Tough economy means less members for Summit County Builders Association
September 24, 2012
A tough economy has taken its toll on the Summit County Builders Association member counts, something that has the potential to affect the nonprofit’s voice on the legislative level.
“If we don’t have the numbers, we don’t have the income, we don’t have the voice,” association president Andrew Webster said.
SCBA, which represents the building industry in local government and at the state and national levels, currently has 147 members; it’s all time high yearly average (since membership changes over a year’s time) is 195 since the organization’s beginnings in 1993, according to executive officer Jane Dvorak.
“It’s been a steady dwindle,” Webster said of the membership levels over the past few years. “I think it’s primarily because of the tough economy. It’s really tough on builders, and there’s not a lot of work.”
The annual cost of membership is $475.
“From my perspective, most people sign on to get work,” Webster said. “But as president, my feeling is that’s the wrong reason to sign up. They should sign up because we are fighting in the government in Denver and at the national level … we are fighting to make building more reasonable.”
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Having a voice in legislative issues is one of the biggest benefits to being a member since they have the potential to influence the builder’s bottom dollar, according to Webster. The association has lobbyists in Denver and at the national level, who fight to keep legislation away that would make it more difficult to build, or more expensive to stay in business.
“People feel like they can’t really do much. They don’t realize their voice is bigger than they think when they sign on with us,” Webster said.
The lobbyists fight for issues like the right to cure, which gives contractors an option to resolve a construction defect before a lawsuit is filed. The subject came up in Colorado a few years back.
The association also gets involved at the local municipal level; Webster said the group goes to bat for the community by trying to get local hiring preference policies put into place.
“We’re very community-oriented,” he said. “We feel that the tax dollars that are spent on municipal projects should go back in the pockets of the people that are paying the taxes.”
Builders association members also have access to discounted insurance opportunities, and educational events.
There’s a networking community within the organization as well – the association’s membership chair Denny Rogstad said they hope that members do business with each other.
“Obviously what we’re trying to do is build the ranks back up,” Rogstad said.
Right now, the nonprofit is charging each member with the task of recruiting another. They’re also trying to get members back that have left.
“Ultimately, we would love to be back up to 200 again, and have an even bigger voice than we already do,” Webster said.
For additional information about the association, go to http://www.summit