NRMCA Details Significant Developments from Annual Convention
NRMCA’s recently concluded annual convention in Las Vegas resulted in significant developments for its members and the industry at large, many of which are COVID-19 related. Department heads have held multiple discussions with their respective committees on how best to navigate these uncertain weeks and months to come. The following is a summary from various departments:
SEO - The Safety, Environmental and Operations (SEO) Committee met to highlight the concerns surrounding developments with the coronavirus and its impacts to employers and employees as well as held discussions on NRMCA’s new industry-wide safety program and its different elements.
Members relayed that many were still working out their response to their employees and workplace policies to address the growing concern of spreading COVID-19. Many stated that they have instituted new social distancing, cleanliness and hygiene policies. As of the meeting time, however none of the attending members had started telecommuting practices, which were slated for the following weeks. NRMCA noted that it was committed to providing whatever assistance it could provide to its members, including sharing what NRMCA has already communicated to its employees. NRMCA made very clear that it was imperative that all personnel not only adhere to the facts of the situation, but also guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and not rely on media hyperbole. To this end, NRMCA communicated that following the meeting, resources would be sent to committee members to help inform them about COVID-19 and to help them formulate their own company policies and communications moving forward. Since the meeting NRMCA has communicated numerous resources to the committee members and will continue to provide any necessary guidance.
Committee members also communicated their liking of the latest addition to NRMCA’s new industry-wide safety program, the Monthly Safety Initiative which began in January. Each issue is covered at a high level via a one-page document meant to help quickly facilitate communication of information and training on topics relevant to the industry. Since January, topics have included Slips, Trips and Falls, Mixer Truck Rollover Prevention and Silica Compliance with many more to come. The initiatives are meant to be shared, used as a training tool, printed, posted and/or distributed; each of which is encouraged.
The committee then discussed the numerous upcoming SEO recognition programs and their submission due dates:
- Safety Benchmarking/Contest - April 24
- Fleet Benchmarking - April 24
- Annual Safety Award - June 26
- Environmental Awards - July 24
- National Mixer Driver Championship
- Joseph E. Carpenter Award
- Driver of the Year
Membership - At the board meeting Membership Committee Chairman Ric Suzio unveiled the new NRMCA Member Benefits Video. Membership Committee members will work with staff, state affiliates and the membership as a whole to leverage the video and other collateral material to engage directly with prospect companies in an effort to expand the current NRMCA member rolls in 2020. Staff is also working to expand the current Member to Member (M2M) program to feature available discounts for NRMCA members. A more robust affinity program will also allow the association to increase its non-dues revenue.
For more information, contact Gregg Lewis at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Engineering - As with the rest of NRMCA, the engineering division staff is working remotely, responding to requests and support on technical information via voice mail or e-mail. Some phones are re-directed to mobile phones.
There are several ongoing activities in the engineering division’s workplan that continue while working remotely. These include publication development, course content review and updates, activity with standards committee (the cancelled ACI convention next week will be replaced by online meetings and resolution of proposed documents).
Some courses offered through the Engineering Division in April and May have been postponed and new dates will be set as the situation changes. These include the course on specifications and strength testing, improving concrete quality and concrete durability.
Plant certification requests are being processed and disseminated in as timely a manner as possible. Contact NRMCA via e-mail at email@example.com or through individual e-mail addresses. Voice mail messages and phone calls will be redirected accordingly. Staff is evaluating a concept of extending certification if inspections are not feasible.
The laboratory is on a reduced work scheduled. Laboratory staff are periodically at the lab, with appropriate precautions, to continue data collection and report generation for contract work and funded research. New projects are on hold for the near term. Lab staff can be contacted via phone or e-mail.
Engineering division will consider developing online learning alternatives or shorter modules for industry interest.
For more information, contact Colin Lobo at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Workforce Development - On March 7 the Workforce Development Committee’s first action of business was full acknowledgement concerned the impact the coronavirus pandemic on producers, their employees and families. There was strong group consensus that that the coronavirus dramatically impacts producers’ business, their customers’ business and suppliers’ business. Specifically, the industry relies on people to execute the work in a facility; most of the work cannot be done remotely. How a producer communicates with a workforce about its health as well as the economic impact of the coronavirus, especially to hourly workers, will be critical. Producers must develop a business plan as well as a communication plan. That includes:
- Communicating preventative measures, including washing hands, clean-up/hygiene practices
- Plan for employees to communicate to their employer if they are ill
- Company plan to communicate to rest of employees when a co-worker falls ill
- Routine to close and scrub a plant as well as move business to another plant.
