Georgia Utility Contractors Association Inc. (GUCA) hosted its 2002 Spring Quarterly Meeting, Trade Show and Career Fair Thursday, April 4, 2002 at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot in downtown Atlanta. More than 180 attendees met for the event that included a sold-out trade show and keynote presentations by Georgia Representative Saxby Chambliss and Dr. Bert Langley of Georgia Environmental Protection Division (EPD).
“The 2002 Spring Quarterly Meeting was one of the best and most well-attended meetings GUCA has held during my involvement with the association,” said GUCA President Jan R. Smith, Jan R. Smith Construction Company Inc., of Norcross, GA. “We were honored to have Representative Chambliss and Dr. Langley as our keynote speakers.”
The semi-annual trade show featured 24 exhibitors representing a variety of different types of supplies and vendors in the utility construction industry and also included two schools, DeKalb Technical Institute and Georgia Southern University. Those participating in the trade show included: Atlantic Precast Concrete Inc.; Back to Earth Products; Crocker & Associates Inc.; Daigh Company Inc.; East Jordan Iron Works; Ferguson Waterworks; The John Glenn Company Inc.; Godwin Pumps of America Inc.; John Deere Special Technology Group; Kesco Dynamics Inc.; Lincoln Financial Advisors; Mabey Bridge & Shore Inc.; Metrac Inc.; NES Pumping Systems; Oldcastle Precast Inc.; Piedmont Tractor and Equipment; Southeastern Industrial Plastics; Spotswood Associates; Tractor & Equipment/Stith Division; World Diamond Source; and Yancey Bros. Co./Cat Rental Store.
The trade show and career fair were followed by a business meeting and dinner. Written reports were given to all present highlighting the various GUCA committee projects and achievements of the association. The business meeting concluded with two keynote presentations.
Running to represent all of Georgia in the U.S. Senate, Chambliss is a Republican who currently represents Georgia’s 8th District as a member of the 107th Congress. Early in 2001, he was appointed to the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and became chairman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee on Terrorism and Homeland Security. As the focal point in the House of Representatives on terrorism and counterterrorism, Chambliss leads the subcommittee in evaluating terrorist threats, American vulnerability, counterterrorism resources and capabilities across the government, and the government’s preparedness.
He spoke about his many travels to foreign countries in the effort to communicate with allies regarding terrorism. He shared anecdotes as well as personal experiences with meeting with kings, queens, other world leaders and Yassar Arafat. He spoke about the power plays and struggles one must put forward to get the message across. He also commented on the sometimes-distorted view the public gets from the press about living conditions and women’s rights in foreign countries.
“Saxby Chambliss is definitely an American we can all be proud of as he leads the efforts to keep our country safe, all the while representing the citizens of Georgia,” said GUCA Executive Director Vikki McReynolds, “I feel it is an honor that he can represent us before these foreign countries with that smooth Southern gentleman way which he exhibits when speaks and carries himself. His knowledge and intelligence on the subject of homeland security is at the caliber of one the citizens of the state and country can be proud of.”
Langley serves as EPD’s representative to the State Homeland Security Task Force and serves on several federal advisory committees for the EPA, DOE and National Domestic Preparedness Office. Langley manages a team of specialists trained to respond to emergencies involving hazardous materials throughout the state for EPD.
Although he was unable to comment abut specific confidential information, Langley did mention that Georgia is one of the few states most ready for any threat of terrorism. He added that this is mostly the result of preparations that were made for the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta.
According to Langley, there have been dramatic improvements in the communication process between local, state and federal agencies. Many of these governmental agencies who had never communicated with each other in the past are now in touch regularly, whether it is monthly, weekly or even daily.
He also mentioned how important it is that contractors and employees watch out for and report any suspicious activity, particularly in instances when a lot of questions are asked about the job site. Examples of these questions include, “How long will this project last?” “What specifically are you doing?” and “How are you doing the job?” Langley said to be very wary of individuals asking to look at plans of projects and especially plants and buildings. He said that although there do seem to be more people requesting information about project plans, the contractors should trust their intuition and always report suspicious activity.
GUCA will hold its 2002 Georgia Utility Safety Conference and Expo in November 2002. Registration materials will be available in June.
For more information, visit www.guca.com.
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