The Official Publication of the Power & Communication Contractors Association Energy Department Announces $48 Million in Grid Resilience Grants OSHA Can Burn Employers Not Focused on Heat Illness Prevention FCC Chair Calls for 100% Access to Affordable Broadband PCCA Holds Productive Mid-Year in Dana Point 3rd Quarter 2023 PCCA/CGA Keep Pushing on Damage Prevention PCCA Past Chairman Jerrod Henschel Discusses PCCA's Goals & the Value of Our Partnership with CGA
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3rd Quarter 2023 Official Publication of the Power & Communication Contractors Association Publication Staff PO Box 638 Churchton, Maryland 20733 (800) 542-PCCA • www.pccaweb.org ©2023 Power & Communication Contractors Association Publisher Timothy Wagner Editor Michael Ancell Advertising Sales Stacy Bowdring Photography Jorge de Casanova Information Technology Greg Smela Accounting James Wagner Layout & Design Joseph Wagner Addressing the Persistent Challenge of No-Call Damages to Underground Utilities 14 Every year, hundreds of thousands of dig-ins to underground utilities occur, costing the U.S. a staggering $30 billion annually. Each of these damages to underground infrastructure has the potential to cut communities off from critical services, cripple businesses with severe fines and repair costs, and cause serious injury or even loss of life. With construction steadily increasing over time and new investments into the country’s infrastructure on the rise, these damages will persist until all stakeholders come together to address the underlying, systemic issues that cause them. PCCA Holds Productive Mid-Year in Dana Point 19 PCCA members traveled to picturesque Dana Point, Calif., in August for the 2023 Mid-Year Meeting, where they discussed workforce development, immigration reform, infrastructure funding, the economic outlook for utility construction markets, damage prevention, and much more. PCCA also premiered two new videos that it produced, one on the vital need for immigration reform and the other on careers in utility construction. Inside Washington | By Jaime Steve & Zack Perconti 7 Human Resources | By Greg Guidry & Karen Tynan 13 Power News 32 Broadband News 35 News Briefs 40 PCCA Member News 42 Industry Calendar 46 New PCCA Members 46 Advertiser Index 46 Officer Directors Board of Directors Garrett Akin Brooks Construction Co., LLC Nick Anderson Anderson Underground, Inc. John Audi Mears Group, Inc. Bob Breeden ElectricCom, Inc. Bonnie Burnham Service Electric Company John Capodice Sterling Site Access Solutions Josh DeBruine Michels Corporation Justin Druffel Caterpillar, Inc. John Fluharty (Advisory) Mears Group, Inc. Tom Fredericks American Polywater Corporation Robin Gilbertson J&R Underground, LLC Jerrod Henschel Equix, Inc. Tommy Muse, Jr. Aubrey Silvey Enterprises, Inc. Steve Sellenriek (Advisory) UtiliSource Sam Stephens Tjader & Highstrom Jason Tyler Brooks Construction Co., LLC Billy Vincent ElectriCom, Inc. Michael Whitebread J.J. Kane Auctioneers Chris Wozniak Intercon Construction, Inc. Chairman Ed Campbell Quanta Services, Inc.. Chairman-Elect Matthew Gabrielse Gabe’s Construction Co., Inc 1st Vice Chairman Rob Pribyl MP Nexlevel, LLC. 2nd Vice Chairman Craig Amerine Amerine Utilities Construction, Inc Treasurer Heath Sellenriek Sellenriek Construction Secretary Chase Lapcinski Push, Inc.
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PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 7 Continued on page 8 Inside Washington Zack Perconti PCCA Government Affairs Representative firstname.lastname@example.org (703) 677-6049 Jaime Steve PCCA Government Affairs Representative email@example.com (202) 841-5493 FCC Chair Calls for 100% Access to Affordable Broadband Just as Congress was starting its August break, FCC Chair Jessica Rosenworcel proposed increasing the national fixed broadband standard to 100 Mbps for download and 20 Mbps for upload. Rosenworcel also called for 100 percent access to affordable broadband for all Americans, stating, “In today’s world, everyone needs access to affordable, high-speed internet, no exceptions. It’s time to connect everyone, everywhere. Anything short of 100 percent is just not good enough.” An official national standard of 100/20 Mbps would bring the standard in line with the speeds called for in the federal infrastructure law passed in late 2021. The FCC had previously set the broadband standard at 25/3 Mbps in 2015 and has not updated it since. While a 100/20 standard is clearly an improvement, PCCA has been calling for a 100/100 Mbps standard since before passage of the infrastructure law. The FCC’s Notice of Inquiry also proposes to set a separate national goal of 1 Gigabit per second/500 Mbps for the future. State BEAD Allocations Announced to Help Close the Digital Divide In July, the White House and the National Telecommunications & Information Administration announced state funding allocations under the $42.45 billion Broadband Equity, Access & Deployment (BEAD) program established via the federal infrastructure law. The state allocations announcement marks a pivotal next step in the program, as states prepare to offer subgrantee opportunities under the BEAD program as early as 2024. The BEAD program is aimed at closing the digital divide by providing connectivity to every unserved and under-served household and business across the county. An unserved location is defined as a location that lacks access to internet connection of 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload. An under-served location is defined as lacking access connection speeds of 100 Mbps upload and 20 Mbps download. Nineteen states are set to receive more than $1 billion for high-speed internet deployment allocations. Texas received the highest allocation at more than $3.3 billion, followed by California at $1.9 billion and Missouri at $1.7 billion. Every state, plus Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C., was awarded at least $100 million, while outlying territories received at least While a 100/20 standard is clearly an improvement, PCCA has been calling for a 100/100 Mbps standard since before passage of the infrastructure law.
