President’s Message – November 2020

The year 2020 will go down in the history books as one of the strangest, most disruptive many of us have experienced. While health and economic issues have created churn most of us will be happy to forget, the upheaval has also offered an opportunity to be more thoughtful and creative about how we bring people together to share and learn.

That’s our business at COAA– we share, we learn, and we lead. For 47 years, we’ve brought industrial construction companies, suppliers, executives, front line workers, researchers and more together to improve the safety and productivity of our entire industry. In no time in my memory has that been more important than now.

We stood up our Healthy + Productive Sites Task Group early in the pandemic to help share and standardize the COVID protocols and workplace rules so critical to making sure our employees, contractors, and communities remained safe. We did it without skipping a beat on productivity at our facilities and worksites – that’s an amazing achievement and a classic example of how our industry can be fierce competitors but remain focused on the human dimension of our work. I’m incredibly proud of our response and want to thank everyone who contributed to the Task Group.

While the pandemic response has consumed much of our time and attention, COAA teams have been hard at work on other project streams. The Collaborative Contracting Committee  has created a sophisticated best practice to guide owners and service providers to achieve positive project outcomes. But our work doesn’t end with just the development of the practice. Now we need to share and learn from each other. To do that, a community of practice is in development and is open to all COAA members.

Our Safety Committee has embarked on a five-year strategy on safety leadership, and the elements so critical to improving safety culture including worker engagement and personal commitment to identify and control potentially serious risks. If you’re interested in participating, please check out the details here.

As an organization who brings people together, it was a tough blow to have to cancel our signature Best Practices Conference in 2020, but we’ve been able to seamlessly move to virtual offerings on a regular basis and we’ve had positive response to that effort. We’ll continue to engage virtually until we’re once again allowed to meet in person. In the meantime, we’re starting to think about what a Best Practices conference could look like in 2021. Fingers crossed that we might be able to do part or all in person, but if not, COAA will work hard to provide a positive, interactive networking experience online.

Despite the challenges and turmoil of 2020 thus far, I am excited about my new role as President of COAA. Past President Scott Maguire, the rest of the Executive Committee, and our staff have done a tremendous job steering this organization through not only COVID, but the ups and downs of our industry in recent years. We have some new faces, new ideas, and a refreshed energy to tackle whatever 2021 will bring. If you would like more information on anything related to COAA or know of other companies that are interested in getting involved, please reach out to our Interim Executive Director, Nadine Barber at nadine@coaa.ab.ca or (403) 801-3419.

Thank you and stay safe.

Ryan Jackson