June 2022 Vol. 77 No. 6


PCCA Maintains Aggressive Agenda at 77th Annual Convention

PCCA Maintains Aggressive Agenda at 77th Annual Convention 

Power & Communication Contractors Association (PCCA) Chairman Bob Breeden, ElectriCom, Inc., looked around the crowded ballroom at the opening session of the 77th Annual PCCA Convention, smiled, and thanked members for showing up in such strong numbers: 405 total and 250 primary attendees, more first-timers than ever before, and a record number of sponsors. 

PCCA Chairman Bob Breeden, ElectriCom, Inc., welcomes association members to the 77th Annual PCCA Convention and thanks them for supporting PCCA’s aggressive industry agenda. “Because of you, we’re growing and doing the things we need to do.”

He spoke about his 17 years in PCCA, about watching members’ kids grow up, and “how PCCA is like family.” 

Breeden reviewed some of the association’s accomplishments in the past year, noted the challenges that lie ahead, and encouraged everyone “to become involved, become a part of our family. Because of you, we’re growing and we’re doing the things we need to do.” 

The 2022 PCCA Convention, March 4-9 in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a showcase for “doing the things we need to do.” PCCA members are tackling serious issues, including the nation’s flawed 811 system, the industry’s critical worker shortage, challenges coming from all levels of government, and severe supply chain issues. 

811 Emergency 

On the convention’s first full day, members crowded into the 2nd Annual PCCA/CGA/NULCA Excavation Safety Summit to discuss Common Ground Alliance (CGA) Next Practices, GIS mapping of underground utilities, the future of the Gold Shovel Association and the Emergency 811 study, which PCCA co-sponsored as part of the Infrastructure Protection Coalition (www.ipcweb.org). 

Mark Bridgers, architect of the 811 Emergency study and principal of Continuum Capital, has been consulting in the industry since the late 1990s and “has never seen a study get as much attention as this one.” 

The study examined 811 operations in every state, Washington, D.C., and Chicago, and found that failures in the system are costing $61 billion a year in waste and excess costs, and creating unnecessary hazards for public safety. Since its release in November 2021, the coalition has been publicizing the study and engaging with industry stakeholders. Bridgers said that the next steps include “hard work at the state level” to drive positive changes in those 811 systems. 

Busy times in DC 

PCCA maintains an aggressive advocacy agenda in Washington, D.C., and members heard updates and shared their views during the convention’s Government & Industry Affairs Roundtable. 

According to the session’s moderator, Eben Wyman, Wyman Associates, the $1 trillion federal infrastructure bill passed last year, which PCCA supported, will pump tens of billions of dollars into broadband deployment and strengthening the electric grid. On the other hand, the law’s clear bias toward union labor, overreaching climate proposals, and anti-employer wok-site safety policies, will require PCCA diligence, at least over the next few years. 

PCCA’s Jaime Steve reported on the infrastructure bill’s $42 billion in broadband construction finding. “You all have accomplished something incredible, but now we need implementation,” he said. The association is working to develop broadband champions in Congress, people “who will lay down on the tracks for you when something comes up,” he added. 

Also on the panel, Daryl Bouwkamp, senior director of International Business Development and Government Affairs for Vermeer Corporation, talked about the effectiveness of PCCA members meeting with legislators and regulators on Capitol Hill. Calling these members “a truth-serum squad,” he said, “We’re the closest to how the money is spent, and we can tell them which programs are working and which ones are not.” 

PCCA members also heard from Josh Seidemann, NTCA-The Voice of Rural Communications, and Patrick Vibien, Plastic Pipe Institute. 


The convention featured a variety of speakers, some educational, some inspirational, some both. During his Utility Construction Industry Overview, Chris Daum of FMI provided a largely positive report for the power and communication markets. 

“You should leave here encouraged; the long-term fundamentals of this industry are great,” he said. 

Keynote speaker Chad Hymas shared his emotional story of tackling life’s challenges following a tragic accident and how he developed purpose, passion, and perspective. “Don’t let anybody dictate to you what your limits are,” he said. 

Best-selling author Jay Samit fascinated the audience during his Disrupt You! session. He talked about the need for innovation, adaptability, and creativity in today’s ever-changing world. Also important to disruption introspection. “Everyone thinks about changing the world, but no one thinks about changing themselves,” he said. 

A highlight of the convention every year is the Associates Exhibit & Breakfast, where contractors meet with vendors to discuss job-site issues and learn more about applicable products and services. A big topic this year, unsurprisingly, was how supply chain issues are affecting product availability. 

“You lose one component, and it blows up the whole system,” said one manufacturer member. “We have 1,600 skid steers sitting for lack of a rearview mirror.” 

A contractor member commented, “The only good news is that we get record money from J.J. Kane when we sell something.” 

Building the workforce 

PCCA’s workforce development efforts were highlighted in several events during the convention. First, at the TIRAP Apprenticeship Program Primer, participating members explained how they got their apprenticeship programs up and running, and how the programs benefit both the company and the employees.

Members help members during the morning’s TIRAP Apprenticeship Program Primer. Reps from ElectriCom, Inc., Push, Inc., Sellenriek Construction, Inc., and Stratis, Inc. explain how they got their apprenticeship programs up and running and how the programs benefit both company and employees.

PCCA also helps develop utility construction programs for technical schools and community colleges around the nation. During the Education Issues Roundtable, members received updates from PCCA-affiliated schools: State Technical College of Missouri, Terra State Community College (Ohio), Northwood Technical College (Wisc.), Monroe County Community College (Mich.), and Somerset Community College (Ky.). 

Each year, PCCA awards scholarships to the children and other dependents of PCCA members’ employees, as well as to students at PCCA-affiliated schools. This year’s winners: 

  • Eli Herkenrath, Silver Lake, Kans. 
  • Brady Harmand, Marland, Okla. 
  • Benjamin Tholen, Bristol, Ill. 
  • Richard Sapp, Coleman, Mich. 
  • Bret Jennings, Linn, Mo. 

Finally, there was a great turnout for the Leadership Development Program session on financial management. Andy Patron, Aboveboard Consulting, leads a full-day, hands-on session on an industry-specific topic every year at the convention. 

At the close of the convention, PCCA honored outgoing Chairman Bob Breeden, ElectriCom, Inc., with its Distinguished Service Award. Breeden, in turn, passed the PCCA gavel to new Chairman Jerrod Henschel, Equix, Inc. 

Passing the Gavel 

At a country-and-western themed closing party, PCCA members honored outgoing Chairman Bob Breeden with its Distinguished Service Award. Breeden, in turn, passed the PCCA gavel to new Chairman Jerrod Henschel, Equix Inc. 

  • PCCA’s other officers for the coming year are: 
  • Chair-Elect Ed Campbell HMI Utilities, LLC 
  • 1st Vice Chair Matthew Gabrielse, Gabe’s Construction Co., Inc. 
  • 2nd Vice Chair Rob Pribyl, MP Nexlevel, LLC 
  • Treasurer Craig Amerine, Amerine Utilities Construction, Inc. 
  • Secretary Heath Sellenriek, Sellenriek Construction, Inc. 
  • Associate Member of the Board Michael Whitebread, J.J. Kane Auctioneers 
  • Golf Chairman Andrew Kurz, Ring Power 

For more information: pccaweb.org UC 

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