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 8 Inside Washington Continued from page 7 $25million. The funding amounts were chosen using the Federal Communication Commission’s (FCC) broadband coverage map, which identifies at least 8.5 million locations without access to high-speed internet. Permitting Reform Passed into Law; Hopefully More to Come? Congress took a big—but not complete—step toward making it easier to build large infrastructure and energy projects by passing permitting reform legislation as part of the wideranging law lifting the federal government’s debt ceiling (the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023). Another key aspect of the law was final congressional approval of the long-delayed 303-mile Mountain Valley Pipeline for moving natural gas through West Virginia and Virginia. Even after passage of this law, it took a review by the U.S. Supreme Court to allow work to progress. The new permitting reform law sets shorter timelines for environmental studies required under the National Environmental Policy Act. Specifically, it sets a two-year timeline for Environmental Impact Statements and a one-year timeline for Environmental Assessments. The law also consolidates the review process for multi-agency projects under one “lead agency” that maintains the proceedings in a single document to avoid duplicative and extraneous work. One important item that did not make it into the final bill was “judicial review,” which is the ability for citizens to sue agencies for not meeting the new shortened deadlines. Another provision left out of the law would have made it easier to build interstate electric transmission lines aimed mostly at promoting development of renewable energy sources like wind and solar. Both provisions continue under discussion by Republicans and Democrats interested in adding further permitting reform provisions into law. The law also consolidates the review process for multi-agency projects under one “lead agency” that maintains the proceedings in a single document to avoid duplicative and extraneous work.
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 9 Proposed Underground Infrastructure GIS Mapping Pilot Program As Congress looks at updating the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) law, PCCA has been working to create a new underground infrastructure Geospatial Information System (GIS) mapping pilot program aimed at drastically reducing damages to both legacy (previously constructed) and newly constructed underground infrastructure systems. The $10 million over three years sought for this pilot program would focus on at least four locations. Establishing such an effort would lead to fewer damages, significant cost savings, and longer asset life while also improving public safety and protection of personal property. Capitalizing mapping activities and related resources can significantly benefit companies and incentivize the acceleration of developing this important resource. Because this work is extending the life and usefulness of an asset, related investments and work may be capitalized, including software developed and used for GIS mapping. The as-built process (locating facilities in relation to capital construction projects) may also be capitalized. An accurate and up-to-date mapping system will facilitate timelier locates, fewer damages, and a more efficient damage prevention system overall. It is important to note that underground utility operators that are subject to state regulatory oversight must have rates approved by the entity’s authorized regulatory body. Such regulatory bodies may or may not approve an operator’s request for capital funding of such activities. Information collected from the mapping projects would be available to one-call systems in partnership with the Common Ground Alliance. Lastly, to encourage broader deployment of this technology, utilities may capitalize, or place in the rate-base, all activities tied to GIS mapping of both new and previously constructed assets, including, but not limited to, software development, system locating costs, and legacy structures. Further action may take place in September when the pipeline subcommittee of the House of Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is expected to vote out a PHMSA reauthorization bill.
