Archive for the 'Industry Activities' Category

CASE Announces Fourth-Annual Dire States Equipment Grant

Grant provides $25,000 in free equipment use to one winning community to repair and/or build local infrastructure or other critical systems. 
CASE Construction Equipment has issued the call for entries for the 2019 Dire States Equipment Grant. Submissions can be made at DireStates.com/Grant. The 2019 entry deadline is March 31, 2019, and the winner will be announced in April 2019.
Originally launched in 2016, the Dire States Grant provides one winning community with $25,000 in free equipment use to help offset the costs of building or repairing a critical piece of local infrastructure. Representatives of municipal, county and other local governments are eligible to apply. Entrants will be asked to describe the project and provide a detailed assessment of how that local piece of infrastructure will benefit the community.
Examples of suitable infrastructure projects include: road/bridge repair or construction, utility pipe replacement, erosion control along lakes and rivers, wastewater system improvements, school projects and park/recreational construction. All projects that fall within the 16 core categories of infrastructure, as identified by ASCE in its Infrastructure Report Card, will be considered.
The 2018 winner was Surrey, North Dakota. The community used the grant to significantly transform the city’s rainwater runoff and roadway drainage.
“We wouldn’t have been able to complete this amount of work in 100 years – and this has saved Surrey more than $100,000 in work that otherwise wouldn’t have been done,” said Keith Hegney, public works director, Surrey, North Dakota.
“Surrey represents the ideal Dire States entrant  — a community that was able to show the compounding benefit of infrastructure improvements on other elements of the city’s systems and future growth,” says Michel Marchand, vice president — North America, CASE Construction Equipment. “Entries for this grant have increased exponentially each year, which highlights the continued need for a greater focus on local infrastructure funding and development.”
“While Federal funding is critical to long-term sustainability of the nation’s infrastructure, it’s the network of local projects that most directly impact our daily lives,” says Athena Campos, senior director of marketing, CASE Construction Equipment. “At CASE, we’re working together with our dealers and customers to make a difference in building those local communities.”
All local governments in the United States are eligible to apply. A full list of rules and submission criteria are available at DireStates.com/Grant. For more information on Dire States, visit DireStates.com. For more information on CASE, visit CaseCE.com.

Utility Contractor Offers 7 Lessons in Entrepreneurship to Kick Off the New Year

Utility Contractor Offers 7 Lessons in Entrepreneurship
to Kick Off the New Year

 Going from selling directional drill rigs and underground equipment to running your own utility construction business requires a big leap of faith and a lot more. Scott Kandziora shares what he’s learned since he co-founded Milwaukee-based Underground Specialists in 2000.

1. Grab onto new utility technology 
Kandziora sold for Ditch Witch for five years out of college. Self-contained directional drilling equipment had just begun to transform the boring industry. “I grabbed on to the new technology because it gave me credibility with veteran customers,” says Kandziora. He trained crews on the rigs that he sold and saw a lot of people were not doing it right. He saw an opportunity to make money by doing things the right way.

2. Find a partner
Kandziora convinced Jerry Peterson, a former Ditch Witch principal, to go into business with him. Peterson had the industry contacts in Wisconsin and the funds needed for the start-up. “He really mentored me,” says Kandziora. The two worked together until Peterson retired in 2004 and Kandziora bought his share of the business.

3. Diversify your services
When Underground Specialists first launched, installing fiber optic cable for telephone companies was the primary source of income. By 2002, that market had dried up. “It forced us to go into the sewer and water market, where there was a lot more to learn about drilling,” says Kandziora.

When the government began subsidizing geothermal systems in the late 2000s, Underground Specialists pursued that market. They gradually added electrical and vacuum truck work to the mix.

In the last five years, the company expanded work in electrical, adding additional equipment and crew members to complete parking lot bases. “Diversification helps boost your sales,” he says. “When one market is down, another tends to perform well.”

4. Get utility crews invested in the business
Before Kandziora owned his own company he witnessed a lot of utility construction workers who just didn’t care about their work. “I never wanted to hear that from my employees,” he says. His solution was to create a profit-sharing system that allows employees to reap the benefits that come from working above and beyond on the job to help the company be profitable. “It promotes the attitude I want,” he says. When the company was too small to be able to provide health insurance for employees, he provided additional pay as compensation.