- Strategy to close parts or all of a business
- Communication system from customers to producers if their employees are sick.
The best way to keep ahead of rapidly evolving information is to go to direct sources. While everyone’s business has different needs, producers must think about what to say/not say, the impact on family medical leave and speech/privacy protection/ground rules to be legally compliant.
The meeting also shared important employee-centric milestones. NRMCA 2019 class attendance increased 28%. The most popular class, Plant Manager Certification, continues its goal to hold the class in all 50 states as reached its 29th state and 2,000th attendee. The new 2020 workshop is the financially oriented “Think Like an Owner.” The new, free Plant Safety video is available for download on NRMCA’s home page. Finally, the Developing Industry Leaders alumni are 200-members strong and planning new networking opportunities.
Looking toward the future, the two-year old committee recognized its structure needs to evolve to an important second phase as it develops permanent working task groups. While a May 11-12 meeting in Chicago is planned, notifications will go out to members if it moves to an online meeting format.
For more information, contact Eileen Dickson at email@example.com.
Local Paving - During the convention, the local paving team announced that in 2019, the team pursued nearly 400 paving projects and recorded over 150 projects where a ready mixed product was selected for use. These pursuits resulted in over 1.5 million cubic yards being used on these projects. In addition, the paving team provided nearly 180 design proposals for projects in 2019. It was also announced that since 2013, the local paving program, through PaveAhead, has had a financial impact to the concrete industry of approximately $700 million just through its project pursuit efforts. Nearly 50 percent of the projects pursued last year came from member or state affiliate referrals and over 10 percent came from contractor referrals. To reach the goals set for 2020, referrals from NRMCA members and state affiliates will be crucial, so the local paving team encourages all members to be engaged and assist the local paving team with locating projects in your market areas.
Additionally, the local paving team and its allies have given out well over 500 copies of the Guide to Concrete Trails funded by the Ready Mixed Concrete Research & Education Foundation (RMC-REF) and developed by the National Concrete Pavement Technology Center. The guide may be downloaded from the RMC-REF website under the Concrete Applications Page. We are very grateful to the RMC Foundation for funding the development of the guide and we believe that this will be a growth market for the ready mixed concrete industry and the local paving staff looks forward to working with our members and allies to find opportunities.
For more information, contact Brian Killingsworth at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Government Affairs - For just the second time, NRMCA’s Government Affairs team joined the government affairs teams of the Portland Cement Association and the National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association to provide a joint political and legislative update on the issues facing our industry. We were pleased to welcome Rep. Tom Reed (R-NY) to discuss what is going on in Washington and talk about some of our industry’s top priorities – infrastructure and resilient construction. Rep. Reed, one of the primary sponsors of NRMCA’s Disaster Savings and Resilient Construction Act, talked at length about the opportunities for bipartisan work on common sense legislation like this and a big infrastructure bill.After Rep. Reed’s presentation, Sean O’Neill from PCA, Michele Stanley from NSSGA and Andrew Tyrrell from NRMCA presented a political and legislative update. The discussed the political climate in Washington and the outlook for fall elections, as well as how the political climate impacts the opportunities for infrastructure.
In addition, industry’s advocacy and engagement on both climate issues and competition with wood and plastics were discussed. There is strong interest in the House of Representatives in legislation that curbs emissions and any policies will have a significant impact on the cement and concrete industry. Similarly, there are several federal programs that support wood over other construction materials. Both of these issues require a strong and unified response.
Since then, the spread of COVID-19 and the social distancing practices adopted across the nation have had a significant impact not only on the ability of advocates to go to the Hill, but also the ability of Congress to conduct its business as much of it requires to be present. NRMCA, NSSGA and PCA continue to adapt their practices but remain committed to the industry’s legislative priorities.
CONRETEPAC hosted its annual fundraising dinner, located at the Mob Museum in old town Las Vegas. The event was a great success, raising nearly $130,000 for CONCRETEPAC to support pro-business, pro-ready mixed concrete candidates and incumbents for Congress.
For more information, contact Andrew Tyrrell at email@example.com.