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 10 Construction contractors, subcontractors, and their employees are very familiar with heat issues on their projects, but record-breaking temperatures this summer have increased the focus on what employers must do to protect workers from heat illness. In a July 27 press conference at the White House, President Biden said that extreme heat is costing the U.S. $100 billion a year and that “the number-one weather-related killer is heat.” He also announced that he had asked the Department of Labor to issue a hazard alert reaffirming that workers have heat-related protections under federal law, and he warned states that aren’t protecting workers that he will be calling them out. He specifically mentioned construction workers “who literally risk their lives working all day in blazing heat, and in some places don’t even have the right to take a water break—that’s outrageous.” Given this unprecedented attention to the heat issue in America, this article will outline some of the recent and not-so-recent developments on heat illness prevention in the workplace. Federal OSHA Developments Per President Biden’s request, on July 27, federal OSHA issued a two-page Hazard Alert outlining employer responsibilities and reminding employers that the 2022 National Emphasis Program on heat illness remains in effect. It first reminds employers that “extreme heat can be deadly to workers” and that the U.S. is on track for the hottest summer on record. The Hazard Alert includes an outline of employer responsibilities: • It’s the law! Employers have a duty to protect workers against heat. Employers have a legal and moral responsibility not to assign work in high-heat conditions without protections in place for workers, where they could be literally worked to death. This is true, even in Texas, despite its recent law limiting local ordinances on heat illness protections. • At a minimum, employers should provide adequate cool water, rest breaks, and shade or a cool rest area for employees. • Give new or returning employees the chance to gradually acclimate (or become used to working in hot temperatures), to be trained and plan for emergencies, and to monitor for heat signs/ symptoms. • Train employees on heat illness prevention, signs of heat illness, and how to act immediately if they or another employee appears to be suffering from a heat-related illness. The alert also outlines worker rights and OSHA’s plan for stepped-up federal enforcement. It refers employers and workers to resources available at osha. gov/heat. As a follow up to the Hazard Alert, DOL issued another heat illness update on July 31, The Heat Source. In addition to referring to its Hazard Alert, it also announced some new resources for heat illness prevention: • A downloadable sticker entitled “Don’t Wait…HYDRATE” that can be given to workers, placed around the workplace, including on hard hats, and in break areas to encourage drinking cool water. • A Heat Illness Illustrated Fact Sheet that shows how heat illness can be prevented and actions to take when workers experience symptoms HUMAN RESOURCES Greg Guidry Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart firstname.lastname@example.org (337) 769-6583 OSHA Can Burn Employers Not Focused on Heat Illness Prevention By Greg Guidry & Karen Tynan Karen Tynan Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart email@example.com
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 11 • A chart showing different color urine samples that indicate different levels of hydration from “well-hydrated” to “severely dehydrated” that can be posted in the workplace. From a legal standpoint, federal OSHA does not have a heat-illness-specific regulation but does seek to enforce employee protections using the general duty clause. Federal OSHA’s position is that under the General Duty Clause, Section 5(a)(1) of the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, employers are required to provide their employees with a place of employment that “is free from recognized hazards that are causing or likely to cause death or serious harm to employees.” The courts have interpreted OSHA’s general duty clause to mean that an employer has a legal obligation to provide a workplace free of conditions or activities that either the employer or industry recognizes as hazardous and that cause, or are likely to cause, death or serious physical harm to employees when there is a feasible method to abate the hazard. This includes heat-related hazards that are likely to cause death or serious bodily harm. On October 27, 2021, federal OSHA published an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) for Heat Injury INTELLIGENT JETTING MACHINES Plumettaz America Corp. 225 Thrasher Pike, Soddy Daisy, TN 37379 www.plumettaz.com, 1-855-PLUMETT Plumettaz now offers Intelligent Jetting Machines that help monitor, supervise and record the performance of fiber optic cable installations to make your work more efficient. Thanks to an integrated computer and embedded software, users can generate full reporting at the completion of an installation or even offer remote monitoring in real time during the installation. Contact us for more information about the IntelliJet™ and OptiJet™. IntelliJet™ Cables from 4 - 16mm Ducts from 7 - 42mm OptiJet™ Cables from 1.5 – 8mm Ducts from 3 – 16mm INTELLIJET™ OPTIJET™ Continued on page 12
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 12 Human Resources Continued from page 11 and Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings in the Federal Register. With this publication, OSHA began the rulemaking process to consider a heat-specific workplace standard. Recently, Federal OSHA initiated the Small Business Regulatory Enforcement Fairness Act (SBREFA) process on June 20. This next step in the rulemaking process will include the convening of a Small Business Advocacy Review panel to gain input from small entity representatives on the potential impacts of a heat-specific standard. More information on the Heat Injury and Illness SBREFA can be found at www.osha.gov/heat/sbrefa. For those employers operating in federal OSHA jurisdictions, the heat-illness-prevention best practices can include a myriad of possibilities depending on the industry, the type of work, and exposure to heat. Examples of effective heatillness-prevention program elements include access to water, access to shade, training for heat illness awareness and responding to heat illness, and effective supervision of workers to respond to emergencies or other heat illness issues. Heat illness publications and training materials are available on OSHA’s website. If OSHA shows up for a heat-related inspection, PCCA members might expect the following: • A review of OSHA 300 logs and 301 incident reports for evidence of heat-related illnesses • A review of records of heat-related emergency room visits or ambulance transports • Interviews with workers for symptoms of headache, dizziness, fainting, dehydration, or other indicia of heat-related illness • Documentation of the existence of conditions, such as high temperature, that cause the heat-related hazards • A determination of whether the employer has a heat illness and injury program, including whether • the employer has a written program • the employer monitors temperature and worker exertion • there is unlimited cool water easily accessible to workers • there are required breaks for hydration • there are scheduled rest breaks • workers have access to a shaded area • new and returning workers are provided time for acclimatization • a “buddy” system is in place on hot days YOUR SOURCE FOR OPTICAL TROUBLESHOOTING Contact FS3, INC. at 320-274-7223 for additional kit details. The Flashpistol® PX-Q4XX series of tracer sources are designed to inject modulated tracer light into a fiber for use with all Photonix leak detection probes or fiber identifiers with 2kHz detection capability. The tracer sources are available as individual units or in kit form when paired with leak detection probes. The LightHawk™ light detection probe is state of the art in precision fiber optic fault location. It is designed to find an infrared glow from splices, connectors, bends, damage, or open ports. It can safely detect cable faults over long distances (>200 miles), in bright room light, and in many blue, green, and black coated fibers.
