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.

Safety – Now in its 18th year, DCA’s Annual Safety Congress is becoming a “must-attend” event for safety professionals each year. The two-day event attracts safety professionals from across the country and industry to discuss different challenges and problems utility contractors face with projects, from creative training ideas to managing a safety culture within their company. The congress culminates with the presentation of the Safety Director of the Year award. Since 2009, attendance at the event has grown by 70 percent. Recognizing that the only statistical information currently available for the pipeline construction industry is the data provided annually by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the DCA Safety and Risk Management committee and member safety directors developed the “Safety Benchmarking Survey.” The survey helps member contractors measure their safety program with other members. The first benchmarking survey began in 2010 and has seen increased level of participation since. Additionally, DCA annually presents the Arthur T. Everham Safety Award for exemplary safety records and practices.

Outreach – Last year DCA created the Outreach Committee with the specific charter of improving and expanding DCA’s efforts to give back to individuals and the industry through educational scholarships, humanitarian grants and industry trusts and funds. Three years ago DCA added a new scholarship program in honor of long time member Curtis Allen aimed at students entering trade and vocational schools with a focus on the underground pipeline industry. This new scholarship was in addition to the Dale R. Michels Scholarship which has always focused on students entering colleges and universities, and the James R. Upton Scholarship. With the need for more qualified and talented employees in the industry, in 2014 DCA will be dramatically increasing the amount of scholarships awarded. It is also renewing the focus on grants for those experiencing hardships and difficult financial times. The Lyons Grant was developed several years ago in the spirit of community and volunteerism. Bob Lyon’s life’s work was in promoting “giving back”. He wanted to provide support to those involved in truly giving back, by providing seed money to help something small grow and prosper in conjunction with the volunteer efforts.