CONNstruction - Spring 2009 - (Page 17)

newsandviews Your Industry Association Membership – Now More Than Ever By John W. Butts An article recently appeared in The Washington Post about the recession leading to a significant dropoff in trade association memberships caused, in part, to the perception that association dues are somehow considered outside the realm of necessary costs. In such times, the natural, but understandable, impulse is to hunker down and view all corporate budget items, including association memberships, with a critical eye. However, AGC and CCIA members would do well not to look at their memberships as just another cost to be sloughed off as a way to save money; instead, they should view it as a critical tool to survive and thrive in tough economic times. When members are surveyed about what services and benefits they find the most valuable, time after time, legislative advocacy comes out on top. Members understand that what government does to, and for, their businesses can make or break them, and so they turn to their industry associations to influence and shape laws and policy on their behalf. And perhaps there is no better example of that than AGC and CCIA working hard in Washington and Hartford to promote and influence the economic stimulus package. In these days when economic stimulus seems so politically popular, it’s easy to take for granted that infrastructure investment happens all by itself, with or without industry associations. But, make no mistake: public officials rely heavily on AGC and CCIA for credible and trustworthy information on how and where the funding should be invested, and how it can have the most impact. Assistant Executive Director Associated General Contractors of Connecticut In downtimes, industry associations are valuable sources of timely information, whether it’s about legislation or the latest industry trend. Chances are if you’re reading this column, you’re already aware of this. But take extra time these days to read all those emails from AGC and CCIA that show up in your inbox and the trade magazines from your industry associations that cross your desk. Let’s face it, construction is a business based on relationships. Developing a good, reliable set of connections between fellow contractors, suppliers, insurance and bonding professionals, and owners is imperative even in the best of times, and especially now. There is no better way to cultivate those relationships than by participating and being active in AGC and CCIA meetings and events. It is through these affiliations that you can make the necessary professional connections, network with fellow contractors, and simply keep your hand on the pulse of what’s going on in your industry. Smart contractors will resist the temptation to slash training budgets in economic downturns; indeed, this is exactly the time to maintain training as a way to keep motivation and morale high. A recent survey by training provider Beyond the Box indicated that three out of four companies are not cutting their training budgets despite the economic downturn, which is a good sign. It is encouraging to see that companies recognize the need in the current climate to build on their competitive advantage by investing in people. Members should take advantage of this year’s AGC and CCIA training offerings, from the Supervisory Training Program and Project Management Development Program to CCIA’s safety training seminars. And finally, your association membership can provide valuable cost-cutting deals through discount programs on specific services. AGC of Connecticut recently signed on to a discount program that will allow its members to save up to 22 percent off Verizon Wireless lines, while AGC of America has announced a 27 percent discount to members on select FedEx shipping services. Don’t be surprised if the amount you save more than pays for your membership dues. In short, contractors will need to be more proactive and informed in order to lead their companies through difficult times. Memberships in trade associations, such as AGC and CCIA, should not be looked upon luxuries but as necessities. CONNstruction / Spring 2009 / 17

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of CONNstruction - Spring 2009

CONNstruction - Spring 2009
The Proving Year
AGC’s Building Division – Where the Value Shines Through
A List Worth Checking
In Defense of “Special Interests”
The Vexatious Litigant
Your Industry Association Membership - Now More Than Ever
Executive Summary
CCIA’s Executive Committee and Officers for 2009
CCIA Board of Directors 2009
Association Activities
Education and Training
Legislative-Lobbying and Government Relations
Labor Relations
CCIA Division Officers
CCIA Staff
Plenty of Parking
Building a Foundation
Connecticut Roadbuilders Fall Meeting
UCAC Annual Scholarship Auction
2008 CCIA’s Annual Membership Meeting and Reception
Diggers/Mixers/Fixers Golf Outing
AGC/CT Industry Recognition Awards Dinner
Index to Advertisers

CONNstruction - Spring 2009