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PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 14 Every year, hundreds of thousands of dig-ins to underground utilities occur, costing the U.S. a staggering $30 billion annually. Each of these damages to underground infrastructure has the potential to cut communities off from critical services, cripple businesses with severe fines and repair costs, and cause serious injury or even loss of life. With construction steadily increasing over time and new investments into the country’s infrastructure on the rise, these damages will persist until all stakeholders come together to address the underlying, systemic issues that cause them. Common Ground Alliance (CGA), the national nonprofit trade association dedicated to protecting underground utility lines, people who dig near them, and their communities, issued its “50 in 5” industry challenge in early 2023 with a goal of reducing damages to critical underground utilities by 50 percent in five years. The “50 in 5” challenge aims to address persistent root causes head-on by bringing damage prevention advocates together around a targeted set of strategic, data-driven priorities. To achieve this bold goal, organizations across every facet of damage prevention must be aligned in their efforts to address the biggest challenges we all face. Responsibility is shared among all stakeholders: the excavators that dig, the locators that mark lines, the utility owner/operators, legislators and regulators, just to name a few. Only with the participation of all parties can we expect to drive significant change in the number of damages that occur to vital infrastructure. One of the greatest challenges facing damage prevention is the high rate of damages caused by “no notification to the 811 center,” or “no-call” damages, the number-one root cause of damages for the last 19 years. While not contacting 811 contributes to a significant number of avoidable damages, the positive is that it is a very straight-forward behavior change for excavators to make that can significantly reduce the number of damages. At CGA’s recent Summer Committee Summit, the Data Reporting & Evaluation Committee shared data from the most recent Damage Information Reporting Tool (DIRT) Report from 2022, which revealed that no-call damages accounted for 25 percent of all reported damages last year. These damages have a serious impact on the communities in which they occur. In 2022, 72 percent of no-call damages led to service interruptions, leaving communities without vital services like electricity, water, gas, and internet for significant amounts of time. More than three quarters (77 percent) of these no-call damages are caused by professional excavators, rather than by homeowners or farmers. Interestingly, according to awareness research conducted by CGA in 2019, 84 percent of professional excavators are aware of 811. This means that many of the excavators that contributed to no-call damages know about 811 but are making a conscious decision not to use it. Moving from Awareness to a Behavior Change It’s clear from the data that professional excavators know about 811 but are opting to not use it every time they excavate. The most common reasons that professionals gave for not contacting 811 included: Addressing the Persistent Challenge of No-Call Damages to Underground Utilities SM PCCA members Jerrod Henschel, Equix, and Josh Hinrichs, UtiliSource, participate in the recent CGA Summer Committee Summit in Gulf Shores, Alabama.
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 15 • Not digging deep enough to need marks • Project is in an area that doesn’t need marks • Digging in area where excavation has occurred in the past Some excavators make the calculation that not contacting 811 is worth the risk, versus the consequences of not beginning (or finishing) a job on time, or they have had negative experiences with the system and don’t trust it to provide on-time locates, so they opt to save time by skipping the step entirely. Thus, the focus must shift from making professional excavators aware of 811 as a service to making sure that they use 811 for every dig, every time. Damage prevention communicaHaving worked in the utility and heavy civil construction industry for most of my life, I think one of the biggest issues we all deal with on a daily basis is damage prevention. If you’ve read the 811 system white paper produced by the Infrastructure Protection Coalition, you know that more than $60 billion is wasted on the inefficiencies and challenges within the damage prevention process every single year. This affects every excavator, nationwide. Commissioning of the IPC study helped to shine a bright light on the inefficiencies in the system. The question now is what will we do about it? The PCCA Excavation Safety Summit has been held in conjunction with the Common Ground Alliance (CGA) and Nulca at our annual conventions since 2020 and has helped to forge relationships between PCCA, CGA staff and board members, and the locating community. Over the last several years, several PCCA members and I have been very engaged with CGA. I’ve been working with CGA on the Next Practices advisory committee, as well as on the Damage Prevention Institute’s advisory board. Through this involvement, I’ve met folks from around the country who work in 811 centers, executives from large multi-state gas and electric utilities and pipeline systems, managers of city-owned utilities, and leaders of utility locating firms to name a few. As diverse as this group is, the amazing thing is that we tend to have far more agreement on the things that need to change than I would have initially expected. I firmly believe that our continued involvement with CGA is the most effective path we have for driving improvement in the damage prevention process. Some of the things we are working on include: • The development of GIS-based mapping applications to show facility locations. Take a look at the Pipeline Finder app by