March 2021 Vol. 76 No. 3


Despite Pandemic, PLCA Accomplished Positive Year

By Jeff GriffinSenior Editor  

The year 2020 was a period of challenges and adjustments for members of the Pipe Line Contractors Association. 

PLCA 2020 President Kelly Osborn, U.S. Pipelines

The worldwide COVID 19 pandemic limited association events and forced adjustments on every level, said Kelly Osborn of U.S. Pipeline, Inc., Houston who served as PLCA president during 2020. Overall, the pipeline construction industry has been deeply impacted by the pandemic. However, there are many positive accomplishments to report. 

“Fortunately, as essential work, some construction was able to move forward,” said Osborn. “Most notably, TC Energy’s Buckeye Xpress was successfully completed in 2020, and we kicked off construction on Enbridge’s Line 3 Replacement Project. 

“The PLCA negotiated project labor agreements for both the Buckeye Xpress and the Line 3 Project, ensuring that the work would be performed by PLCA members – union contractors with the highest level of attention to safety, quality, environmental compliance and community support.” 

In 2020, the PLCA Labor Committee successfully completed labor negotiations with each of the four pipeline unions, updating the National Pipe Line Agreements. Osborn said the new agreements are intended to help improve the competitive position of PLCA members and help grow the union contractor’s industry market share. 

The association’s first-ever National Pipe Line Conference was a highly successful two-day virtual event that focused on “Safety and Quality in Pipeline Construction” and “Working Under the National Pipe Line Agreement.” 

“Several hundred PLCA members participated in the virtual event.” said Osborn. “We were very proud to add this event to the PLCA’s list of member programs and believe it will be a terrific event for years to come.” 

2020 annual convention 

Last February, the 2020 Convention was held in Palm Springs, Calif., with more than 650 representatives from PLCA member companies, industry organizations, unions and others gathering to network with industry colleagues, learn about the industry and attend PLCA member meetings. 

“It was wonderful,” Osborn said, “made even more special because it was the last event many of us were able to attend before the world was changed by the pandemic.” 

The PLCA scholarship program was re-named in honor of the late C. Paul Evans, former president of CRC-Evans and a PLCA Honorary Member. 

“Evans was instrumental in founding the PLCA scholarship program in 1998,” said Elizabeth Worrell, PLCA managing director and chief legal counsel. Providing scholarships to the children, grandchildren and stepchildren of PLCA members, the program has awarded over $5.5 million in scholarships since its founding. 

“Following Mr. Evans death in 2018,” Osborn said, “the PLCA Scholarship Committee wanted to honor Mr. Evans’ important contribution to the industry and PLCA community – and most importantly, his contribution to the PLCA scholarship program.” 

The 2021 annual meeting scheduled for April and the Spring Leadership Retreat had to be cancelled. The PLCA hopes to reschedule the annual meeting later in the year. 

PLCA’s priority this year is to grow work opportunities for association members, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic. 

“The announcement in early 2021 that the Biden Administration revoked the Keystone XL permit was felt deeply throughout the industry,” said Osborn. “It was a very disappointing development for a project that was to be built by several PLCA members.” 

According to Osborn, government relations will be important during the course of Biden’s presidency and PLCA will be active in this area in 2021 under its newly formed Government Affairs and Strategic Projects Committee. 

PLCA offices are in Arlington, Va. The association web site is

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