The National Demolition Association (NDA) in the US is increasing its Federal lobbying activities with the creation of a new Government Affairs committee.
The committee will monitor legislation and regulations coming out of Washington DC and lobby for the interests of the demolition sector.
Peter Banks, NDA’s president, speaking to D&Ri at the organisation’s January board meeting in Aruba, said; “We now have a government affairs director in Washington DC - a lobbyist - and we have a task force to create a political agenda.
“The new committee will allow us to be part of the decision making process, to be proactive rather than reactive to new regulations.”
Mr Banks gave the example of OSHA’s new Crystalline Silica Rule – which could be in force by February – which he said would have a negative impact on companies engaged in concrete cutting and crushing; “Controlling silica dust and slurry will add a lot of cost. Yet silicosis is declining, and has trended down for the last 30 years, so there is really no need for this regulation.”
A request for volunteer members to join the new committee was made during the meeting in Aruba.
Another key challenge for the association, said Mr Banks, was education, and in particular plugging the skills gap that exists in the industry. “Promoting vocational training is a big deal, and telling people that there are viable trades available in our industry.”
Scholarships are one aspect of the NDA’s education programme. During the board meeting it was announced that there will include a new scholarship in memory of John Adamo Jr, the NDA and demolition industry stalwart who passed away in December following an industrial accident. The Adamo family is to fund the award this year and NDA hopes to continue the scholarship into the future.
The NDA has undergone some significant changes over the past 18 months, with the retirement of long-time executive director Michael Taylor just over a year ago and the appointment of Cheryl Caulfield as new executive director.
Mr Banks said one of the targets for the organisation this year was to increase its membership by 100 companies; “The NDA is now driven by its members. We are re-engaging with existing members and old members are coming back.” The Aruba meeting on 8-9 January was attended by more than 70 members and spouses.
In the short term the association is focused on promoting its annual convention, taking place in Orlando Florida on March 14-17. The event includes an exhibition - with more than 70 vendors already confirmed – plus an extensive education programme.
Later this year the association will support the World Demolition Summit, which moves to the US for the first time, taking place in Miami on 14 October. The NDA is the lead association partner for the Summit this year and will hold its Fall board meeting the day after the event. (EDA remains a supporting association for the event and will revert to being the main partner when the Summit returns to Europe in 2017.)
Mr Banks told D&Ri that he hoped US demolition contractors and suppliers would enter the awards; “It will be great to see NDA members taking part in the awards, showing their passion and displaying what they have done.
“It’s an innovative industry. I’ve seen some of the presentations at previous Summits and they blew me away. The Brits love awards, and why not? I think it’s a great marketing tool. [Getting our members to participate] will be one of the targets this year in the US.”