PCCA Expands Government Relations Efforts
Looking to better prepare its members for government actions that impact their businesses, the Power & Communication Contractors Association (PCCA) has expanded its government relations agenda and hired Eben Wyman, an experienced advocate on behalf of utility construction interests, to lead the effort.
PCCA aims to learn more about issues earlier in the process, seek out and work with allies on mutually important issues, and lend our expertise as the ones who build the projects and create the jobs.
PCCA finalized the Wyman hiring and charted an aggressive agenda during its Mid-Year Meeting in September in Charleston, S.C., and immediately went to work. Since that meeting, PCCA members have met in Washington, D.C., with the Rural Utilities Service (RUS), the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and NTCA - the Rural Broadband Association to discuss broadband and electric programs; held a conference call with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to discuss hours-of-service rules for utility service vehicles; and signed onto a coalition letter to the U.S. Senate that aims to end municipal exemptions from one-call membership requirements. PCCA has also reached out to the National Rural Electric Cooperative (NRECA), Broadband Opportunity Council, and Common Ground Alliance.
PCCA is also expanding its government-related communication to members, with Wyman writing a quarterly column in the PCCA Journal and reporting in person during the PCCA Construction Industry Roundtable at the Annual Convention and Mid-Year Meeting. PCCA will send regular email alerts to members with breaking news and urgent action items that require their attention.
PCCA has a long history of working with government agencies for the benefit of its members and for the nation as a whole. In fact, PCCA was founded in 1945 to provide a unified voice for the industry when working with the USDA’s Rural Electrification Administration (which later became the RUS) to bring electricity to rural America for the first time. PCCA has had a strong working relationship with the REA/RUS for 70 years, starting with the electric program, then telephone, and now broadband.
PCCA's new government relations effort will maintain the strong relationship with RUS while increasing communication that could benefit both parties and offering PCCA's assistance on issues where members' in-the-field knowledge can be useful. PCCA is also reaching out to other relevant federal agencies, legislators, trade associations, and other like-minded groups to find issues and endeavors that impact the membership.
The PCCA government relations effort arose from a 10-year planning committee that reviewed the association's structure, finances, meetings, and programs. A similar effort in 2005 identified the aging workforce in the industry and the aging membership in the association as significant challenges moving forward. From those meetings came the PCCA Young Construction Professionals Program, which has evolved into the Leadership Development Program, and the PCCA Project Manager Academy, which have all been very successful.
This time around, the committee identified government and industry outreach as a significant goal. The committee felt that while our relationship with the RUS is strong and beneficial, there are other agencies and issues that greatly impact PCCA members' businesses and that now is the time to address them.
The planning committee was impressed with Wyman's industry experience and his detailed knowledge of many of the members' most pressing issues. Wyman has worked in Washington, D.C., for 24 years, starting at the DOT's Office of Pipeline Safety, followed by 12 years as Government Relations Director for the National Utility Contractors Association. In 2012, he founded E. Wyman Associates, which represents several association clients that serve contractors, manufacturers, and distributors operating in various segments of the construction industry. His other clients include the Distribution Contractors Association, the Plastics Pipe Institute, and the Sustainable Water Infrastructure Coalition.
Since 1945 PCCA has represented the national interest of contractors working in the power and communication construction industry. PCCA represents hundreds of member companies working in the construction of electric power facilities, including transmission and distribution lines and substations, and with the construction of telephone, fiber optic, and cable television systems.