The future of aggregates associations

By |  June 29, 2016

Looking back 100 years, aggregates industry trade associations had much the same purpose then as they do today.

Groups like the National Quarry Owners Association were passionate about advocacy organizations. Such groups sought to promote knowledge and best practices among their members to make the industry more successful. Today, we’re still focused on these goals, which I believe are timeless.

NSSGA President and CEO Mike Johnson urged for a long-term highway bill, saying, "If the aggregates industry is doing well, America is doing well."

Mike Johnson

The phrase, “if it’s not grown, it’s mined,” has been around our industry for generations because it perfectly captures the importance of aggregates. Because of this notion, I believe our industry will not only be just as vital to society in 100 years as it is today, but that aggregates will be used in many refined versions of their current uses.

National Geographic reported earlier this year that scientists have made concrete that carries an electric current. As driverless cars and new vehicles emerge, we will need pavement and infrastructure that connects these vehicles to each other and their surroundings.

We continue to read about the benefits of energy-efficient warm asphalt. Northwestern University also discovered that it’s possible to make pavement from the materials found on Mars, should humanity leave our planet.

No matter where we are building our infrastructure and cities of the future, aggregates will continue to be the vital ingredient in those structures. And aggregates associations will continue to focus on congregating, communicating and advocating for our industry.

The next associations

Aggregates associations will continue to be catalysts that unite innovators, policymakers and association members. By facilitating these connections, associations build support and awareness for policies and regulations that can improve our businesses and industry. We will rethink the way we meet and as technology evolves, remote meetings of the entire industry may be possible.

As communication tools advance, aggregates associations will continue to create spaces for conversations among their members. Prior to the Internet, it was common for associations to frequently gather an industry together at events around the country. Now, many of those conversations take place online and in real-time through apps and other tech.

I would like to think future aggregates associations will create a place for members to communicate about more efficient and safer mining technologies and best practices. These new tools will keep trade associations plugged in to the needs of their membership and improve advocacy efforts.

The aggregates industry associations of the future must continue to be the primary advocates of the industries they serve. Advocacy is job No. 1 at the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association (NSSGA), and it will continue to our top priority well into the future.

No matter how far into the future, policy will always follow the politics, and by that I mean that the importance of the relationships we have with our local politicians will not decrease tomorrow – or ever. It may be cliché, but “all politics is local.” That will never change.

Focusing on advocacy will allow NSSGA to be nimble and proactive in responding to new technologies, products and opinions and foster innovative developments for how operations produce stone, sand and gravel. Aggregates associations can also continue to promote the environmentally friendly nature of our operations as our planet moves toward smarter and greener products.

No matter how the future unfolds, NSSGA’s job over the next 100 years will be to lead advocacy efforts, use cutting-edge communication tools to promote the industry and deliver services that help our members grow and succeed. Because when the aggregates industry is doing well, America is doing well.

Michael W. Johnson is president and CEO of the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association.

Photo credit: kevygee via / CC BY-SA

This article is tagged with , , and posted in featured, Features

Comments are closed