DCA Looks To New Leadership, Better Economy

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | February 2010 Vol. 65 No. 2

During 2009, members of the Distribution Contractors Association (DCA) dealt with the effects of a continuing economic recession as well as making a transition in leadership with the retirement of longtime Executive Vice President Dennis Kennedy and hiring as his replacement Robert (Rob) Darden (a special report on the transition was published in the January issue of Underground Construction magazine).

"The economy and leadership change clearly stand out as the most significant challenges for DCA members during the past year," said Shepard Poole, 2009 DCA president.

"The recession has affected both our contractor and associate members," said Poole. "Work was down for about six months of the year. While problems caused by the economic conditions certainly are not over, by year's end, the pain had lessened."

Poole said the economic situation has made it necessary for most members to review their business plans to evaluate operational efficiencies and how to sustain business when opportunities for growth are restricted.

"One of the greatest benefits of DCA membership is the opportunity for networking," Poole continued. “During this time, members exchanged helpful information and ideas for getting through the current down cycle."

While dealing with the recession and continuing regular association business, members and staff also were faced with replacing an executive vice president who had served the organization for 20 years, finding and hiring a qualified replacement, and initiating the transition.

"Rob Darden is well qualified for the position," said Poole. "He has valuable association management experience, his previous position with QuEST Forum brought exposure to the telecommunications industry, and his time with the Young Presidents' Organization required good people skills that will benefit DCA."

Darden joined the DCA in July, and assumed many responsibilities while his predecessor Dennis Kennedy was still with the association. Darden officially assumed his new duties on Jan. 1, 2010.

Maintaining momentum
Looking ahead, Poole said the economy and how it impacts utility markets will be a primary concern of the DCA and its members.

"We need to maintain active membership and participation of members in association business," he said. "The transition from Dennis to Rob has gone smoothly, but a new executive vice president will have his way of doing things as he builds on past accomplishments and takes the DCA forward."