Chairman’s Message: I’m a Lifer


Starting a new job can present a lot of challenges, but I’m glad that I have had some terrific predecessors before me, including former chairmen like Fred Chesney and Ryan Schmitt. The path to leadership is never a journey you take alone, and I wouldn’t be the new NUCA Chairman without their support and confidence.

I’m Lauren Atwell, and I’ve been a NUCA member for a long time. Some 20 years ago my boss Ed White at a small but dominant plant contractor told me I needed to go to the NUCA meetings. I had no idea what NUCA was or why I needed to go, but I took Ed’s advice. At the time, I had no idea it would lead to me becoming the association’s Chairman.

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I’m a lifer. I was raised in a construction family and I’ve been a ditchdigger since I was sixteen. I never wanted to do anything else but build. The first project I was ever exposed to at my Grandfather’s construction company was building a wastewater treatment plant. I fell in love with digging deep holes, building huge concrete structures, and laying large diameter pipe.

At the 2020 Convention, one of Chairman Fred Chesney’s top goals was to increase NUCA’s membership. We all know someone in the industry who would benefit from being a part of our association, and his “NUCA plus One” program delivered results. Our membership numbers grew in 2020 by over six percent, an amazing accomplishment during such a challenging past year.

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One of my top goals as Chairman will be to continue this growth. Our new members saw the incredible value in being a part of this association, and in turn they have already been spreading the word about us. Ditchdigging is a vital part of 21st Century America, and as we welcome more industry members to NUCA, we know that the entire industry – and by extension our great nation – is improved by their addition.

As we grow, I want to see more engaged and outspoken member involvement in our twelve standing NUCA Committees. Each committee is tasked with finding the path forward for our industry’s future but without active member involvement, these committees will be hard-pressed to achieve their missions.

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If I asked any past Chairman why they took the NUCA leadership gavel, I’d wager they’d say they sought to inspire fellow NUCA members to give back to an industry that has provided a pathway to achieving the American Dream. To that end, I’m asking all our Chapters to help achieve these membership growth goals over the next year, and for our committee members to be highly active and work diligently to that end. We need to work together to be successful, and that success will only happen with your help.

I promise to lead this association to continued growth and inspire each of us to rise to the challenges of 2021 and make this another year that we can be proud of.

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Sincerely yours,

Lauren Atwell, NUCA Chairman of the Board / Petticoat-Schmitt Civil Contractors, Inc.

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