New Vancouver Regional Construction Association (VRCA) president Jeannine Martin has named prompt payment, the ongoing labour shortage and connecting with the industry as her top priorities.
Martin was named VRCA president on Aug. 10 and stated in her first 100 days she would focus on working with the British Columbia Construction Association (BCCA) on advancing prompt payment legislation in the province.
“Prompt payment is a huge issue for the construction industry and very top of mind for our members. For some smaller construction companies it’s a real issue for them. Prompt payment and being paid on time is the difference to surviving in this environment,” Martin said.
She added the skilled trades shortage is a top-of-mind issue for the VRCA.
“Skilled trades are very hard to find and it’s also difficult to find skilled tradespeople or anyone who can live in the Lower Mainland. The timeliness is interesting (as) we are hosting, with our partner BCCA, a connector event where 57 of our members come together to meet over 100 applicants in the BCCA’s skilled trades database,” she said.
“We’ll connect our members with those potential jobseekers and it’s the first in-person (event). Hopefully we’ll launch from here to get our members more access to the more than 5,000 skilled trade workers that are in that database going forward.”
Work will continue on other initiatives already in development, she said, including the association’s reconciliation action plan to better engage with Indigenous communities and stakeholders.
“Certainly any business in Canada would have some connection in their strategic plan to recognizing Indigenous partnerships and attention to reconciliation,” Martin said. “Prior to my joining Will Pauga, who is the chair of the VRCA board, started the staff on a journey of listening and learning about reconciliation.
“What is the foundation here? What do we need to know? And the point of that is to start that journey to educate us so we can provide leadership on that issue,” she said.
Next steps include continuing to develop the plan, then sharing it with VRCA members for input.
Martin added in addition to the connector event there is an upcoming Young Construction Leaders event, a golf tournament and the Silver Awards of Excellence before the awards gala on Oct. 17 where gold award winners will be recognized.
“It’s the biggest event and it’s a fantastic event. I’ve attended and been a fierce competitor in the past,” she said, adding all the events are a chance to learn more about the needs of VRCA membership.
“Lots of great opportunities for visibility and connecting with our members, hearing about what their issues are, what they need to help their businesses get stronger and what can we do to help them build a better foundation for the construction industry.”
Martin’s own career previous to taking the top spot at VRCA includes stints at many Lower Mainland construction and engineering businesses including as president of the British Columbia Construction Roundtable, vice-president of business development and director of pre-construction at Carlson Construction Group, and positions at COWI, Vancouver Pile Driving and AMEC, as well as serving on the board of directors for the Association of Consulting Engineering Companies – British Columbia.
“I’ve spent over 20 plus years in the construction and engineering industry, mostly in the areas of business development and executive leadership, and of course I’ve worked with companies that were member firms for or a company that was a member of VRCA. I’m very familiar with the organization, and it just it happened to be an intersection of perfect timing and opportunity,” Martin said.
For more with Martin listen to The Construction Record podcast here.
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