Marathon to see an example of how this can be done. • The implementation of electronic white lining systems for online ticket entry. Some states already offer this; many do not. • The removal of locating exemptions for municipalities or DOTs. As much as we all know about the danger of cross bores, it’s unconscionable that any facility operator is allowed exemptions, particularly storm and wastewater utilities. • Balanced enforcement. When utility operators, locators, or excavators egregiously fail to comply with the regulations, there must be enforcement mechanisms in place that take meaningful action. The heavy lift is that some of this change will require legislative activity at the state level to achieve results. When I reflect on the many things that PCCA has accomplished over the last several years, I am confident that our members will play a big role in supporting CGA and helping to push these key initiatives throughout the country. PCCA’s Vital Relationship with CGA By Jerrod Henschel, President & CEO, Equix, Inc. Continued on page 16
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 16 tion must go beyond what 811 is and focus on when and why to use it, as well as the potentially disastrous consequences of neglecting to use this vital service. During CGA’s Summer Committee Summit, the Data Reporting & Evaluation committee discussed the need for more accurate and complete damage reporting to better understand the reasons behind no-call damages. Many damages reported as no-call damages may also be from “invalid” tickets, such as subcontractor piggybacking, expired tickets, or instances when the excavator started work before all facility operators responded or they excavated outside the stated work area. CGA asks all damage prevention stakeholders to not only submit data to DIRT, but to provide the most detail possible in their submissions. These details help paint a complete picture of why the damages occur. Engage All Stakeholders to Increase Efficiency and Trust in the 811 System CGA committees also acknowledged that the fault isn’t solely on excavators. Inefficiencies in the system have led excavators to distrust the 811 process and, more specifically, facility operators and locating contractors to reliably and accurately mark facilities on time. An overburdened system has led to delayed locate times as well as inaccurate locates, eroding excavators’ trust in the system. More must be done across the board to make excavators trust in the system again so that they will use it reliably and correctly every time. CGA’s Next Practices Initiative is addressing the most critical challenges and strains on the system by encouraging innovation and new practices, going beyond existing Best Practices to establish the future of damage prevention processes. Leveraging industry data, quantitative surveys, and stakeholder input, the initiative has helped focus the industry on the advancement of the most effective solutions to damage prevention’s greatest obstacles, including GIS mapping and technologies and processes to improve efficiency, contracts, and enforcement mechanisms. “Many of the new technologies and strategies identified by the Next Practices Initiative address excavators’ common pain points with the system and will help the process run more effectively and efficiently,” said PCCA Past Chairman Jerrod Henschel, President & CEO at Equix, Inc., and a Next Practices Advisory Committee member. “With wider adoption and use of damage prevention strategies and technology proven to decrease damage incidents, we can work to rebuild excavators’ confidence in the system and increase their use of 811 to reduce no-call damages.” Increased participation of excavators--and all stakeholder groups--in damage prevention is key to improving the system in a way that addresses persistent challenges and benefits all groups. CGA’s Damage Prevention Institute (DPI), which launched in 2023, builds off the insights from the Next Practices Initiative, utilizing a stakeholder-centered approach to develop performance metrics and benchmarks. The DPI seeks to increase excavator participation in damage prevention by establishing a system that encourages accountability of all stakeholder groups, emphasizes engagement of all involved in the process, provides transparent and unbiased measurement, and helps develop key performance indicators to evaluate damage prevention efforts. The DPI and Next Practices Initiative are two examples of the type of collaborative, forward-thinking efforts that stakeholders must prioritize in order to make significant improvements in damage rates. With greater participation and insight from excavators, as well as a commitment from all stakeholders to transparency and accountability, we can establish damage prevention processes that will help to meet our industry’s goal of reducing damages by 50 percent by 2028. PCCA Past Chairman Jerrod Henschel wants his work with CGA to help rebuild excavators’ confidence in the 811 process and increase their use of 811 to reduce damages. Common Ground Alliance Continued from page 15
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PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 19 PCCA Members Hold Productive Mid-Year in Dana Point More than 240 PCCA members, family, and friends traveled to picturesque Dana Point, Calif., in August for the 2023 Mid-Year Meeting, where they discussed workforce development, immigration reform, infrastructure funding, the economic outlook for utility construction markets, damage prevention, and much more. PCCA also premiered two new videos that it produced, one on the vital need for immigration reform and the other on careers in utility construction. And, of course, PCCA members enjoyed each other’s company at fantastic parties, on the beach, by the pool, on the links, and on tours around this beautiful stretch of Southern California’s coast. PCCA Chairman Ed Campbell of Quanta Services and his wife, Carolyn, welcomed members to Dana Point and the Mid-Year with a