March 2021 Vol. 76 No. 3


APCA Plans for Busy 2021

Like much of the construction industry – and really like most of the world – pipeline construction sailed uncharted waters when the coronavirus blindsided the market last March. Members of the American Pipeline Contractors Association (APCA) were all set to travel to the Bahamas for their Annual Convention at the end of March, but that meeting was canceled when the resort shut down for all business. 

APCA President Mike Castle, Progressive Pipeline

But APCA did not shut down at all. The APCA Board, Government Affairs Committee, Safety Committee and staff immediately went to work planning new meetings, setting a new course and addressing a variety of new and important challenges for businesses in the pipeline industry. 

APCA is a national association of merit-shop pipeline and station contractors. It was founded in 1971 as a regional alliance to promote mutual interests and address industry concerns of its members and associates, and 50 years later it continues its quest to support its members in their efforts to secure a fair operating environment in the pipeline industry. 

Virus reaction 

As the coronavirus spread across the country, the Department of Homeland Security’s Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) provided guidance intended to help state and local officials decide which industry sectors should continue normal operations. On March 20, APCA President Mike Castle, of Progressive Pipeline, sent a letter to CISA urging them to include those who work on energy infrastructure on any and all lists of “essential” workers. 

To ensure that APCA associate members were also included in this effort, the letter stated that “as the federal government continues to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, it’s important to recognize all facets of the construction industry, including contractors, manufacturers and all service providers who play a role in the assurance of providing sound energy infrastructure.” 

These efforts proved successful, as the vast majority of energy infrastructure construction workers were included in the second version of the CISA guidance. 

In March, APCA supported the establishment of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), which allowed small businesses to pay their employees and cover many critical, non-payroll expenses through federally guaranteed loans. 

In June, as economic conditions worsened, APCA supported several effective changes to the PPP, successfully fighting, in December, for a congressional interpretation that clarified that business expenses paid for with PPP loan proceeds are, in fact, tax deductible. 

Work goes on 

Aside from COVID-19, APCA faces several challenges in 2021, especially given the Democratic control of the White House and both houses of Congress, albeit by very slim margins. 

APCA Board Members Roy Weaver, Weaver LLC, and Nick Bruno, Bi-Con Services

The association’s government affairs team is addressing the growing hostility toward pipeline infrastructure, Big Labor’s newly re-introduced Protecting the  
Right to Organize (PRO) Act, and the possibility of mandated project labor agreements on federally funded projects. To combat these efforts, APCA meets regularly with relevant Capitol Hill offices and regulatory agencies, participates in an increasing number of industry coalitions, and rallies its members in grassroots advocacy campaigns. 

APCA’s Safety Committee usually meets quarterly in Houston, but after Q1 2020, switched to virtual meetings to continue its work. Led by committee chair Miles Hester, of Progressive Pipeline, the group has been working with OSHA to update APCA’s Best Practices library. Members also discuss job-site safety issues, get an OSHA update each quarter from Jim Shelton, compliance assistance specialist in the Houston North OSHA Area Office, and hear from guest speakers on topics such as the Construction Safety Research Alliance, active shooter preparedness, how psychology and brain science impact safety, and fleet safety and DOT issues. 

After its 2020 convention in the Bahamas was canceled, the APCA Board decided to reschedule it for October at the Trump International Hotel, in Washington, D.C., but was again thwarted as the city nixed all large meetings. There is, however, some good news for members who were looking forward to visiting the fabulous Baha Mar in the Bahamas and to exploring our nation’s capital: APCA will hold its 2023 Convention at Baha Mar and its 2021 Mid-Year Meeting at the Trump International, Oct. 6-9. 

With both of its 2020 meetings canceled, the APCA Board met in Houston last October to attend to pressing business and launch the association’s new Strategic Planning Committee. Ever since, the committee has been working on three initiatives: Political Action, APCA Brand, and Model Contract. 

The Political Action group aims to define a long-term political impact vision for APCA and pursue it using a new social media presence, a stronger Government Affairs Committee and exponentially increased grassroots participation. The APCA Brand group aims to establish a powerful APCA brand, increase the association’s visibility, and increase value for members and the industry. The Model Contract group is striving for a contract with fair and balanced risk allocation to help owners/operators achieve lower-cost capital construction and maintenance. 

As APCA members are eager to visit with friends and colleagues, and get back to working face-to-face to address serious industry issues, APCA is holding its 2021 Convention, March 26-31 at the Naples Grande Beach Resort in Naples, Fla., in addition to the Oct. 6-9 Mid-Year Meeting in D.C. 

To learn more about APCA, visit 


APCA President Mike Castle, Progressive Pipeline 

APCA Board members Roy Weaver, Weaver LLC, and Nick Bruno, Bi-Con Services 

APCA Board member Aaron Simon, Troy Construction, LLC 

Pre-pandemic APCA membership meeting.

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