By Andrew Ausel | July 31, 2015
On August 3, our very own Louis Jenny and Richard Thomas will represent DBIA at the National Conference of State Legislators (NCSL) Legislative Summit in Seattle, Wash. The Summit has become an annual event for us, because it attracts thousands of state legislators and their staff from across the country, so it’s a great opportunity to talk to key decision makers in state policy about the benefits of design-build project delivery. NCSL gives us the opportunity to discuss the benefits of design-build with various public servants through the circulation of our maps, best practices and fact sheets, as well as answer any project delivery questions legislators and their staff may ask.
The NCSL Legislative Summit is the largest event in state government relations for industry and legislative leaders alike. Over 5,000 legislators, staff and industry representatives attend the Summit each year! NCSL is able to gather such a large attendee list because of its institutional respect and its timing in the legislative year. Founded in 1975, NCSL’s mission has been to help “states remain strong and independent by giving them the tools, information and resources to craft the best solutions to difficult problems.” As a personal testament to this, when I worked as a fellow in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives, NCSL was the go-to resource for researching state policy initiatives across the country.
So NCSL is a prime educating opportunity for DBIA in our efforts to expand design-build authority on the state level., and the results have been unparalleled. For example, in 2013 the Speaker Pro Tempore of the Louisiana House of Representatives met Richard Thomas at NCSL and found our information so useful, he asked Richard to testify before a task force charged with studying the viability of design-build for public agencies. Furthermore, in 2014 our current Director of Communications, Geoffrey Corey, attended the conference and recalled that, “legislators and staff from New Mexico, Nebraska and Wisconsin sought us out, asking if we could tell them more about design-build. They’d heard of the success design-build can achieve, and we were happy to provide them with more specific metrics.”
But it’s not just the education of legislators that proves valuable; we also attend sessions led by speakers addressing the most pressing policy challenges of the day. Among the topics chosen for a “dive deep session” this year is transportation funding and cost savings. Through sessions such as these we learn of new trends in the legislative arena that provide a valuable picture of the landscape we will be working in during the upcoming legislative session.
Just as Washington, D.C. provides the central location for federal policy, the NCSL Legislative Summit is similarly the most central platform to inform state legislators. We anticipate that Richard and Louis will have their hands full this year as states continue to grapple over issues of transportation funding and cost effectiveness in contracting. Taken together, this year’s Legislative Summit presents an invaluable opportunity to engage and inform legislators on the real value of expanding design-build authority and best practices. Stay tuned as we will be sure to report back on the fruits of this year’s Legislative Summit, a very crucial event in our efforts to promote design-build.