fun Sunday evening reception on the resort’s Grand Lawn, where folks caught up with old friends, met new people, and talked a little business in a very chill atmosphere. The Mid-Year kicked off in earnest the following morning with keynote speaker Steve Gilliland, a baseball announcer turned greeting card writer turned author turned prolific speaker, who now is a member of the Speaker Hall of Fame. Gilliland wowed the PCCA crowd with a talk that was part stand-up comedy, part motivational speech, and wholly entertaining. He focused on the value of purpose, passion, and pride in what you do with your life. “Talent might take you to the top,” he advised, “but taking pride in what you do is what will keep you there.” Following a comedian that just lit up the room is tough, especially if you’re a couple of economist types, but FMI’s Daniel Shumate and Continuum Capital’s Mark Bridgers were up to the task. They led a lively and informative discussion on the economic conditions in the markets where PCCA members work. While the news was largely positive, they did point out many potential pitfalls on the road ahead. Shumate said that the opportunity in these markets is great but also complex: “There are lots of puzzle pieces to put together.” Tuesday was roundtable day (and golf, but let’s stick to business), starting with the Education Issues Roundtable, moderated by PCCA President & CEO Tim Wagner, who discussed his work with the Ohio Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation. Todd Myers, Kenneth G. Myers Construction, talked about the proposed Broadband Innovation Center at Terra State Continued on page 20
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 20 Community College in Ohio. Chase Lapcinski, PUSH, Inc., reported on progress Northwood Tech and the new Wisconsin Broadband Workforce Coalition. Shane Matthews, ElectriCom, talked about progress at Somerset Community College and the company’s new Regional Training Facility in Jeffersonville, Ind. Andy Christine, Sellenriek Construction, discussed the Utility Systems Technician program at State Tech and the Missouri Workforce Development grant awarded to Sellenriek Construction. The Government & Industry Affairs Roundtable, deftly moderated by John Fluharty, Mears Group, featured Jon Baselice, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, on immigration issues; Daryl Bouwkamp, Vermeer, on supply chain issues and Buy America rules; Sarah Magruder Lyle, Common Ground Alliance, on GPS mapping of underground facilities; Marissa Mitrovich, Fiber Broadband Association, on federal broadband funding; and Mark Bridgers, Continuum Capital, on the Wall Street Journal report on abandoned lead telecom cables. During the session, PCCA showed a preview of its new video, The Economics of Immigration, featuring Mark Bridgers and produced by the PCCA Government Affairs Committee and Corpora Studios. On the Mid-Year’s final night, everyone enjoyed the Farewell Dinner and a lovely SoCal evening. Chairman Ed Campbell thanked the members for an extremely productive Mid-Year. He gave a big thank you to the meeting’s sponsors (see the full list on page 18) and the many first-time attendees. He urged all members to get more involved. “That’s what makes PCCA a success, and that’s what helps us make a difference.” Mid-Year Recap Continued from page 19 Ground Restoration Made Easy Reduce overall project costs by performing your own ground restoration. FINN hydroseeders are easy to use so it takes minimal instruction to achieve maximum profit. Since 1935 Finn has been the worldwide leader in tough, durable, and reliable ground restoration equipment. Learn more at www.finncorp.com. 5 Sure the Steve Gilliland speech was hilarious, but folks at the Government & Industry Affairs Roundtable were also highly entertained by the John & Sarah Show.
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 21 Industry Education • Premium Networking • Great Times! 79th ANNUAL CONVENTION Turtle Bay Resort, Kahuku, Oahu, Hawaii March 8-13, 2024
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 22 Images of Mid-Year 2023 6 PCCA Chairman Ed Campbell, Quanta Services, closed out the Mid-Year Meeting with a big thank you to the meeting’s sponsors and the first-time attendees. He urged all members to get more involved. “That’s what makes PCCA a success, and that’s what helps us make a difference.”
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 23 6 During the Economic Issues Roundtable, FMI’s Daniel Shumate and Continuum Capital’s Mark Bridgers had mostly positive news, but they pointed out several disruptive issues that could cause problems. “There’s not a hurricane wrecking our ship; it’s more like rogue waves- -unforeseen and unpredictable-- that are disrupting the ship,” Bridgers said. 4 Keynote speaker Steve Gilliland was hilarious, touching, and spot-on with his message. His talk focused on the value of purpose, passion, and pride in what you do with your life. “If you lose passion, you lose focus--tilt, game over.”
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 24 3 Chase Lapcinski, PUSH, Inc., reports on the growing Utility Construction Technician program at Northwood Tech and his company’s work the new Wisconsin Broadband Workforce Coalition. 5 During the Education Issues Roundtable, PCCA President & CEO Tim Wagner reports on the association’s work with the Ohio Governor’s Office of Workforce Transformation, which is heeding our advice to focus efforts on developing utility construction programs at technical schools and community colleges.
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 25 5 During the Government & Industry Affairs Roundtable, Daryl Bouwkamp, Vermeer, provided perspective on supply chain issues affecting our industry and Buy America Build America rules on federal broadband projects. 6 Taking a well-deserved break from their official duties, Ed & Carolyn Campbell cruise across Dana Point Harbor to the Pacific in search of whales, dolphins, and a relaxing day on the water.
