Post-49 – Utility Coordination (Part 7)

For the past six weeks we have been looking at the Utility Coordination aspects of Subsurface Utility Engineering. Today we will continue doing that and will hear more from Al Field (CEO of Al Fields & Associates). Al has been involved in Utility Coordination and Subsurface Utility Engineering for more than 40 years on behalf of the Arizona Public Service Company, Arizona Department of Transportation, Valley Metro Light Rail, TBE Group, Sky Train people mover at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, and now as a company owner. Today he has some good things to say about the value of belonging to and participating in the activities of Professional Associations. 


“Being a member of an Association has many benefits. I have belonged to one or more associations for almost 50 years, for as long as I have worked on governmental projects. I have worked for and retired from a utility company as well as served as a Utility Coordinator for several governmental agencies. Probably the most valuable association membership benefitting me during this time has been the American Public Works Association (APWA). Public works generally includes the operation and maintenance of pipelines, streets, and highways. Projects for the design and construction of these pipelines, streets, and highways are generally offered via contracts to civil engineering and contractor companies. Designing and constructing these projects generally affects utility facilities in some manner. So, it seems like a logical step to belong to an association with members of governmental agencies. The same is felt by engineers and contractors. Attending the association meetings offers fantastic opportunities to meet the people who are offering the projects, to develop relationships, and to hear their perspectives regarding the projects. Additionally, the meetings offer opportunities for speakers to present their perspectives about how to make projects run smoother, showcase new products, offer safety advice, and learn the details and schedules about upcoming projects. Attendance also reinforces the fact that you and your company are still available to serve. In addition to APWA, I belong to or have belonged to the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE, including several of their Institutes), American Society of Highway Engineers (ASHE), American Council of Civil Engineers (ACEC), Common Ground Alliance (CGA / 8-1-1), International Rights of Way Association (IRWA), National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA), and several others. Belonging to these associations provides opportunities to deepen relationships that may assist in securing work and assist in fine-tuning the needs of various companies/agencies you may work with. I recommend belonging to any association that fits your job description. It will increase your value to your company, make you some new friends, and give you opportunities to serve your community!”