An association can sometimes be most effective when serving those benevolent interests of members which cannot be met effectively by individual action. Sometimes, opportunities arise in which SC&RA can become even more powerful by forming partnerships with other associations.

Significant benefits flow to society from the work of associations. Representing an enormous collective presence, associations impart social and economic benefits that touch untold millions of Americans every day.

For the nearly 60 years of its existence, SC&RA has taken seriously its role as a good corporate citizen. For example, programs to enhance safety on the highway or the worksite have always been of the utmost importance to the association and its membership.

Our association is most effective when serving those benevolent interests of members which cannot be met effectively by individual action. Sometimes, opportunities arise in which SC&RA can become even more powerful by forming partnerships with other associations.

Such is the case with our efforts to support a program of the Edison Electric Institute (EEI), an association of shareholder-owned electric companies. EEI's Spare Transformer Equipment Program (STEP), approved earlier this year by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is a vehicle that helps utilities and utility representatives to work together through a sharing agreement to be better able to restore service to customers in the event of deliberate destruction of utility substations. Of course, STEP could also be a viable program following a hurricane or other natural disaster.

On October 17, SC&RA executive staff met with EEI representatives to discuss ways that SC&RA and its members can support STEP. Toward this end, EEI is seeking SC&RA members to serve on a STEP task force to consider potential possibilities for cooperation. EEI plans to establish this task force before the end of 2007.

SC&RA's involvement in this effort makes good sense because our association's members generally are the companies called upon to transport, lift and position large transformers. Three of the six winners in the association's most recent Hauling and Rigging Job of the Year competitions involved work in power plants.

We feel confident we can help keep STEP moving in the right direction. These efforts will build on a tradition initiated with Highway Watch. This highway sector's national safety and security program is administered by the American Trucking Associations (ATA) under a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration.

Highway Watch prepares America's transportation workers to prevent commercial vehicles or their cargo from being used as weapons and to protect the nation's critical infrastructure and other potential terrorist targets. Participating truckers add an important layer to our national security as they watch for suspicious situations and behavior along our nation's highways every day.

Making many SC&RA members an even more valuable resource in this endeavor is their familiarity with the targets favored by terrorists. If something looks out of the ordinary, these members most likely will notice.

SC&RA also participates in other ATA initiatives, as well as those of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other powerful organizations. Although the results these alliances deliver frequently benefit the general public, we generally favor programs that can have a positive impact for our members.

A prime example is the Drug-Free Workplace Alliance. SC&RA is one of 13 contractor associations and unions participating in this alliance organized by the U.S. Labor Department to focus on improving workplace safety and health in the construction industry through substance abuse prevention and intervention.

A study released July 16 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found that illicit drug use among construction workers was 15.1%, second only to food service workers at 17.4%. Substance abuse often leads to accidents, injuries and lost workdays.

As the association continues to seek out new alliances, we encourage members to become active participants. A great opportunity now exists for members interested in becoming involved with the STEP task force. For more information on STEP or other SC&RA important initiatives, contact the association at (703) 698-0291 or send me an e-mail to jdandrea@scranet.org

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