Sweeping Changes Benefit DCA Members

The Last Word
By Robert G. Darden, CAE, CMP, Executive Vice President, DCA | May 2013, Vol. 68 No. 5
Rob Darden.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The ‘Last Word’ is an occasional column featuring comments from various industry personnel.

Even as our nation continues to struggle with a stagnant economy, our industry and our association is strong and getting stronger. The members I have talked to say they have more work than they can handle as utilities contract to rehab and replace miles of aging infrastructure. The abundant and newly discovered natural gas resources are also providing our members with great opportunities for long term contracts, new equipment purchases and leases, and job creation. This is evident in our annual equipment survey which shows our contractors buying or leasing over $720 million in equipment in 2012, an increase of $150 million over 2011. Reported man hours are up 15 percent over last year.

This makes membership in the Distribution Contractors Association (DCA) all the more valuable. Many associations suffer membership declines in times of economic stress. Membership dues tend to be early casualties in the move to contain costs. Since 2009, DCA membership has grown by 35 percent. We’ve added a net 16 contractors and 36 associates, with over two-thirds of that growth in the past 15 months. Additionally, nearly one-quarter of the people who attended our annual convention in Miami this March had never been to a DCA convention before.

The DCA has made significant strides in benefiting its members and the industry in the past three years. Dramatic changes have occurred in many areas of the association, especially in the areas of membership, government relations, education, safety, outreach and marketing itself within the gas distribution and horizontal directional drilling (HDD) industries.

Membership – Currently, the association has 68 regular member contractors and 127 associate members. The growth is largely due to reinvigorating the committee structure and activities. Three years ago DCA developed charters, objectives and goals for each committee and members of the committees became more actively involved to reach those goals. These committees include HDD, Safety and Risk Management, Membership, Education, Government Relations and Outreach. This renewed spirit has translated into a 20 percent rise in attendance at DCA events.