August 2019

NACE Update from President Tim Hens

Like the sands around the unusually high water of the Great Lakes, summer is washing away before our eyes.  From what I see on social media, it seems like many people are already sending their kids back to school.  We Northerners hold off on school until after Labor Day, which is also when our Highway Department aims to have most of its mainline road construction done. 

Along with the NACE Executive Committee, several past presidents, and many other NACE Members, I travelled to Clark County, Nevada for the National Association of Counties (NACo) Annual Conference.  Aside from surviving the 110°F heat, the general purpose of the visit was to participate in the Transportation Policy Steering Committee. NACE’s presence on this committee has increased substantially over the years, and our members now make up approximately one third of the committee, the remainder of which is filled out by elected county commissioners and representatives. We are also lucky enough to have two of our past presidents serving in committee leadership. Richie Beyer is a Committee Vice-Chair, and Rich Sanders is the Vice-Chair of the Highway Safety Subcommittee. Dan Fedderly, Executive Director from WCHA, is also a Vice-Chair of the Highway Safety Subcommittee. Our aim in participating on this committee is to be recognized as the “Technical Experts on Local Roads and Infrastructure”. When it comes to policy-making decisions affecting transportation, we want NACE to have a very important role.

Our members sponsored four of the 13 policy resolutions adopted by the committee. Significant focus was placed on the streamlining of federal aid delivery and finding a way for counties to spend this money with fewer strings attached. This continues to be a strong area of focus for NACE, whether dealing with NACo or with our elected representatives in Washington, DC.

I was able to provide a presentation to the committee promoting the purpose of NACE, providing some insight into our strategic focus areas and highlighting our inaugural Washington, DC Legislative Fly-in.  After the presentation I was able to talk with commissioners from several states where NACE has little to no representation from County Engineers. I am hopeful that we made some solid connections and left enough of an impression to encourage membership growth and influence in those states.

Aside from the Transportation Policy Steering Committee, we are encouraging NACE members to participate in other NACo Steering Committees. There are several opportunities for NACE to provide technical expertise and insight at the Environment, Energy & Land Use (EELU) Steering Committee, the Agriculture & Rural Affairs Steering Committee, the Large Urban Caucus and the Rural Action Caucus; to name a few. If you are interested in serving on one these committees, please contact our Executive Director Kevan Stone.

The NACE Executive Committee also met as part of the NACo trip. We continue to make headway in many strategic areas.  One area of recent focus has been increased member communication. We have added John Cole as Communications Assistant on staff, and he will be focusing on items such as updating our webpage, increasing our social media presence (#VOCRO) and working on developing a member message board system where NACE members can interact, ask questions and share best practices. If your county or state association have projects or stories they want to share, please let John know. We are hoping to start telling compelling stories to influence our elected leaders. As they say—a picture is worth 1,000 words!

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