award recognition, topped off with a Welcome Reception. The day started with Florida attorney John Dannecker who addressed Washington Summit guests on civil and criminal risks of non-compliance with Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) rules. The second speaker, Jeff Davis, publisher of Transportation Weekly, offered a transportation and infrastructure budget analysis, including how the budget sequester will effect short-term funding, as well as his long-term spending forecasts.

Two speakers from U.S. Chamber of Commerce discussed important business issues. Glenn Spencer, Vice President of the Workforce Freedom Initiative, talked to NUCA members on the trends of organized labor in America and the priorities and initiatives that contractors can expect to see. Anne Warhola, Senior Tax Policy Counsel of Economic Policy, discussed expected action and provisions concerning tax reform of both individual and corporate tax codes. The final speaker, Bruce Lundegren with the Office of Advocacy at the Small Business Administration (SBA), discussed resources small businesses have at SBA to contest, change, and, in some cases, help repeal burdensome regulations from any government agency. All of the speakers did an excellent job informing NUCA members about important issues and member feedback was strong.

The day concluded with a Welcome Reception sponsored by NUCA of DC, which offered cocktails, heavy hor d’oeuvres and the opportunity for contractors to socialize and speak with chapter and national staff.

On Wednesday, NUCA members from approximately 20 states met with representatives of nearly 150 Congressional offices to advocate for Infrastructure Appropriations, Sustainable Funding and Regulatory relief. NUCA’s lobbying efforts were timely as the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA), the premier water infrastructure, maritime transportation and water resources legislation, was being debated and amended on the floor of the Senate. As of press time, the final WRDA bill passed the Senate and awaits House action.

Concluding the Washington Summit on Thursday, Chapter Executive Directors and Chapter Presidents met to share ideas. NUCA’s Board of Directors also met to discuss the business of the association.

The entire summit was sponsored by NUCA’s National Partners.

Will Brown is NUCA’s Government Relations Manager.