By Ollie Klinger, Publisher
Brian Ganske, outgoing president of the Pipe Line Contractors Association and executive vice president of Snelson Companies Inc., welcomed delegates to the Ritz-Carlton Kapalua (Maui) Resort for the association’s 63rd annual convention. There were 665 people registered this year, representing a huge industry turnout.
Spending his entire career in the pipeline industry, Ganske worked his way up from washing cars to being a partner in a construction company.
It was a busy year for the PLCA. The two previous years saw record-breaking manhours worked, while 2010 showed a 50% decline in volume from $6.8 billion to $3.4 billion. Miles of construction decreased 36% from 4,300 to 2,800 miles.
All four labor agreements expired in 2010, and Ganske had the labor committee, chaired by Charlie Joyce, Otis Eastern, on the road every other week. Other committee members included John Allen, Greg Curran, Bob Johnston, Chris Leines, Scott Summers, Don Thorn, Bob Westphal and Ronnie Wise.
However, only an agreement with the operating engineers was reached by the start of the convention, with negations continuing with UA, Laborers and Teamsters. “We base our business decisions on the national pipeline agreements, so the board of directors and labor committee play a pivotal role in our survival,” remarked Ganske.
He added, “We have had a good, long-term union relationship but the landscape is changing. We are a small group of union contractors and unless we collectively realize that times are changing, the relationships we have now with each of our four international unions and our clients will end.
“We cannot maintain the status quo,” Ganske continued. “We cannot continue with our businesses with antiquated work rules and jurisdictional disputes, and we cannot maintain successful operations without trained, qualified, dispatched workers. Everyone needs to step up to the bar on this matter and help our industry.”
Ganske remarked that the unions and PLCA have come together to create a project labor agreement which would use 2009 wages for 2011 work and 2010 wages for work in 2012 and 2013 for TransCanada’s Keystone XL Pipeline Project.
“This involves 1,200 miles of 36-inch pipe from Canada to the Gulf Coast. The unions have reached out to President Obama for assistance in approving this line. It will create 20,000 jobs, $20 billion in new spending and pay $585 million in state and local taxes,” he said.
Other accomplishments in 2010 saw the PLCA’s scholarship fund double its assets to $4 million after regular members agreed to contribute an additional $2 million. PLCA also hosted its second annual safety conference in Dallas. The safety committee was chaired by Don Thorn.
There were seven new regular members added in 2010 and 22 associate members. The 2012 convention will be held at the Park Hyatt Aviara, Carlsbad, CA, from Feb. 21-25.
Officers and directors elected at the meeting to serve during 2011 included: PLCA President Christopher T. Leines, president and CEO, Minnesota Limited Inc.; 1st vice president M. Daniel Murphy of Precision Pipeline LLC; 2nd vice president John Allen, Pipe Line Constructors LLC; and treasurer Ronnie Wise, Price Gregory International Inc. J. Patrick Tielborg continues as PLCA’s managing director and general counsel. The PLCA office is located in Dallas.
Directors for 2011 are: Jimmy L. Crotts, Appalachian Pipeline Contractors LLP; Robert C. Osborn, Michels Corporation; Robert A. Riess, Sr., Sheehan Pipe Line Construction Co.; Frank O. Welch, Rockford Corporation; Robert I. “Bob” Johnston, Henkels & McCoy Inc.; Bernie Bermack, Associated Pipe Line Contractors Inc.; Scott E. Summers, ARB Inc.; Don Thorn, Welded Construction L.P.; Gregory S.V. Curran, U.S. Pipeline Inc.; and Briane Ganske, Snelson Companies Inc.
Past presidents and honorary members attending included: Peter Billey, C. Dennis Bingham, Jeff Coolsaet, Paul Gregory, Robert I. Johnson, Charles H. Joyce, Charles P. Joyce, William Murphy, David Sheehan, Paul Somerville, Dave Stotz, Scott Summers, George Thompson, Don Thorn and Robert Westphal.