Built on the strength of more than 1,400 members from 46 nations around the world, SC&RA’s operational productivity within a specialized industry space can often be traced back to one of its most significant attributes: human capital.
The Association’s 35-member Board of Directors represents the diversity of its membership with 240 members across 23 committees actively involved and committed to such objectives as workforce development, advocacy, member engagement, technology, global leadership and the expansion of programmes and services to maximise members’ productivity and profitability.
Portland, Oregon, USA-based NessCampbell Crane + Rigging has been an SC&RA member for more than 35 years. In that time frame, like many of its SC&RA peers, the company’s representatives have gradually worked their way into volunteer roles at the Association. Between president John Anderson and marketing director Jonelle Anderson, the duo has been involved with SC&RA for around 15 years, devoting their time to six committees and the SC&R Foundation.
“We attend every single Association meeting,” said Jonelle, “making sure we represent both crane and rigging as well as transport. We also feel it’s important to support the Foundation because of the labour shortage.”
NessCampbell has come to enjoy major industry partnerships as a result of the relationships it cultivates through its SC&RA involvement, and Jonelle stressed that it goes even further, on a personal level. “We come early and stay late, for sure. We want to get as much out of our involvement as possible. As a result, we’ve developed genuine friendships with people. We go on vacations with some of them. When you have these types of connections, it further motivates everyone involved to do and be their best – which then spills into the Association overall.”
Both Jonelle and John agree that everyone joins the Association for different reasons. “After a while, you start to learn where you can plug in – peer involvement helps too,” said John. “The leadership programme is another significant benefit. And if you make the most of the meetings, you really start to see the value of the different roles you can play – the ways you can contribute. Whether it’s through participating on task forces, establishing partnerships to address industry issues, being proactive and getting topics of concern placed on agendas – even reaching out to people you know throughout the industry or getting your own people involved – the power of your membership, when maximised, benefits so many.”
Campbell Towing Service began in 1943 as a tow-truck company in Portland, Oregon. Ness Cranes began in 1942 servicing the greater Seattle area. Both companies grew separately as the premier crane provider in their own markets. In 2005 the Ness family sold Ness Cranes to Campbell Crane’s owner Tony Steelman. Steelman elected to operate both companies separately until 2008, then later combined the two into Ness and Campbell Crane and Rigging. He sold the company to its current partnership in 2016, which rebranded and made a shift in culture to NessCampbell Crane + Rigging.
“As far as customer base, we’ve never focused on any niche markets, but have always stayed diversified – providing our services to what the market has required,” John explained. “To that end, our evolution has always been built on customer service and recognising that we are successful because of the team that we have working hard for us each day. We have always been able to adapt to market needs by being innovative, working hard and, most of all, working safely.”
That said, while safety is a top priority for all crane and rigging companies, at NessCampbell, it’s more of a core value. “Our number one priority is our commitment to our employees, customers and the public,” John affirmed. “Our safety department is professionally staffed and committed to providing our employees with support, training, auditing and a progressive culture that allows every employee a voice to be part of the solution.”
One certain distinguisher for NessCampbell is its Lift-Rig-Haul-Engineer Platform, which started to come together just prior to the aforementioned rebranding exercise. “There was a more frequent need for packaged services from our customer base that we were able to offer, so we decided to begin expanding to better serve them,” John pointed out. “The progression has taken place over the last ten years but continues to be defined by the needs of the market and client requests. As far as a one-stop-shop, you probably can’t fulfill every request, but we do our best to monitor the market and strategically position ourselves to respond to what makes sense for our customers and our business.”
As the industry at large continues to find itself distinguished by certain universal challenges, NessCampbell is well aware of the role it must play. “Workforce development will continue to challenge us,” said John. “Outside of the current shortage, attracting the next generation into this industry is a major struggle and concern. The blue-collar, hands-on, get-dirty type of work is hard to promote to the younger generation as a path for their future. But NessCampbell continues to work closely with our local unions and SC&RA. Events such as Lift & Move USA continue to serve as large platforms to promote our industry. Safety and risk management is also a serious challenge. We continue to train and educate employees on the importance of being professional and able to recognise the ever-changing hazards of our daily work environment.”
In addition, he indicated, “As an industry, the crane rental, rigging and heavy transport world has always had to be self-sufficient at developing its workforce because of the specialty type of work we perform. I believe that this practice has assisted NessCampbell through this crucial time. This current upswing in work has definitely pushed us to our limits but our company leaders have risen to the task and continue to develop current and new employees to assist us in meeting the demands of the market and our customers’ expectations.”
Based on their experiences at SC&RA, both John and Jonelle see a similar type of operational efficiency – as well as the resulting benefits – out of the collective efforts put forth by the Association’s many volunteer members.
“SC&RA’s success really lies in the hands of its members,” said Jonelle. “They’re the ones on the committees and task forces; they’re contributing their time and their wisdom, shared experiences, and the resulting support. SC&RA’s leadership does a great job managing all of it and directing the various advocacy initiatives and, because of that, I’d pitch this organisation to any company of any size. A little involvement goes a long way.”
John agreed, “The leadership is there; the Association really guides member involvement, which then shapes SC&RA’s ability to work for all members. Without a doubt, it’s a lot of work, but they’re not afraid to bring in a range of members from diverse parts of the industry. Add in the content they provide, new materials and products – even the new website – and an SC&RA membership, at a point when industry companies are transitioning from one generation to the next, is all the more important.”