In today’s tight labor market, Kandziora is more inclined to hire less experienced workers and train them. “They don’t come with problems or bad habits learned from other contractors,” says Kandziora. Among his crew are a former landscaper, truck driver, roofer and a machine hand that are now all underground operators. Three supervisors are responsible for training the new hires on the drill rigs.

5. Be self-motivated
“I see a lot of small business owners sitting at home and waiting for the work to come,” says Kandziora. “I don’t think you can do that in this market. You have to be prepared to work long hours.” Kandziora believes it’s important to complete every bidding opportunity. “It’s easy to drop the ball and say, I’ll bid the next one.”

6. Recognize when you need to let go of the reins
Expanding from one crew to two crews in 2017 was a huge step for Kandziora’s business. “As a new business owner, it took me a long time to let go of the reins, to not be on every job site, controlling every aspect of it. It’s very difficult to let go and trust guys to keep the good name that you have been building. I finally realized that if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to sell the company when I wanted to retire,” says Kandziora. Finding and keeping good employees becomes even more important when you grow.

7. Stay up-to-date on the latest products and technology
Kandziora recognizes the importance of staying up-to-date on technology but admits with a growing company, it’s difficult to find time for reading. “Attending ICUEE is my opportunity to catch up on what’s new and what’s out there and it gives the guys a team-building experience,” he says. The entire team is included because each person has their own ideas of what might help on their projects. At the next ICUEE show, he will be paying special attention to vacuum trucks, drill rig electronics, drill rig innovations, and trucks.

“At ICUEE 90 percent of the equipment will directly help us on our sites. The fact that we can get on the machine is a huge benefit. It’s different from any other show we go to.”

Save the date for ICUEE, The Demo Expo for the Construction and Utility Industries, Oct. 1-3, 2019, Louisville, KY. To get the latest information about the show, sign up for show alerts.

Matt Jeanneret Has Been Named Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of ARTBA

Matthew J. Jeanneret has been named executive vice president and chief operating officer of the Washington, D.C.-based American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA), effective Nov. 1.

Matt Jeanneret

Jeanneret, who joined ARTBA in 1998 as director of public affairs, has been serving as the association’s deputy chief operating officer since January.  As ARTBA’s senior vice president of communications and marketing over the past decade, he led its award-winning external communications initiatives aimed at building political support for increased transportation infrastructure investment in the past four federal highway and transit program authorization laws.

“Matt’s 20 years of accomplished service have well prepared him for this new role,” ARTBA’s Acting President and CEO William Toohey said. “Over that time, he has been instrumental in the success of the association’s advocacy, safety, education, and member services programs.  Matt is a proven leader, an effective manager and has a deep commitment to the association’s mission, membership, and staff.”

Since 2005, Jeanneret has also served as the ARTBA Transportation Development Foundation’s (TDF) executive director.  In this role, he raised more than a half-million dollars for the Lanford Family Highway Worker Memorial Scholarship Program, which helps the children of those killed or permanently injured on the job attend college.  He played a key role in the development and 2016 launch of the TDF’s “Safety Certification for Transportation Project ProfessionalsTMprogram, which was accredited by the American National Standards Institute earlier this year.

Jeanneret earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) designation in 2005 from the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), a credential held only by five percent of those in the field.  He is a 2009 graduate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Institute for Organization Management (IOM), a four-year non-profit leadership program.

From 1994-1996, Jeanneret served as the chief media spokesman for two state agencies in Massachusetts Governor William Weld’s administration.  In 1992, he received a presidential appointment to serve as a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Justice in the administration of George H.W. Bush.  He began his career in 1989 as a legislative aide to now-retired U.S. Senator Alan K. Simpson (R-Wyo.).

Jeanneret’ s significant volunteer work includes service with the ASAE Foundation’s Development Committee (2014-17), ASAE 2020 Centennial Research Initiative Task Force (2016-present), and Our Lady of Good Counsel High School’s (Olney, Md.) Board of Directors (2013-2016) and Advancement Committee (2010-present).

