Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association – Featured Trucking Association
Drivewyze is a proud partner of trucking-related associations across North America. We examine trucking associations and the people who lead them to learn more about the history and the latest initiatives in an ongoing blog series. Today, we’re exploring the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association, its achievements and how the association has shaped progress in the trucking industry.
Joel Dandrea Trades in Career in Sports for Heavy Equipment; Leads SC&RA
From working at a sports marketing agency to leading an association for specialized carriers and crane and rigging companies, Joel Dandrea’s path to becoming CEO of Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association (SC&RA) is a bit unorthodox.
“Many of the companies our association advocates for are led by people who grew up in the transportation or construction industries, working alongside their family business,” said Joel. “My family didn’t operate heavy trucks or work in construction, so I didn’t know a whole lot about these industries until I got a job with the American Trucking Associations (ATA) in 1985. Since then, I’ve grown a deep appreciation for the industry and the people who keep the economy going. The companies SC&RA represents are responsible for moving and constructing the largest projects in the world.”
After graduating from college, Joel worked in sports marketing, where he was responsible for coming up with game day promotions and increasing sales of season tickets for the Washington Capitals and Washington Bullets (now Wizards). At that time, Joel was set to relocate from D.C. to San Diego to manage a similar campaign for the Padres. If it weren’t for a last-minute change in the company’s negotiations with the Padres, Joel may still be in the sports industry today.
“I was ready to go to San Diego, but there was a change in plans, the company didn’t secure the Padres contract,” Joel recalled. “Public policy was always an interest of mine, so I decided to go back to school and get a master’s degree in environmental policy and safety management. I knew I wanted to be in the D.C. area after school – the place to be for that field of work.”
After earning his master’s degree, Joel discovered ATA and was impressed with the association’s ability to advocate for trucking companies and its effectiveness in working with state and federal legislators and regulators.
“The ATA was in growth mode when I was hired and it was proactive in working with legislators on public policy that had mutual benefits for public safety and operating conditions for trucking companies,” said Joel. “It was an exciting time to be with the ATA and it turned out to be a great career fit for me. The association influenced a lot of policies that have shaped the way the trucking industry is today.”
Over the 15 years Joel spent with the ATA, he was tasked with supporting public policy, training and product development for its members, procuring membership, marketing and research for the ATA Foundation, and more. The ability to learn the ins and outs of the ATA and assist in a variety of key roles helped him gain valuable industry experience.
“The ATA allowed me to explore all of my professional interests and by being hands on with a number of different functions of the association, I was able to learn how trade associations like ATA operate which helped prepare me for my role with the SC&RA,” said Joel.
New CEO of SC&RA
His experience with ATA — and the impressions he left — lead to him being asked to apply for the association’s open CEO position. He did, and in 2000 he assumed the leadership position.
Like ATA, SC&RA is a “bridge” between federal and state regulators and industry. SC&RA advocates for legislation and regulatory policies that help heavy haul/specialized carriers and crane/rigging companies run their business more efficiently and safely. The association also provides education and training opportunities for its members to learn about safe operating practices and the latest state and federal legislative changes. Unlike ATA, SC&RA is an international association and has 1,325 members across 46 countries.
Before becoming its own association, SC&RA was formed in 1947 as a segment of ATA, previously called Local Cartage National Conference (LCNC). The conference was created for heavy haulers, machinery movers, and erectors. The conference later expanded and became SC&RA, bringing crane and rigging companies into the mix to establish the association.
“We’re a smaller association when it comes to the sheer number of members because of the highly specialized fields our members work in, but we’re much more widespread because of the countries our members operate in,” said Joel. “We have a very strong member network that is dedicated to the success of our industries.”
Aside from transitioning to an association that operates internationally, learning the specialized carriers and rigging industries – everything from the equipment used for projects to the permitting process – was the greatest challenge when Joel took over the helm at SC&RA.
“A company that specializes in hauling dry van trailers across the country deals with very different challenges compared to a company that hauls heavy or oversized equipment and is traveling less miles,” said Joel. “With specialized carriers, depending on the size of the load, it can take months of planning – working with state agencies to acquire the right permits, working with local police for escorts, bridge engineers, and other governing bodies. There’s a lot more planning that goes into these types of transports.”
Whereas associations like ATA have influenced outcomes that garner more industry attention, such as changes to driver hours of service and safety regulations, SC&RA delivers big wins of its own. You just likely wouldn’t hear about them unless you operate in these specialized industries.
“We’re always working with state and federal legislators on permitting policies and other decisions that have a direct impact on heavy haul as well as crane and rigging operations,” said Joel. “Our members are the voice of our industry – they do a great job in helping us work with government officials to create policies that improve safety without hindering operations. Permits vary greatly from state to state and abroad. Some of our biggest ‘wins’ as an association are at the state level with permits or with Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements — making it easier for our members and industry to operate.”
One of the key benefits for members of SC&RA is the opportunity to meet at SC&RA events to discuss the industry and how their companies operate so that policymakers have a greater understanding of ‘how things work’ when drafting new legislation or permits.
“These events are mutually beneficial for the industries we represent and the governing bodies,” said Joel. “We all want policies that help make our roadways and construction sites safer without it impacting the ability or effectiveness of a company to do its job. Not only do members receive opportunities to discuss industry topics with policymakers, but we also host several networking events for our members throughout the year.”
In addition, to networking events, members have access to free training courses, webinars, workshops, and other educational opportunities. SC&RA also has strong affinity programs, where members have access to property and casualty insurance programs, retirement plans, car rental deals, and more.
For going on 22 years, Joel remains committed to leading SC&RA and fostering better operating conditions for the industries the association represents. “It’s the people I work with and the companies we represent that keeps me motivated. The specialized carriers and rigging/crane industries are critical to the economy and has helped shape what our world looks like today.”
At a Glance
Association: Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association
Address: 5870 Trinity Parkway Suite 200, Centreville, VA 20120
How to join: To join the Specialized Carrier & Rigging Association, visit the SC&RA application page
Membership: 1,325 association members in 46 countries
Primary functions: Here are the Specialized Carriers & Rigging Association’s primary functions:
- Work with the legislature and regulatory agencies to foster, promote and preserve a strong economic climate for specialized carriers and rigging/crane operations
- Partner with other industry organizations to better achieve success when tackling challenges that threaten the safety, efficiency, or operations of members.
- Provide a forum for continuing education through seminars, workshops, training, and conferences, networking events.
- Support members through personal assistance whenever the need arises.
CEO: Joel Dandrea