Five years ago the Engineering Contractors’ Association was the first of the contractor groups in our region to ratify terms of the Southern California Partnership for Jobs (SCPJ), the joint contractor/trade union effort to get more jobs for our members and better value for taxpayers.

SCPJ is a true partnership between the Carpenters, Laborers and Operating Engineers and their signatory contractor member organizations (AGC, AGC San Diego, BIA, ECA, SCCA) to promote increased infrastructure funding in our 12- county region. SCPJ labor and management organizations pool financial resources to increase public awareness and support for improving infrastructures like sewer, water and highway work.

Working with organizations such as California Alliance for Jobs, American Society of Civil Engineers, Transportation California and others, SCPJ has positioned itself to be an important source of information. This new effort supported both local and statewide infrastructure funding efforts, most recently the successful effort to defeat Proposition 6 which would have stripped future funding from transportation infrastructure work across the most populous state in the nation.

Among our top priorities was to get an outstanding professional to get the SCPJ off the ground and headed in the right direction. We exceeded expectations by enticing John Hakel to sign on as executive director through 2020. With his excellent staff, Carol Church, Marci Stanage and Rosylnn Hernandez, SCPJ keeps us all informed of infrastructure issues that affect our industry and our quality of life.

With more than 30-year’s experience with labor and management in infrastructure development in southern California, John knows the issues and the agencies involved. He worked with: Caltrans Districts 7, 8, 12; Orange County Transportation Agency; Los Angeles County Public Works; Los Angeles Metropolitan Transit Agency; Los Angeles World Airports; San Bernardino Department of Governments; Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach; Orange County Public Works; California Department of General Service; Construction Industry Air Quality Coalition; Construction Industry Water Quality Coalition.

John and the SCPJ Board work daily to promote new opportunities for our industry; we constantly run into the same issue—no money for new projects. This familiar refrain trips from the lips of every government agency we encounter. At the same time, we know that Californians are the highest taxed citizens in the country, begging the question—where does the tax money go?

As difficult as it is to ferret out this information it looks like our next big staff position will have to be a forensic account. We’ll keep you informed and thank you for your support.

By Dave Sorem, P.E. ECA Government Affairs Chairman email: [email protected]