Is an NSSGA merger looming on the horizon?

By |  May 14, 2018

Photo credit: Foter.com

Trade associations, like all organizations, merge from time to time.

The National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), for example, officially came to be 17 years ago when the National Stone Association (NSA) and National Aggregates Association (NAA) merged. Could the national association representing the aggregate industry again be headed down the merger road?

“Merger” was a buzzword at this year’s NSSGA Annual Convention, specifically the notion of consolidating NSSGA with four other organizations, including the American Concrete Paving Association (ACPA), the National Asphalt Pavement Association (NAPA), the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association (NRMCA) and the Portland Cement Association (PCA).

According to multiple sources, NSSGA outlined its merger idea at a meeting in Houston, making the case that pooling resources – and dollars – would give the greater construction materials industry more clout on Capitol Hill.

Advocacy, as a number of NSSGA members see it, is job number one of the association. NSSGA ramped up its advocacy efforts by launching the Legislative & Policy Forum last fall. In addition, ROCKPAC continues to provide a means to influence legislators.

But in a consolidating industry, is our collective voice being heard in Washington? It’s a question the decision-makers at NSSGA are obviously exploring as they ponder merging with like-minded associations.

The major producer acquisitions that occurred in 2017 likely spurred some of this new thinking. Vulcan Materials bought Aggregates USA and Martin Marietta purchased Bluegrass Materials. Acquisitions like these reduce the number of dollars we can contribute through the PAC. In turn, our collective voice diminishes.

Through advocacy, the goal is to put in place a highway bill that ultimately elevates demand for aggregate. But President Trump does not expect Congress to pass his grand infrastructure plan before November’s midterm elections.

These are our realities. Merging NSSGA with organizations like ACPA, NAPA, NRMCA and PCA is easier said than done, though. When NSA and NAA finally merged to form NSSGA in 2001, a deal wasn’t struck overnight. That merger evolved after discussions that stretched back two decades, and the two organizations that united then were more alike than the five discussed in Houston.

NSSGA made it clear at its convention, however, that it would like to have something done by January 2019. The likelihood of completing a merger by then is probably low, and any merger that involves NAPA will be a challenge.

According to one source, an NSSGA representative approached a NAPA representative in Houston about being part of a collective merger. The NAPA rep indicated that NAPA was not aware of any desire for such a merger and that NAPA adamantly would not want to be a part of any merger.

More on any merger is likely to surface in the months to come. We’ll keep you up to speed of any new details that develop.

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