The past four years have been an exciting period of post-recession rebirth for our industry. The process of helping to lead CIRI during this period has been both exciting and extremely gratifying. Here are a few examples of our most prominent accomplishments:
An intensified commitment to safety and compliance.
What started out as an effort to provide local support for National Safety Week has turned into a vibrant and expanding program. The CIRI Safety Committee began the program with a few courses for Work Zone Safety and 10-Hour OSHA Training. Our course offerings have become more robust with each passing year.
We’ve also formed collaborative partnerships with additional industry organizations such as AGC-RI and NUCARI here in Rhode Island — MA trade groups such as CIM and the MAAPA — and industry-related companies with valuable knowledge in areas such as construction insurance.
The creation of win/win agreements in labor negotiations.
The process of maintaining and improving our state’s transportation infrastructure is dependent on positive partnerships between our member companies and Rhode Island’s key trade unions. Again in 2017, the CIRI Labor Relations Committee played a valuable role in reaching consensus and collective bargaining agreements that are mutually beneficial to both parties.
The continued growth of our scholarship program.
Since 2011, CIRI has presented scholarships to college bound students who are children or grandchildren of employees at CIRI member companies. This year CIRI awarded six high school students with $3,500 each, an increase from the previous $2,500 amount. To date, $81,000 in scholarship monies have been awarded to help these deserving students with the cost of their studies.
The continuation of active advocacy:
On the state and national levels.
On the Rhode Island level, CIRI continues to fulfill an official role on the State Transportation Advisory Committee. The ongoing advocacy efforts of the CIRI Political Action Committee (PAC) are particularly crucial. Annually in the RI General Assembly, CIRI has successfully opposed proposed bills that would be injurious to our industry — while providing convincing support for positive legislation such as the RhodeWorks program that has helped to revitalize the RI economy.
On the national level, our membership in the American Road & Transportation Builders of America (ARTBA) helps this dynamic organization to keep the nation’s transportation construction and funding needs front and center in Washington. In December 2015, CIRI also co-sponsored the ARTBA Northeast Regional Meeting at the Omni Providence — the first time this key regional meeting was held in Rhode Island.
Thanks for a rewarding four years at the helm.
As CIRI prepares to elect a new Board of Directors by the end of 2017, I look forward to helping the new leadership to augment the achievements we’ve made to date. A modern and dependable infrastructure of roads and bridges is not only vital to our industry. It is crucial to Rhode Island’s economy and quality of life for the decades ahead.
Michael D. D’Ambra