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 26 5 Mackenzie Stephens, right, gabs with Meghan Akin; Erin Luttschwager, SCS Telecom Supply; and Sam Stephens, Tjader & Highstrom. 56 Enjoying the Welcome Reception (above) are Drema Stiffler, Witch Equipment Co., and Amy & Matt Thielke, Ditch Witch, and (below) Nate Newsome, GPRS, LLC; Jason Stone, Jameson, LLC; and Jim Wadkins, John Deere. 6 During the Board meeting, Associate Director Tom Fredericks, Polywater, kicks off a discussion of various Buy America provisions coming from different federal agencies. 3 Lots of folks were catching up with each other at the Chairman’s Welcome Reception, including (left) Mike & Lindsey Pringle, Vermeer, and Thomas & Cassaundra Jones, Primoris Services Corporation. 4 The PCCA Board of Directors tackled a full agenda of business on the Mid-Year’s first day. 6 Past PCCA Chairman & current Government Affairs Committee Chairman John Fluharty updates the Board on efforts to include funds for a GPS mapping project in the PHMSA reauthorization bill. 5 At the Chairman’s Welcome Reception, PCCA Chairman Ed Campbell welcomes fellow members to the elegant Waldorf Astoria Dana Point and the 2023 Mid- Year Meeting.
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 27 5 PCCA’s Tim Wagner welcomes a big crowd of association members to the Mid-Year’s Opening Session. 6 The PCCA audience, including Board member John Audi, Mears Group, appreciates Steve Gilliland’s hilarious presentation. 6 While Steve Gilliland’s talk got lots of laughs, it also had touching moments and some usable, practical life advice for his audience. 6 During the Economic Issues Roundtable, Mark Bridgers, Continuum Capital, discusses potential pitfalls on the industry’s horizon, including global instability, domestic political turmoil, the brutally hot summer throughout much of the country, and the lack of workforce availability. 6 Daryl Bouwkamp, Vermeer, weighs in during workforce development discussion at the Education Issues Roundtable. 4 Opening Session speaker Steve Gilliland showed the PCCA crowd why he’s a member of the National Speakers Association’s Speaker Hall of Fame.
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 28 6 While speaker presentations offer excellent educational opportunities, PCCA members like Garrett Akin and Jason Tyler, Brooks Construction Co., know that there’s great value in listening to industry veterans like PCCA Hall of Famer & Past Chairman Herb Fluharty, Mears Group. 3 Mike & Lori Harmon enjoy a gorgeous day out on the water. 5 Deb Bennett, Wireless Infrastructure Association, talks about apprenticeships and a new Building Pathways to Infrastructure Jobs grant application. 6 While whales proved elusive (Did you see that one? Maybe kinda might have), dolphins entertained the PCCA crew throughout the day. 3 The engagement of members—from comments and questions to notetaking and head-nodding—demonstrates the value of PCCA roundtable sessions. 4 Nate & Kelly Wendt, Millennium, peer across the horizon during the Dolphin Safari/Whale Watching Tour.
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 29 3 Even when the sessions end, the conversations continue, here with Jerry Beyer, Vermeer, and Thomas Jones, Primoris Services Corporation and above with Rex Schick, K&W Underground, and Tom Fredericks, Polywater. 4 Mark Bridgers, Continuum Capital, shares his take on the Wall Street Journal report on abandoned lead telecom cables and why it might have come out now. 6 Marissa Mitrovich, Fiber Broadband Association, discusses federal broadband funding and the value of the FBA/PCCA partnership. “We’re better when we unify. We are a louder voice.” 4 Brad Radichel, Condux International, and Josh Hinrichs, UtiliSource, keep the conversation going following the issue roundtables. 6 Jon Baselice, U.S. Chamber of Commerce, spoke about the chamber’s LIBERTY Campaign, which urges Congress to enact legislation that secures our borders and modernizes our legal immigration system. 5 Overcoming his natural shyness, Dan Levac of PLP & the PCCA Hall of Fame, offers suggestions to get PCCA’s message out to the masses. 4 Sarah Magruder Lyle, Common Ground Alliance, explains the value of GPS mapping of underground facilities during the Government & Industry Affairs Roundtable.
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 30 5Shane Matthews, ElectriCom, has selected driver—unleash the Big Dog! 5 Good looking chip from James Berry, Berry-It. 3 Jason Tyler, Brooks Construction Co., congratulates Scott Robinson, Blue Diamond Industries, after he rolls in a long putt. 4PCCA Past Chairman Jim Dillahunty blasts out of the rough, and Wayne Pacheco, Wheeler Machinery Company, keeps an eye on the ball. 6 The picturesque Monarch Beach Golf Links was an amazing venue for the PCCA Golf Tournament. James Wagner, PCCA; Michael Whitebread, J.J. Kane Auctioneers; and Don Stephens, Tjader & Highstrom are impressed with Erin Luttschwager’s (SCS Telecom Supply) shot from the fairway. 6 4John Xanthos, VCI Construction, watches his drive sail down the fairway. 6Chris Parrack, Sterling Site Access Solutions, helps Garrett Akin, Brooks Construction Co., read his putt, but it’s the hat that brings him luck: Boomer Sooner!
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 31 4Ali Zickler and Tara Arismendy share a laugh at the Final Dinner. 3PCCA Treasurer Heath Sellenriek, Sellenriek Construction, and his wife, Roxanne. 35The Pacific Lawn was an ideal venue for the Farewell Dinner and a great place for photo ops, like Jack & Janis Lapcinski, PUSH, Inc., left, and Jim & Jessica Zak Rob & Tammy Manthei from Case Construction, above. 4Enjoying the reception are Christi Bryan and Olga Espinosa. 6Druffel family photo with Justin, Elizabeth, Bennett & Edison.
