By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

Councils, committees and task forces have formed an integral part of ARTBA’s organizational fabric for decades. While these entities have facilitated valuable policymaking by members, they have also served as entry points for volunteer industry advocates. Many of them have stayed engaged with ARTBA through the years, rising to important leadership positions.

For all these reasons, as ARTBA’s Strategic Planning Committee (SPC) carried out its work earlier this year, its members wanted to review and make recommendations to modernize the association’s governance structure. The result, as reflected in the strategic plan unanimously adopted by ARTBA’s Board of Directors in June, is a new concept: the Forum.

These entities will focus on key policy priorities reaffirmed by the SPC: Construction, Innovation & Technology, and Safety. Collectively, they provide a new path for members to collaborate on policy development, and share information and best practices. And they represent an approach beyond simply reorganizing ARTBA’s committees.

Why “Forums?”

Here are some important objectives the three forums will accomplish:

  • Empowering policymaking through task-oriented groups, focused on a specific mission and set of issues within a defined time frame.
  • Inviting and easing participation by members from all eight ARTBA divisions.
  • Providing organizational flexibility to address both perennial and emerging industry issues. Facilitating the sharing of division-specific policy concerns with members of other divisions.
  • Achieving consensus on important issues from across the membership, representing the diversity and common interests of the transportation construction industry generally.
  • Helping further the next generation of advocates and leaders.
  • Streamlining the roster of inactive or minimally active councils and committees by merging and eliminating them as needed.

“The name ‘forum’ is purposeful,” says Rich Juliano, ARTBA’s general counsel. “We want members to feel welcome participating and sharing their views, without the formalities that sometimes come with the older committee structure.”

“The forums will facilitate open, vibrant conversation,” he added. “They will be akin to ‘umbrellas’ covering their respective policy areas, but not ‘silos,’ since forums will collaborate on issues of common concern when appropriate.

Moreover, the forums are not a substitute for ARTBA’s eight membership divisions, which will remain as home base for the member segments they represent.”

Launching the Forums

Each forum has a chair or co-chairs, and a principal staff person, and a steering committee, with at least two representatives from each of the divisions. Each forum will launch in September with a dedicated, virtual meeting. See the dates below and watch artba.org and the Washington Newsline for more details.

Some committees, councils and task forces are being merged into the forums. Others are being eliminated. Even more importantly, each forum will have the ability to create a new committee, task force, work group or even a smaller informal collection of members to review a specific issue and report back recommendations as needed.

The meetings will feature outside presenters on select issues and ample time for internal discussion to set the priorities going forward. The forums will also help organize content for sessions taking place during major events, such as National Conventions, Federal Issue Programs and regional meetings.

It is important to note the forums will not absorb all existing councils and committees. Because of their uniqueness and respective purposes, the Industry Leader Development Council, Women Leaders in Transportation Design & Construction, and Transportation Investment Advocacy Council, will remain as currently structured.

Please review the leadership and structure of each forum.

INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY FORUM, Sept. 16

CHAIRSteve Berglund, Trimble

STAFF LIAISON: Allison Klein, aklein@artba.org

One chair or two co-chairs, one of whom will be drawn from the Materials & Services Division, will lead this forum. It will absorb the work of the recent task force on New Technologies, and focus on such areas as 3D technology, artificial intelligence, robotics, Unmanned Aerial System (UAS—commonly known as drones), and other innovations impacting transportation design, construction, maintenance and inspection.

It will also be home base for a work group monitoring state-level implementation of the repeal of the proprietary products rule. While ARTBA advocated for the repeal as a means of deploying safety enhancements and innovations on federal-aid highway projects, it is important that they do not lead to needless project cost increases. Through this work group, all interested members can share information as the repeal takes effect.

SAFETY FORUM, Sept. 17

CO-CHAIRS:

  • Former U.S. Secretary of Transportation Jim Burnley, Venable LLP
  • Lee Cole, CRH Americas Materials
  • Laura Huizinga, Lindsay Transportation Solutions

STAFF LIAISON: Brad Sant, bsant@artba.org

This forum will draw its leadership from the many safety professionals active in ARTBA. The co-chairs will be the president of the Traffic Safety Industry Division and the chairs of the Safety Committee and the Transportation Safety Advisory Council. Together, these three individuals will represent the major components of ARTBA’s array of safety activities.

A cross-divisional task force will assist the co-chairs in organizing and prioritizing the association’s safety initiatives. Under this structure, the two key existing entities referenced above, the Safety Committee and Transportation Safety Advisory Council, will be housed within this forum. Among other tasks, the Safety Forum will lead a review and update of the association’s safety policy statement, as well as ARTBA’s interactions with federal agencies.

It will also promote safety training and education, including participation in the Safety Certification for Transportation Project Professionals™ (SCTPP) program. As with the other forums, there will always be the option of spinning off additional task forces or work groups as needed.

CONSTRUCTION FORUM, Sept. 18

CO-CHAIRS:

  • Al Hoffman, Road-Con Inc
  • Mike Mangione, WSP USA
  • Ananth Prasad, Florida Transportation Builders’ Association

STAFF LIAISON: Rich Juliano, rjuliano@artba.org

Two co-chairs from the Contractors Division and one from the Planning & Design Division lead this forum. Pursuant to the SPC report, the initial focus will be risk allocation, working with subgroups from the Contractors, Planning & Design and Public Private Partnerships Divisions.

The Construction Forum will encompass the content of the former Contract Administration Committee, as well as the existing Environmental Committee, Bridge Policy & Promotion Council, modal councils and Transportation Law Committee. Its leadership will have the option of retaining committees or forming task forces or work groups in these policy areas. The Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Program Policy Task Force, formed in 2019, remains. A new Workforce Development Council will also be based within the Construction Forum.

(This story appears in the July/August issue of Transportation Builder.)