By Oliver Klinger, Publisher
Another record registration of 209 attendees marked the American Pipeline Contractors Association’s 41st Annual Convention at The Cloister Resort & Spa in Sea Island, GA.
Speakers included Greg Guidry, of the Onebane Law Firm, who spoke to regular members on the legislative environment in Washington especially on the labor front. Other speakers included Mark Bridgers of the Continuum Advisory Group, Jim Spigener, of Behavioral Science Technology, Inc. and Sid McAnnally with Energen Corporation in Birmingham, AL.
Bridgers talked about American competitiveness and the drivers affecting the overall utility construction industry. He forecast a bright future for the industry. Spigener addressed safety and the culture that must be created within each company. McAnnally talked about ANGA and its lobbying efforts on behalf of the natural gas industry.
Jim Angle of Fox News was the featured banquet speaker. He was preceded by outgoing APCA President John Fluharty of Mears Group Inc. John wanted to address the current political situation and talk about APCA. He started by saying, “We’ve pretty well bashed the current administration to death of the last 4-5 years, so I wanted to focus on what our speaker Mark Bridgers pointed out the other morning and what a competitive nation we are. We have all the natural resources, the infrastructure and everything we need to be a continual great nation and to be successful, and we really need to get behind the politicians who will help us. We need to be involved at the local level and all the way to the top and be sure we are supporting those candidates that will help our industry grow.”
Regarding APCA he commented, “We transport great products that our country needs. We have a growing reserve base that will help us be more self-sufficient as time goes by. Natural gas is the right product at the right time. It truly is the green product of our nation for energy independence.” He repeated the comment that if everyone in the energy business would convert as many of their vehicles as possible to natural gas; it would consume an additional Bcf/d.
John went on to mention the rehabilitation market, driven by the regulatory environment, as another market driver. “We have an aging infrastructure on all types of underground utilities,” he continued, “We have great drivers that move our markets. The price of oil will continue to drive exploration and drilling. Natural gas is the next big opportunity. We haven’t really touched on the drivers for natural gas. We’re primarily using it for heating, but it is now shifting to electric generation.” John also believes there are all types of other ideas for the use of natural gas. This list of uses includes vehicles. The price of natural gas is making other uses very attractive.
He also commented on the renewal of APCA’s alliance with OSHA. John attended a meeting earlier in the year and came away feeling the key people in OSHA view APAC as the group on the forefront of safety for the pipeline industry.
John ended by asking members to make sure their people attend association safety meetings, in addition to attending the regular meetings and in bringing in new members.
New Officers And Directors
Officers elected for 2012 are: Ricky Dyess, President, M.G. Dyess, Inc., Nick Bruno, Vice President, Bi-Con Services, Inc.; Sean Renfro, 2nd Vice President, Sunland Construction Inc.; and Bruce Gilliland, Secretary/Treasurer. J.D. Lormand remains as executive director at the association’s office in Lafayette, LA.
Other directors are: Pat Simpson, Sterling Construction Co.; Randy Farrar, Farrar Construction, Inc.; Max Nichols, Jomax Construction Co., Inc.; Bill Schettine, Meridien Energy, LLC; John Fluharty, Mears Group, Inc.; Alan Owens, Troy Construction, LLC; and Sean Sullivan, Elkhorn Construction. “Advisory” directors are Morris Farrar, Clovis Hester and John Maxwell.
The associate member board consists of: Joe Trapani, president, Caterpillar; Scott Anderson, John Deere & Company; John Lucki, secretary/treasurer, Cross Country Pipeline Supply; Carl & Sonnie Raffety, convention chairpersons, Cross Country Pipeline Supply and Bobby Darby, Darby Equipment, Inc. as golf chairperson.
Next year’s annual meeting date is not yet available. For information on APCA contact J.D. Lormand at 337 278-0056 (www.americanpipeline.org) or Ricky Dyess at 601.943.6663.