NTA Proves Effectiveness Of Regional Association

By Jeff Griffin, Senior Editor | September 2009 Vol. 64 No. 9
Danielle Martin, winner of the 2008 Founders Award with 2009 president Ralph Edwards (left) and previous president Bruce Hubbard

How to Get Started
The NTA is one of only two independent local associations in the trenchless utility construction industry – the other is the Ohio HDD Association. Plans have been discussed and efforts made to start organizations in other areas, but without success. What does it take to start a successful state or regional trenchless association.

"First, assemble a core group of people willing to establish a good foundation for the organization," advises Ralph Edwards, current NTA president. "Approve a mission statement and develop a plan to follow to success. Early challenges may be where to hold regular meetings and topics for each meeting. We found that once people realize that the association is about education and promoting the trenchless industry, they became very positive. Member dues pay costs of operating the association. Suppliers also may contribute many items needed for meetings."

Seek guidance early in the planning stage, suggests Danielle Martin, Henniker Directional Drilling.

"Do not reinvent the wheel," she says. "There are those of us who have done it before. Learn from our success and mistakes and reach out to the others in your area. You will be surprised at what you are missing if you do not collectively put your efforts together – not to mention the friendships that develop. If you are unclear how to share effectively without giving away your competitive edge we can tell you it is a fear not worth having. Be open and have boundaries for yourself. Everyone has the same issues and concerns. The collective think tank is very powerful and beneficial to the group as a whole. Different styles, personalities and experiences have contributed greatly to the benefit of our members."

Those considering establishing a local association must begin with a group of dedicated individuals with support from their companies and those who own them, advises Matt Timberlake, Ted Berry Co.

And be prepared to balance your "day" job with association duties, he adds.

"While we are all trying to run businesses and crews," says Timberlake, “it is often hard to allocate time between your company and the association. You will need not only the support of the company you work for, but equally as important, that of your family."