It was just a year ago that my office and my state were all a-buzz about my becoming the PHCC—National Association president. It was exciting so many wanted to know about my qualifications and what my aspirations were for this great association.
I have had so many dreams for this association and what it could become over the many years of my participation, and I am really excited to let you know many of them are coming true.
I expected to be doing a lot of travel during this year but had no idea about how rewarding it would be. I connected with many members I would not normally have been in contact with. I was thrilled with how excited they were to meet the PHCC president, and I was equally excited to meet them.
My main message to them was this concept of “national.” So many members have this illusive thought about “national,” what we do “up there,” and how we operate.
I communicated to our members that “national” is merely a repository of information specifically designed, by the staff, to help contractors (our members) at the state and local levels be better business persons and have more successful businesses. That is what “national” is. To that end, the programs being designed are only what the contractors — our members — want and need. I think members are beginning to understand what “national” is and does.
The five-year plan
Another message I want members to understand is that we operate within a strategic plan and fund with what membership and sponsorship dollars we have. This strategic plan is a five-year plan that is constantly being revised as goals are achieved.
What is important about this is it means that, while I am extremely sad about leaving my position as president, the programs started under this strategic plan will continue to be implemented by those who will follow.
We have been a cooperative executive committee, and we all understand what has been accomplished and what the next steps are in meeting our goals, all while keeping our members in mind.
Advocating for the industry
What has happened this year? We have been a major influence on legislators regarding the workforce development issue. We visited Capitol Hill earlier this year and reinforced the importance of the Carl D. Perkins Act and its funding of the apprenticeship programs for our trades. Subsequently, this was re-authorized by both the U.S. House and the Senate with funding provisions for the next five years, and now they are looking at what those funding levels will be. It is a major victory for the industry.
While we have always had educational programs, we set up an Education Department on the PHCC association side that complements the programming already done on the PHCC foundation side. Now we have the ability to offer our members the full gamut of education — from pre-apprentice to apprentice to journeyman, businessmen, and, finally, retirement. This is such a benefit for our members; it’s one-stop shopping, so to speak.
We have also voiced our concern for the workforce issues in this country, and we are being heard. The president and his staff now talk about “infrastructure issues” as not just roads and bridges, but also the water and sewage systems of this country, which leads to a conversation about where to get the people to do this work. This leads to conversations about getting the trades back in high schools — something overdue.
And, there are many states that have started their own programs that will entice our young people to pick the trades as their chosen profession. We have a long way to go, but at least it is being discussed.
I am so proud to have been a part of these “revolutions” and I know that the future presidents will keep this train moving in the right direction, and we will “get ‘er done.”
Thanks for allowing me to be a part of this. I will miss it, but I am not going away — I just have other ways to help this association accomplish its goals.
Author bio: Laurie Crigler is vice president of L&D Associates in Aroda, Virginia, and 2017-2018 PHCC - National Association president. Visit www.phccweb.org for more information.