By Oliver Klinger, Publisher
Dan Murphy, outgoing president of the Pipe Line Contractors Association and president of Precision Pipeline LLC, welcomed 628 delegates to PLCA’s 65th convention held at the Hyatt Regency Scottsdale Resort and Spa at Gainey Ranch in Scottsdale, AZ. This represented a significant attendance increase over the 2012 convention.
Murphy remarked that he comes from a long line of pipeliners. As a child he remembered his parents and relatives talking about things like hot dope and joints — he had to ask if the business they were in was legal. He worked on his first pipeline job at 16 and has remained in the business for 35 years.
“Throughout the years, I’ve seen many ups and downs and listened to many triumphs and problems. I’ve heard statements in anticipation of large amounts of work on the horizon like ‘there is more work out there than there are contractors and it will never get done.’ When expectations were low, I heard ‘there’s not going to be enough work for the union contractor to survive.’ I’ve seen the high highs and the low lows and guess what – somehow all the work got completed and all the union contractors have survived.”
He attributes this to the fact that the PLCA and its members have always held strong and addressed the issues with foresight and unity. “I’ve learned that over the years about the time one problem is solved, it’s replaced by another. When the good times come you better start planning for the bad times, because they’re probably just around the corner. I can’t think of another time since I’ve been in this business that better illustrates this than the past few years. On top of the ever increasing scrutiny from the government on quality and scrutiny from our clients on safety, we have had and will continue to face a severe skilled labor shortage. Complicating the labor force issue is the fact that attitudes have shifted away from appreciation towards the employer for having a good job to an attitude that the employer owes them simply for showing up.”
Murphy also urged the industry to follow its traditional philosophy of “If you can’t get it, you can’t stay!” a term of pride meaning that if you didn’t give it your all like everyone else, you won’t be around very long.
“That attitude that has always been prevalent in this industry has now been replaced with an unwarranted sense of entitlement,” he said. “While we have brought some of this on ourselves in an effort to keep our jobs manned, I also believe that it is an attitude that is recently prevalent in the workplace as a whole. I see this problem as the single most important issue going forward for this association. Never is it going to be more important for PLCA members, the unions and clients to work together to address not only a skilled labor shortage, but also to change the mindset of the workers and make them understand that the welfare and survival of the industry depends on everyone working together. That enables us to hand our clients a finished project on which maximum production efficiency is combined with the safest work environment and the highest quality standards. And when I say everyone working together I’m talking about management, client personnel, union representatives, supervisory personnel, skilled labor and unskilled labor. It will be a daunting task but I have complete faith in this association and its members that, like the other daunting issues we have faced over the years, we will meet it head on and come out on the other side all the better for it.
“Lately,” Murphy continued, “I’ve heard many discussions from colleagues and peers that pipelining just isn’t any fun anymore. I can’t disagree more with that statement. It is certainly easy these days to take a defeatist attitude. But as I recollect my last few months at college and the choices that were available to me at the time, I can honestly tell you this: I made the right decision by getting into the pipeline industry. No matter the problems and issues we face, in what other industry can you say your competitors are also your friends? In what other industry can you say you don’t have to deal with the problems and issues alone? In what other industry can you say that you get to learn from the very best in the world at what they do? And as long as you work hard, listen, watch and participate, you too can be the very best in the world at what you do.
“I’m truly blessed to be able to have worked with all of you and I am honored to have been able to serve this association as its president for a year and to be able to have served an industry that has served me so well.”
This year’s auction raised $600,000 for the PLCA scholarship fund.
Dickey Langston with Rockford Corporation (l.) and Mike Langston with Price Gregory, at PLCA in Scottsdale.
PLCA Officers and directors elected at the meeting to serve during 2013 are: President, John Allen, Pipe Line Constructors, LLC; 1st Vice President, Ronnie Wise, Price Gregory International, Inc., 2nd Vice President, Frank O. Welch, Rockford Corporation; and Treasurer, Robert A. Riess, Sr., Sheehan Pipe Line Construction Co.; J. Patrick Tielborg continues as PLCA managing director and general counsel, Kevin N. Barrett is executive director.
Directors for 2013 are Bernie Bermack, Associated Pipe Line Contractors, Inc.; Dwayne Osadchuk, OZ Directional Drilling; Don W. Thorn, Welded Construction, L.P.; Jimmy L. Crotts, Appalachian Pipeline Contractors, LLP; Robert C. Osborn, Michels Corporation; Brian L. Ganske, Snelson Companies, Inc.; M. Dan Murphy, Precision Pipeline LLC; Kelly W. Osborn, U. S. Pipeline, Inc.; and Christopher T. Leines, Minnesota Limited, LLC.
The PLCA office is located in Dallas (214) 969-2700.
The 2014 convention will be held at the Hyatt in Bonita Springs, FL, from Feb. 18-22.