He is a native of the Metropolitan Washington area and has a B.A. from Boston College and an M.A. from The George Washington University in Washington, D.C.  He and his wife, Elizabeth, reside in Arlington, Va.

Established in 1902, ARTBA represents the U.S. transportation construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, the courts, news media, and general public.

For more information on ARTBA visit www.artba.org

AEM Encouraged by Trilateral Trade Agreement

Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) President Dennis Slater issued the following statement today about the announced United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).
“The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) is a step in the right direction,” said Dennis Slater, President of AEM. “Trade agreements provide better access to customers across the globe and help us add to the 1.3 million jobs our industry supports in the United States. We urge this administration to continue working closely with the Canadian and Mexican governments to enact policies that promote continued economic growth for our industry.”
Nearly 30 percent of all equipment produced in the U.S. is intended for export and Canada and Mexico are the first and second-largest export markets for both U.S. construction and agricultural equipment. Since the creation of NAFTA two decades ago, the equipment manufacturing industry has benefited greatly from duty-free access to our industry’s largest two export markets, Canada and Mexico.
AEM is the North American-based international trade group representing off-road equipment manufacturers and suppliers, with more than 1,000 companies and more than 200 product lines in the agriculture and construction-related industry sectors worldwide. The equipment manufacturing industry in the United States supports 1.3 million jobs and contributes roughly $159 billion to the economy every year.

Michelin Celebrates the Spirit of Exploration and Travel with Nationwide Rock-Painting Contest

In the early days of motoring, Edouard and Andre Michelin introduced the famed Michelin Guide to encourage people to drive their automobiles farther and more frequently. They encouraged people to explore and sightsee as they traveled, enjoying their newfound mobility.

Celebrating the same spirit of exploration and mobility that continues today, Michelin North America introduces #MichelinRocks, a nationwide painted-rock initiative. Travelers participate by painting a rock and sharing its photo on designated social media channels.

“Nearly 120 years ago, the Michelin brothers called for travelers to take to the road in search of new adventures. We hope #MichelinRocks encourages the same spirit of travel, companionship, and adventure,” said Jill Goulette, director of B2B customer experience for Michelin North America. “Travelers of all ages are trading painted rocks that commemorate their journeys and form creative connections with other people. These values reflect the lasting vision of Michelin’s founders.”

Contest begins Sept. 24

Michelin will distribute 100 yellow-painted rocks in California, Florida, Georgia, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Montana. The rocks — painted by artist Darcie Arnold of Simpsonville, S.C. — will be hidden in public places, such as campgrounds, local parks, downtown areas, bus stops and so on. Travelers who find a yellow Michelin-branded rock may share a photo on social media that is tagged #MichelinRocks.

Using properly acquired rocks, participants in Youth or Adult categories may create their own painted rocks for a prize: one side should feature their favorite vehicle for travel (such as a car, RV, bicycle, plane, SUV, motorcycle, bus, truck, camper, UTV), and the other side should include the #MichelinRocks hashtag. All valid entries must include a travel vehicle and the proper hashtag. Share a photo on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram that’s tagged #MichelinRocks. A $500 donation will be made to the school’s art program of the youth winner and a $250 gift card will be awarded to the adult winner. Read more about the contest rules and restrictions, or submit an entry, by visiting michelintruck.com/keepitmoving.

Note: National and state parks prohibit the removal of rocks from their properties and have a “leave it as you found it” policy, which also means painted rocks cannot be left in the parks.

About MICHELIN NORTH AMERICA

Dedicated to the improvement of sustainable mobility, Michelin designs manufactures and sells tires for every type of vehicle, including airplanes, automobiles, bicycles, earthmovers, farm equipment, heavy-duty trucks, and motorcycles. The Company has earned a long-standing reputation for building innovative premium tires.  In addition to tires, the Company also publishes travel guides, hotel and restaurant guides, maps and road atlases. Headquartered in Greenville, S.C., Michelin North America employs more than 20,000 people and operates 19 major manufacturing plants in the U.S. and Canada. Forbes magazine has ranked Michelin No. 1 on its annual survey of “Best Large Employers in America” for 2018. Learn more about purpose-driven careers with a purpose-driven company at jobs.michelinman.com.