Commitment and Engagement are Foundational to Organization Success

From an early age, we all understand that certain things are meant to go together. Salt and pepper, baseball and bat, nut and bolt, pen and paper, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, knowledge and power. This list could go on and on. We can agree that separating certain items is just not acceptable or productive in the long run.
Membership in a trade organization such as the Pile Driving Contractors Association has some of these same characteristics. There are certain things about association membership that just go together and shouldn't be taken apart, ever.
It is very easy to join PDCA. Simply complete the membership application and pay the appropriate dues. However, is that all there is to it? Once the dues are paid, does the obligation stop? Hardly. It is at this point that the responsibility of association membership begins. Each individual must lean in and determine their part to help make the organization work, prosper, grow and succeed.
We can make the same strong comparison here about commitment and engagement regarding association membership. Commitment is the state or quality of being dedicated to a cause, an activity, an idea. The word also elicits a sense of responsibility, obligation, duty, a tie or charge, or a burden. A company has a commitment to quality, safety and service to its customers. There is nothing passive in this word. It requires a decision, evokes action and demands results.
Engagement is the action that is required by commitment. It is an arrangement to do something, to be involved, to follow through with what has been promised.
We want to encourage all PDCA members to make a commitment and become engaged in the activities provided by the organization. Through this active process members will be informed, fulfilled, satisfied and encouraged. The organization will be supported, move from one level to the next, made relevant and remain current. This is the water and sunshine that will allow PDCA to grow and become strong. It produces the success that is altogether necessary for PDCA to represent the driven pile industry.
Each year PDCA schedules, plans and organizes events and activities for the benefit of its membership. These are purposeful and meaningful, and intended to help members expand their knowledge and influence. Only when members take advantage of these important opportunities will they realize the value of each event.
The PDCA 22nd Annual International Conference and Expo is a great example of an event that is scheduled primarily to benefit members. It is something that every member should consider attending as often as possible. The immediate benefits are real, and the extended experience is, well, priceless.
An event like the PDCA annual conference does not happen by accident. There are many people working behind the scenes planning this year's event. PDCA members who serve on the Board of Directors, the Education Committee, the Sheet Pile Committee, the Communications Committee and the Associate Member Council are diligently expending time and resources to put together a meaningful and exciting conference. Their efforts are to be lauded, commended and each member should make the opportunity to express appreciation for their work. These PDCA members' efforts are considerable and they are working solely to provide the best experience possible.
Education is a key part in everything that PDCA works hard to produce and the annual conference is no exception. A Pile Driving Inspection pre-conference short course is scheduled along with a "Driven Pile Quality Assurance and Quality Control for Engineers, Contractors and Inspectors" program. The information provided in the pre-conference short course will be significant and is worthy of your consideration. This is only the beginning.
The Annual Conference will present three separate tracks over two days to provide participants with information on various facets of the pile driving industry.
Track One will kick off the sessions early on the first full day of the annual conference with "Legislation and Advocacy in Pile Driving: Are you at the Table or on the Menu?" This thought provoking and informative presentation will challenge members to consider their part in a process that literally could affect every aspect of their business.
Additional Track One sessions will include presentations on "Operator Training: This is How We Approach It," "Working Platforms/Safety/Best Management Practices" and "Workforce Development and Industry Issues." These programs will bring members up-to-date with the latest activity related to jobsite performance.
The first day afternoon sessions will present programs starting with a keynote on "Geotechnical Design & Construction: Why This Relationship is Important." Additional presentations will include "An Engineer's Role in Mitigating Risk on Pile Driving Projects: An Operational and Legal Perspective," followed by "Current Guidelines and Code Issues Impacting Driven Pile Practice" and concluding with "Pile Foundations Work on Design/Build Projects: Opportunities and Challenges."
The second day of the conference will present Track Three, starting with the keynote presentation on "Sheet Piling Past, Present and Future," followed by "A 2,700-Foot Quarry Wall Becomes an Engineering Challenge for Pioneers," project spotlights featuring the Project of the Year award winners and a presentation on the "Pile Driving on the I-4 Ultimate Improvement Project."
Considering the scope of the education programming, this would be enough to attend the annual conference but there is more.
All PDCA standing committees as well as the Board of Directors will meet during the annual conference. This is a significant opportunity for these individuals to connect on a personal level for the important work they are performing on behalf of the organization throughout the year.
