May 2020

NACE Update from President Scott McGolpin


2020 has brought new challenges for each of us, our families, colleagues, and NACE that were unimaginable just a few short months ago. We no doubt are living in historic times and the decisions we find ourselves tasked with are unprecedented. Just a few weeks ago, NACE found itself in the position of conducting our business on electronic platforms in lieu of holding our annual conference in person in Orange Beach, Alabama. 

The Executive Committee and Board of Directors were placed in the unenviable position of having to cancel this year’s conference for the first time in NACE history.  A huge thank you to President Tim Hens for the work he did over the last year and for leading us through the economic shutdown created by the COVID-19 crisis.  Over the course of Tim’s term this past year, NACE was invited to the White House and has been instrumental in establishing NACE’s position as the Administration’s technical expert on local roads, as well as guiding NACE as it wrestles with the impacts of COVID-19. Tim, your leadership has been exceptional, and you have set the bar very high for future Presidents of NACE.  Thank you for your service sir.

Also, a big thank you to our Executive Director, Kevan Stone, and his team Staci Morgan and Connie Radoulovitch.  Their leadership and perseverance have been superb as we navigated these uncharted waters.

I would like to congratulate the officers of the NACE Executive Committee sworn in for the coming year.  NACE appreciates your commitment to the organization and thanks you for accepting the challenge of leading in these uncertain times.  Thank you to the Board of Directors, Committee Chairs and Committee Members for your leadership and extra effort to move NACE forward each year, which is what makes this organization one of the greatest I have ever belonged to.  Thank you to our Members from across this great nation who are committed to NACE and improving the public service that we all are tasked with delivering every day of the year.  I look forward to visiting and meeting many of you over the next year once travel restrictions are lifted.

Though we transition on the Executive Committee annually, there are items that carry on from one President to the next.  A platform issue that will continue this year is an initiative to grow our membership through a pilot project that includes bringing townships on board from states that work closely with their counties, the best example being the State of New York.  I am excited about working with Tim to bring this idea to implementation as this will potentially increase NACE’s revenues and provide service to an underserved community of public officials. 

In addition, over this next year, we will focus our energy and efforts in a few areas that are priority issues for the Executive Committee.  We will take the lessons we have learned through this COVID-19 event to ensure that we as a national organization are fiscally viable into the future.  Our budget annually is such that we depend on our conference to deliver the lion’s share of our operating revenues on any given year.  Losing our 2020 conference will require a few changes to how we operate over the next year to get us to Palm Springs.  We will continue our ad-hoc finance committee, comprised of Executive Committee members, led by NACE Past-President Rich Sanders. This committee’s edict is to focus on our finances and identify potential financial opportunities that may exist in the future to increase our bottom line and reserves.

As hard as it was for NACE to cancel this year’s conference, it was just as hard on our Corporate Members and Exhibitors.  These good people and businesses are dedicated to our organization and rely on the connections and business they receive from our membership for survival.  In addition to our event, they are losing similar opportunities around the country, as other organizations are forced to cancel their events as well.  Many of these exhibitors have been with us for a long time, and they are committed to all of us and deserve a special thanks for their continued commitment.  I will work with the Corporate Member Services Committee to engage these folks to thank them for their continued commitment to NACE.  Also, I want to spend time with them to explore ideas NACE can implement throughout the year, and certainly at our conference to get them in front of more of our members.  Without their continued financial support annually, our organization would cease to exist without much higher dues for all of us.   

Last week I had the opportunity to represent NACE on a House Transportation and Infrastructure (T&I) Committee Surface and Transit Roundtable held via teleconference.  The Roundtable was hosted by the T&I Vice-Chairman, Congressman Salud Carbajal, and included the Chairman of the committee, Congressman Peter DeFazio, and officials from Central California.  Prior to COVID-19, infrastructure legislation conversations centered around the re-authorization of the federal surface transportation authorization bill (highway bill), with the FAST Act scheduled to expire at the end of September.  In today’s world, there are serious discussions occurring on how to restart our economy and an infrastructure spending bill was discussed on this video roundtable.  These congressional leaders believe that money is less costly today than in the past and moving forward now with a $2 trillion package should be considered.  I had the opportunity to put the following NACE priorities on the table for T&I leadership’s consideration:

  • Federal regulatory reform to include environmental streamlining to get projects through the process and to construction faster; and
  • Direct federal funding to local agencies now. As we all know, a dollar that goes directly to a County Engineer will be spent faster and go further than a dollar that must pass through multiple layers of government to get to that same County Engineer; and
  • Long term financial stability of the highway trust fund.

At the end of the roundtable, I discussed the circumstance we are all dealing with today as a result of COVID-19 – the loss of gas taxes to make ends meet in our operating budgets due to the Safer at Home initiatives across this country.

Opportunities to participate in events such as these are available to NACE because of our efforts on Capitol Hill to build trusting relationships with congress, federal agencies, and the Executive Branch.  This past February’s NACE fly-in produced a considerable increase in participation, as many NACE State Directors joined us in visiting with USDOT officials, Congressional Committee staff, as well as their own members of Congress.  As a result of these fly-ins, NACE has built upon its reputation and position as the technical expert for local roads not just by NACo, but Washington policymakers as well.   We must continue to build upon this work.  NACE could not be more important than now as we engage Capitol Hill and continue to build relationships to ensure that counties' transportation needs are included in any and all federal legislation moving forward. 

Of all the professional organizations I have been involved in, NACE has the strongest membership and leaders.  Within NACE, there is a passion and focus to improve the work we do for the public we serve like no other.  This next year we will continue building and utilizing all technologies available to us to increase our communications across our organization to keep members abreast of NACE activities.  We have all become Zoom experts over the last few weeks, and we will employ this technology as well as others now and into the future for full NACE engagement across our membership.  If your committee would like to utilize the NACE Zoom account, please contact NACE staff.

I would finally like to thank all our NACE Former Leaders who have come before us.  You have built a tremendous organization in so many ways to help each of us be more effective in our roles in our home counties.  I have had the pleasure to work with many of you and look forward over the next year to getting to know each of you.  If there is anything I or NACE can assist you with, please do not hesitate to let us know.  

In closing, NACE would not be the outstanding organization it is today without the participation of each of you.  Thank you for your commitment and for your efforts to improve the rules that govern the work that we do at the federal government level.  I look forward to working with each of you over the next year and beyond to continue building NACE into the nation’s Public Works powerhouse.

Thank you for your public service!

Scott

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