Utility Contractor

MAY-JUN 2018

As the official magazine of NUCA, Utility Contractor presents the latest information affecting every aspect of the utility construction industry, including technological advancements, safety issues, legislative developments and instructional advice.

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16 Utility Contractor | May/June 2018 limited pool of prospects and the task of attracting people not only to the industry but to a town of 1,000 people. We have been fortunate to have a great core group of employees, but finding enough people to take us to the next level is difficult. And once you get those employees you have to work hard to retain them." NUCA Connection Ryan attended his first NUCA Convention as a fourth-grader, as Bud and his wife, Charlene, regularly attended the event, occasionally bringing family along. "The thing we really enjoyed about NUCA was the Annual Convention," Bud said. "My wife and I went nearly every year through the 80s and mid 90s. The classes and the equipment shows were great but we really enjoyed the networking with other contractors from around the country the most. I learned a lot talking to them." While Penro has been a NUCA member for 40 years, Ryan didn't begin his association involvement until relatively recently. In 2009, Ryan, believing there was adequate interest, called NUCA to inquire about starting a Nebraska State Chapter. He was a vital member of the initial contractor champions group in Nebraska. Due to their efforts, NUCA of Nebraska was presented a NUCA chapter charter in 2010. Ryan was the chapter's second president and his vision and early leadership laid the foundation that has guided the chapter through growth and change. He continues to serve and actively participate in the chapter, which has grown to become a strong, active, and effective NUCA-affiliated chapter. Ryan credits his involvement with the association in helping shape him professionally as well. "Getting involved with NUCA as an officer was an eye opener," he said. "You learn the difference between being a leader and being a boss pretty quickly when you are in a room full of bosses. You have to take a different approach, and that has impacted how I do things within my own company. " Another benefit is interacting with peers who you would otherwise only see sitting across the table at bid lettings. "When the only time you see your competitors is in a competitive environment you tend to not make an effort to get to know them. Once you do you are surprised just how much we are all alike. I've met some of my best friends through working within NUCA and our chapter." Serving three terms on NUCA National's Board of Directors, Ryan readily shared ideas, asked tough questions and challenged the status quo. He naturally fell into the Chairmanship of NUCA's Chapter Development Subcommittee and has strategically worked to widen and strengthen NUCA's reach by using a bordering states model that uses existing chapters to help develop neighboring regions. The accelerated formation of NUCA of Greater Kansas City Region was largely the result of Ryan visiting or calling prospective members in neighboring Missouri and Kansas developing a group of contractor champions, who now comprise one of NUCA's largest chapters. Ryan's most recent work has been in North Dakota, where in just a few days he garnered enough contractor interest to hold a successful "kickoff" meeting this past January. Ryan continues to advise, encourage and help NUCA National develop chapters in other states, including Arkansas, Arizona and Maryland. And he shows no signs of slowing down. Ryan is a top-notch recruiter and believes that solid member benefits help him recruit. He believes more members means a stronger organization, which makes a stronger industry, which helps everyone. You will often hear Ryan say, "a high tide raises all boats." Ryan was instrumental in developing the new NUCA Advantage benefit for members. This program works with members to find their best alternatives in health insurance, life insurance, and 401k retirement plans, and uses creative tools to help members retain their key employees. "We rolled out the health insurance last fall and there has been an overwhelming response to that. We are rolling out the rest of the program now and we expect that to be well received also. Our members are saving money on the products that they need and this program will serve as a source of much needed non-dues revenue for NUCA and its chapters. It's really a win-win for everyone." "Ryan Kinning is not just an ambassador for NUCA, he is a soldier," said NUCA past chair Kara Habrock. "His boots are on the ground and he keeps charging. He plants the NUCA flag wherever he goes—representing our industry with pride and passion, while truly relating the contractor experience to the advantages of NUCA membership. He is a true believer in 'NUCA first.' " Jim Rush is editor of Utility Contractor. (L-r) Holly, Ryan, Bud and Charlene Kinning after the awards presentation.

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