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 32 POWER NEWS Energy Department Announces $48 Million in Grid Resilience Grants The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on August 17 announced that three states and nine tribal nations will receive a combined total of $48.4 million as the sixth cohort of Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants. Supported by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and administered by DOE’s Grid Deployment Office, these grants will help modernize the electric grid to reduce impacts of climate-driven extreme weather and natural disasters while also ensuring power sector reliability, DOE said. “From remote and rural communities to urban centers, it is essential that every pocket of America has a strong and reliable energy grid that can deploy cleaner, cheaper power to homes and businesses,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. Since May 2023, DOE has distributed more than $455.5 million in Grid Resilience Formula Grants. The August 17 cohort of three states and nine tribal nations will receive a combined total of $48.4 million. Over the next five years, the Grid Resilience State and Tribal Formula Grants will distribute a total of $2.3 billion to states, territories, and federally recognized tribes, including Alaska Native Regional Corporations and Alaska Native Village Corporations, based on a formula that includes factors such as population size, land area, probability and severity of disruptive events, and a locality’s historical expenditures on mitigation efforts. The states, territories, and tribes will then award these funds to complete a diverse set of projects, with priority given to efforts that generate the greatest community benefit while providing clean, affordable, and reliable energy. Chamber Analysis Highlights Flaws with EPA Power Plant Proposal A new analysis by the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute found significant flaws with the methodology used in EPA’s new carbon pollution standards for coal and natural gas-fired power plants. “The Chamber strongly supports a low carbon transition and has been among the biggest supporters of investments in research, development and deployment of advanced nuclear, renewables, carbon capture and sequestration, and a host of other technologies,” said Dan Byers, Vice President of Climate and Technology at the U.S. Chamber’s Global Energy Institute. “However, effective and durable emissions policies must be based on transparent and realistic analysis of potential regulatory impacts. EPA should work to prepare such an analysis by addressing the shortcomings we’ve identified before moving forward with any rulemaking.” Coal and natural gas today make up about 60 percent of America’s electricity production. The U.S. Chamber analysis reveals major flaws in the Regulatory Impact Analysis of the new powerplant standards, which provides analysis of the costs and benefits underpinning EPA’s claims of societal gains with minimal costs. These serious shortcomings in the analysis undercut the rule and reveal that the cost-benefit calculations are deeply flawed. “Given the essential role that affordable and reliable electricity plays in every aspect of our lives, this rule has the potential to be among the most impactful proposals from the Biden administration,” said Heath Knakmuhs, Vice President and Policy Counsel for the Chamber’s Global Energy Institute. “Our analysis demonstrates that EPA’s assumptions are unrealistic and fail to take into account our broken permitting process and the administration’s own push for electrification, which will have a material impact on electricity supply and demand.” The new U.S. Chamber analysis found: * Unrealistic claims of massive emissions reductions occurring in the absence of the new rule, which leads to significantly suppressed cost projections. * Omissions of materially increased electricity demand from
PCCA Journal|3rd Quarter 2023 33 other EPA rulemakings, which will place greater stress on the power grid. * Modeling outputs and real-world data that call into question the deployment timelines of carbon capture and sequestration, which is the technology that EPA is relying on as the centerpiece for industry compliance with the rule. The full analysis is at https://www.globalenergyinstitute. org/sites/default/files/2023-06/USCC_EPA%20Powerplant%20Rule%20Analysis_2023.FINAL_.pdf. DOE Awards $34 Million to Advance Clean Hydrogen On August 17, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced the award of nearly $34 million to 19 industry- and university-led research projects that will advance cutting-edge technology solutions to make clean hydrogen a more available and affordable fuel for electricity generation, industrial decarbonization, and transportation. “Clean hydrogen is one of our most versatile tools to slash emissions and forge a carbon-free pathway for a sustainable clean energy future,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “With today’s announcements, DOE is supporting the continued advancement of clean hydrogen technology making it cheaper to produce and easier to deploy, all while creating good-paying jobs in the process.” Hydrogen is a clean fuel that can be used in a fuel cell or a gas turbine to create electricity with only water and heat as byproducts. Clean hydrogen can be produced from zeroemissions electricity generated by wind, solar, geothermal, and nuclear, as well as from conversion of leak-tight natural gas and sustainably sourced biomass with carbon capture and storage. However, currently more than 95 percent of the roughly 10 million metric tons of hydrogen produced in the United States comes from natural gas without the capture and geologic storage of carbon dioxide, which results in significant emissions. This is why advancing clean hydrogen production is important to help address climate change. DOE’s National Energy Technology Laboratory (NETL), under the purview of DOE’s Office of Fossil Energy and Carbon Management (FECM), will manage the selected projects. Projects will focus on: 1.800.238.7514 WBE Certified ptsupply.com Continued on page 34www.pccaweb.org