The Gold Standard

Ron NunesFor the past 50 years, the National Utility Contractors Association (NUCA) has been the leading trade association working solely for the utility construction and excavation industry. A significant part of NUCA’s success comes from its leadership, thanks to a well-rounded Board of Directors and hard-working Executive Committee. At the head of this leadership is a Chairman, dedicated to executing the association’s plans and spearheading important initiatives near and dear to the industry. In March, NUCA swore in a new Chairman of the Board, passing the leadership torch from Florentino Gregorio to Ron Nunes at the association’s annual convention in Las Vegas. Nunes, a 30-plus-year industry veteran, is ready to serve NUCA and lead the association into its milestone year.

“I take the position very serious and am determined to represent the industry and NUCA members in a progressive manner,” he says.

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Nunes’ first foray in the industry began after he purchased a truck and began trucking throughout the Northeast for construction companies. During this time, the opportunity arose for him to acquire a dump truck and paving equipment. There, his career in site and utility work was born.

In 1983, Nunes started his company R.T. Nunes & Sons as an asphalt paving company. Today, the Rhode Island-based company is a multi-faceted construction company with a main focus on utilities and road and site construction. Lori, Nunes’ wife of 35 years, also works at the company, as well as their two sons, Joshua and Jared. The couple also has a daughter named Karen and three grandchildren, with a fourth on the way.

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Ron Nunes at NUCA’s annual convention
Immediate Past Chairman Florentino Gregorio passed the leadership torch to Ron Nunes at NUCA’s annual convention in Las Vegas.

The NUCA Necessity

While dealing with some legislative issues about 10 years ago, Nunes first became involved with NUCA through his state chapter. After realizing the value and benefits NUCA of Rhode Island had to offer his company and the industry as a whole, he decided to become more involved. Since then, Nunes has held positions on the chapter’s Board of Directors, as well as serving as its President for two terms from 2006 to 2010. His dedication to the chapter eventually led him to serve the association on the national level.

“[Through my work with the chapter] I began to see the extraordinary value of NUCA, so my involvement escalated from committee chairs, to expo chair, to Director and through the ranks of the Executive Committee to Chairman of the Board,” he says.   

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As NUCA’s Chairman, Nunes is prepared to help spread awareness about our aging infrastructure and continue to educate both lawmakers and the public about the need to address it. Through his efforts, Nunes hopes others will learn to appreciate the importance of clean water projects and assist in lobbying their local governments for funding.

“We [NUCA] are making great strides in chapter development, branding and team building, so my primary goal is to simply educate,” he says. “This great nation has a sleeping giant beneath the ground and it’s called our underground utility system. Much of it is old, outdated and undersized for the population growth that we have experienced over the past 100 years. Although NUCA has been in the forefront of Washington, D.C., lobbying our legislators for funding for clean water projects and the like, I feel it’s time to educate all Americans on the value of clean, sustainable drinking water and the necessity of the proper handling and treatment of wastewater.”

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While his mission to educate others has begun, Nunes is appreciative of the lessons he’s learned through being a member of NUCA. Thanks to the association’s educational opportunities and networking, Nunes definitely sees the benefit of his involvement both personally and professionally.

“As a contractor member, I’ve gained a great deal of knowledge from the safety and educational programs NUCA provides,” he says. “I feel there is no better way to learn than from your counterparts around the country and see how the job is done elsewhere.”

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Nunes certainly values the relationships he has built through his involvement with NUCA. From the ability to discuss new equipment and technologies with National Partners and associate members to networking with fellow contractors, NUCA has offered a great experience for the new Chairman.

“I have dabbled in some other trade organizations, but my heart has been in NUCA since the beginning,” he says. “The goals of NUCA mirror my own, and I have met and become friends with some great people all over the country. Their loyalty and perseverance have been inspiring.”

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Pam Kleineke is Associate Editor of Utility Contractor