By Terry White04 March 2008
SC&RA takes great pride in its record of membership growth and retention. During the past 20 years, the association has grown over 225 percent.
The association crossed the 1,200 company member mark for the first time in 2006 and is now making a push for 1,300 members by the end of this year.
Helping to make such growth possible has been the association's impressive overall member retention rate. In 2006, SC&RA enjoyed a 94 percent retention rate. The average retention rate for all associations is under 87 percent, according to the American Society of Association Executives.
The majority of SC&RA members have belonged to the association five years or longer, and 15 percent have belonged 20 years or longer. Thirty-nine members (3 percent) have been with the association for 40 years or more.
Since 1995, SC&RA has recognized member loyalty by presenting Longevity Awards during the Annual Conference. Companies receive these awards at five year intervals, beginning at 25 years.
At the 2008 Annual Conference, April 15-19, Bonita Springs, FL, SC&RA will honor six of its founding members with 60 Year Longevity Awards. Those companies are Dawes Rigging & Crane Rental, Dobson Industrial, Hastings Truck Company, Main Trucking & Rigging, Southwestern Industrial Contractors and Wilhelm Trucking & Rigging.
It should be noted that long-term statistics about membership are somewhat deceptive because they do not reflect mergers of member companies with other member companies. Although the merged companies may become larger and stronger than those they replace, the net effect is a reduction in the SC&RA membership total.
John Ward, SC&RA president and president of All States Freight System, Twinsburg, Ohio, says the unique nature of the membership instills loyalty to the association.
“This association and much of our industry were built by family-run companies,” he points out. “In a sense, the whole association has become like a family. Members within SC&RA go to great lengths to foster business partnerships, and many of these have developed into lifelong friendships.”
Like the businesses themselves, association membership often flows smoothly from generation to generation. Jim White, president of White Brothers Trucking, remembers attending SC&RA meetings with his father while still in high school. In 2006, White completed his term as SC&RA president and received his company's 50 Year Longevity Award on the same evening.
While placing a high value on its long-time members, SC&RA also makes a point of making new members feel welcome. The free meeting registration included with each new membership encourages members to become involved. Once at the meeting of their choice, they are greeted warmly during first-timer orientation sessions.
SC&RA efforts in recent years to attract new members and get them involved are paying off. The percentage of members who renewed after the first year jumped from 54 percent in 2001 to 87 percent in 2006.
Indeed, the association has made a concerted effort to improve the value of membership for all members. SC&RA has worked particularly hard to improve the quality of speakers, sessions and ambience of all major meetings. For example, the recent Crane & Rigging Workshop became more comprehensive with the addition of several marketing sessions. Similarly, SC&RA continues to seek improvements in its publications, government relations programs, safety products and more.
“Our association's numbers look good, but they don't tell the whole story,” says SC&RA Executive Vice President Joel Dandrea. “What counts most is that we have an extremely dedicated staff and involved membership that take an active role and great pride in working for the best interests of the entire industry.”