SC&RA carries on industry legacy

By D.Ann Shiffler09 March 2021

A legendary entity for 73 years, the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association is simply the best.

Bigger, taller, wider, heavier – these are the superlatives that have driven mankind throughout the ages. Sometimes the goal has been to make a monumental statement about an individual or entire society, such as with the Great Pyramids, the Eiffel Tower or the Statue of Liberty. At other times, the purpose has been to serve the needs of commerce and an ever-growing population, as with the Panama Canal, the Hoover Dam or the sprawling refineries of the Gulf Coast. And sometimes the mission is to preserve a piece of history for future generations – to save a building from the onslaught of progress or rescue a lighthouse from the relentless pounding of the sea. Regardless of the motive, these feats of engineering and design have pressed the limits of human physical strength; have led to the design of magnificent move and lifting machines that are engineering marvels in their own right; and finally, have brought together machines and human intelligence in a sophisticated harmony far beyond the wildest dreams of our forebears.                                    – Prologue, Lifting & Moving the World

Industry super power

No entity has done more to help the crane, rigging and specialized transportation sector around the world than the Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association (SC&RA). The remarkable staff and truly amazing volunteer leadership have made SC&RA a model for industry trade associations globally. The SC&RA is direct and to-the-point in what it needs to accomplish, never mired in politics or triviality. Above all, SC&RA has a big heart – its members are its family.

Lifting & Moving the World chronicles the SC&RA’s history from 1948 to 2008.

Today the SC&RA has close to 1,400 members from 46 countries.

SC&RA states its mission is simple: “We advocate, educate and provide networking opportunities that help industry stakeholders operate safely, legally and profitably around the world. We also help our members run more efficient and safer businesses by monitoring and affecting pending legislation and regulatory policies at the state and national levels. We do this by researching and reporting on safety concerns and best business practices, and by providing four yearly forums where these and other relevant member issues can be discussed and advanced.”

Every five years, SC&RA focuses on a strategic plan, which today encompass workforce development, advocacy, member involvement, technology, global leadership and operational objectives.

In the November issue of ACT, amid the dark days of the Covid-19 pandemic, SC&RA CEO Joel Dandrea put it well:

“Thank God we serve an industry that is so critically essential to the U.S. and the global economy. Our ability to get that essential critical infrastructure designation at the onset of the Covid-19 crises from Homeland Security enabled our industry to continue on two feet and move forward. While our industry has been challenged, many other industries have it far worse and will require much more time and financial resources to bounce back.”

SC&RA was formed in 1947 as laws and regulations specifically affecting the transport of specialized loads started to change.

Looking back

Post-World War II, America was growing at a rapid pace and there was a heightened need to haul goods and equipment to construction sites over greater distances. Heavy loads needed to be lifted to the tops of ever-taller structures. During the war, cranes and heavy equipment were produced for the military. By the late 1940s, the demand had skyrocketed.

In December 1948, the Heavy Haulers, Machinery Movers and Erectors Section of the Local Cartage National Conference (LCNC) was born. An outgrowth of the American Trucking Associations, the LCNC represented the needs and interests of local trucking operators. In 1958, the Heavy Haulers, Machinery Movers and Erectors section of the LCNC petitioned the ATA board to become a separate conference. In 1965, a Crane & Rigging section was formed.

“I remember when we reached 400 members in 1972 and we thought it was a big deal,” said the late T. Bragg McLeod, who was chairman that year. “And then we reached the 500-member milestone in 1974.”

In 1979, it was time for the association to spin off from the ATA. This would happen the same year as the passage of the Motor Carrier Regulatory Reform and Modernization Act in 1980. This legislation heightened the sense of family among members, and in 1981, this unity resulted in a new name: Specialized Carriers and Rigging Association.

While SC&RA has experienced challenging years (2011 and the attacks of 9-11 come to mind), the Covid-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc, causing in-person event cancellations and a whole host of other problems. But the membership and staff are undaunted, powering through the issues and problems and greatly looking forward to seeing each other again in 2021.

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