DCA Members "Cautiously Optimistic" About 2009 Market

Association Holds 48th Annual Convention Feb 22-27
By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | February 2009 Vol. 64 No.2
The 48th annual Distribution Contractors' Association Convention is going on now in Maui, HI.
  • Membership and marketing – 10 percent increased membership in both contractor and associate member categories;
  • Labor – Organized labor agreements are in place, and for signatory contractor members, the DCA web site added increased content on wages and benefits to aid members in preparing bids;
  • Horizontal Directional Drilling – Continued to demonstrate the leadership in this specialized field with presentations on emerging technology and regulatory challenges;
  • Safety and risk management – Improved the format of the association safety award and safety congress;
  • Technical – Provided topics for meetings that gave attendees timely information not available at any other venue;
  • Scholarship – Funding for the DCA Dale R. Michels Scholarship was increased, and the Lyons' Family Foundation Grants have provided increased assistance to member companies' employees in need of one time emergency funds;
  • Executive/Finance – Strengthened the financial base with initiatives for funding; and
  • Recognition – Facilitated the selection of key industry contributors for their achievements.

Gaining workers

In 2008, there was a shortage of skilled craftsmen and experienced foremen. During 2009, Deusenbery said a key issue will continue to be communicating the opportunities offered by careers in construction in order to encourage young workers to take advantage of these opportunities and the benefits they offer. The current labor situation may provide this opening.

"We will continue to work with other associations and organizations to spread the message about the need to attract new employees and retain skilled construction workers, and to address safety and environmental issues," Deusenbery said.

The declining number of housing starts has a negative effect on the economy and is a major concern that must be monitored, he added. Credit market disruption, financial market unrest and uncertain of a new administration contribute to the apprehension of 2009. However, Deusenbery expressed hope that home mortgage rates will remain low and help encourage demand for new home construction. A positive note going into the new year is continued demand for natural gas.

"The majority of our member contractors, Deusenbery said, "remain cautiously optimistic about the future, given their past performance."