May 2019

NACE Update from President Tim Hens


Hard to believe a month has already passed since the Annual Meeting in Wichita. So much going on to get committees squared away, travel schedules planned and even a trip for me to Washington, D.C. for Infrastructure Week.  

I wanted to take a quick moment to thank the Kansas County Highway Association for the fantastic job they did organizing and hosting the 2019 Conference. Our Board of Directors also passed a formal congratulatory resolution for KCHA at their meeting on Thursday after the Conference. I’m already excited to see what our friends in Alabama can do in 2020. It sounds like they have a unique and incredible plan for the Annual Meeting in Orange Beach. I hope to see you there!

As I mentioned at my swearing-in, NACE is built on relationships. I have been attending NACE meetings since 1999 when New York hosted in Niagara Falls. Like many of you, I started attending for professional reasons, but I have gone back year after year because of the personal relationships I have made with my peers all over the country. My goal as President is to enhance NACE from both a professional and personal relationship standpoint.  

At the end of the day, we all report to our commissioners, judges or legislators back home and they want to know what benefits the NACE membership provides to their counties. NACE always offers excellent technical programming and I know that I have taken home countless opportunities for saving money, but I also get so much through the networking that occurs at the Conference. The informal time spent in the Expo, at lunch, or in a hospitality room at the end of the day offers numerous chances to hear about how differently we all deal with similar issues. I know this informal exchange has resulted in the implementation of major programs in my home state that otherwise would have gone unknown. Without finding out what other states were doing, New York would never have engaged issues like federal aid swapping or a statewide rural bridge program. I’d like to enhance these technical and informal experiences by developing a message board or listserve-type service that can be accessed by our members through the website or other means. This is a relative simple tool that allows our members to reach out for potentially hundreds of solutions to common problems. It can also be a clearinghouse for training guides, common documents, safety plans and manuals that we all rely on to do our jobs.

I also want to make sure we continue to develop the relationships that draw us back to the Conference year after year by ensuring we continue have quality technical and enhanced social programming at all NACE events. I’d like to encourage more use of social media by NACE so we can all stay connected. It’s these connections that develop into relationships and amazing friendships with people we already so much in common with. It also offers a platform for spouses and love-ones to stay connected with their NACE Friends as well. Social media is also a significant tool from which to engage our elected officials as well. This is an area that we have under-used until very recently.  

We have a lot to deal with regarding the upcoming Reauthorization of the Surface Transportation Bill and we are working hard to obtain true streamlining or categorical exclusions that could make our jobs significantly easier as well as stretch limited funding further. We will continue to follow up and influence the re-writing of the Waters of the U.S. regulations as well as stay on top of the recently announced plan for a possible $2 trillion infrastructure package.

I’m excited for the upcoming year and I’m sure it will whiz by! I already have two state visits scheduled for June with trips planned to Wisconsin and Washington. I hope to get out to see as many states as time permits. Thank you again for your support of NACE and have a safe construction season!   




 

 

 

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