If you are a golfer, don't miss the golf outing at the Four Seasons Disney World Resort course. The shotgun event will be held at the Tranquilo Golf Club, walking distance from the hotel. This course is built through a preserve and is simply beautiful. It is also a private course and is kept in pristine condition. Your registration fee for the golf outing will help provide resources for the PDCA Education fund.
The opening reception to officially kick-off the annual conference is a time to connect with your PDCA friends. This informal event will be held in the Exhibit Hall area and will provide attendees an opportunity to get a sneak peek of material and information provided by our PDCA industry partners. We encourage all members to take the time to visit each exhibit to take full advantage of the services provided.
An awards luncheon will be held the first day of the annual conference to highlight efforts by industry leaders, acknowledge companies for their project efforts and provide members an opportunity to relax and connect.
A highlight of the annual conference is the Annual Awards Reception and Dinner that will be held the evening of the first day. You do not want to miss this dinner!
Everything mentioned here has been planned to work together and should not be separated. Did I mention the Disney Magic Kingdom, theme parks, fireworks and characters? All of that magic is close by the conference and can be part of your 2019 ExPEERience! The only question is will you commit and engage? I hope the answer is yes and I look forward to seeing you at the Four Seasons Resort at Walt Disney World Resort for a magical and successful event.
The annual conference and more
This edition of PileDriver magazine is designated as our annual conference edition, and you may be reading a copy that you found in your delegate bag or picked up at the PileDriver booth. I hope you find some quality time to spend with the pages of this issue, as it exemplifies both the traditional roots of the driven pile industry while also highlighting the excitement of new technologies, construction methods and safety initiatives.
Firstly, I must offer a heartfelt and sincere PDCA congratulations on an outstanding milestone by one of our longstanding contractor members: Blakeslee, Arpaia, Chapman (BAC) is celebrating 175 years in business in 2019 yes, 175 years! BAC president, Dave Chapman, has served two separate terms as president of PDCA, and we are honored to include a feature-length article about the company to help celebrate such an extraordinary achievement. Please turn to page 98 of this magazine to read the article, and I encourage you to reach out to Dave with your commendations.
In reviewing the articles of a few of the other PDCA members profiled in this issue, the success and longevity of the driven pile industry becomes increasingly apparent. Consider Illinois-based James McHugh Construction Co., in business for 122 years as of 2019. Engineering firm Hardesty & Hanover has more than 130 years in business under their belt this year. Another engineering firm, Mueser Rutledge Consulting Engineers, is marking 109 years in business. Further, L.B. Foster Co. is celebrating a 50-year tenure by one of its employees, John Knapp. These are incredible achievements.
In terms of innovative construction techniques, turn back to the cover of this magazine. The project you see pictured there is the Pier55 project in New York City; PDCA contractor member Weeks Marine, Inc. describes the work as their most unique and challenging project to date. I won't spoil the details for you here, but turn to page 90 and read why the pile driving for Pier55 has been so fascinating.
Discussing safety, there is always room for our industry to improve. You may have read the joint statement from ADSC-IAFD, DFI and PDCA in 2018 regarding a consensus position on working platforms for pile driving and drilling rigs. While the working platform is such a critical safety component for any project we work on, there are no current guidelines in the U.S. pertaining to their construction and use, and in fact, much confusion surrounds platform use and specification. Turn to page 70 to read an in-depth overview about what working platforms are, the issues surrounding them and how the U.S. industry is learning from worldwide best practices to make meaningful change. At the end of the day, we all want to keep our workers and our equipment safe, and PDCA members can play a valuable role in changing our industry for the better as it relates to working platforms.
Lastly, even though this is the PDCA Annual Conference edition of PileDriver magazine, please don't forget about another important upcoming event: the Design and Installation of Cost-Efficient Piles (DICEP) conference, taking place Nov. 56 in Cleveland, Ohio. This event presents its attendees with the opportunity to connect with peers, collaborate on industry research and strengthen commitments to the driven pile profession. This year is the 20th time that PDCA has organized the DICEP conference; if you've never attended before or if it's been some time, mark your calendars and come to Cleveland. You can read more about DICEP on page 63; it's important that we see you there.
The content that I have highlighted for you here is just a fraction of what you'll read about in this issue of PileDriver. The PDCA Communications Committee works diligently throughout the year to carefully plan every issue of the magazine, discussing and researching articles that will prove valuable to our membership and industry at large. If you would like to join the Communications Committee or suggest an article, please contact our PDCA staff liaison to the committee, Matt Bisbee, at 904-215-4771 or by email to
I look forward to shaking your hand at the PDCA Annual Conference in Orlando.

Posted in PileDriver Magazine. Tagged as Edition 3, 2019.

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