Chapter Programs

NUCA Chapter Growth: Ideas and Best Practices

Chapter development is an important part of sustaining the NUCA experience for local members, and to help the goals of the national association in several areas.  Beginning in summer 2020, this webpage will be used to centrally list all the good and great ideas our talented Chapters have undertaken for their own chapter's growth and benefits. Best practices, event ideas, publicity campaigns, and other ideas will be added here as they are encountered.

The list below is NOT exhaustive. If you have a item you would like to have listed here, or think should belong for the good of the industry, please send an email to NUCA Communications Director Robert Baylor.

Chapter Best Practices and Ideas

This is not an complete list, but a collection of online ideas and resources for NUCA Chapters we've encountered to use to think about their own events. There are many great ideas from others in the industry and elsewhere for you to use for your own Chapter. Each takes work and resources, but the benefits are manifold and numerous!

Regional Infrastructure Publicity Events

Capital Improvement Project

NUCA of Greater Kansas City: The chapter holds an annual Capital Improvement Projects update event for the Kansas City region. Speakers regulary include local municipalities and government public works offices, who brief attendees and the local media on the progress and future plans for building to improve the Kansas City area. Publicity opportunties are very high with this kind of public information event.

While prior instances included holding this big event in business offices and formal settings, their 2020 event was entirely held "virtually" on June 30 because of Covid restrictions. Their June 30, 2020 virtual event can be watched on YouTube

Forum on Utilities and Infrastructure & Project Previews

NUCA of Metro Washington DC, Colorado, E Washington & N Idaho, Middle Tennessee, Hawaii: Several NUCA chapters have held events involving local elected leaders, industy members, municipal utility representatives, and other influencers. The event can consist of the program and its speakers, followed by a networking reception. Program topics can be an update on project timelines, what bids and projects are expected in the 12 months ahead, contracting opportunities, and political/regulatory changes. Customers, staff, subcontractors, future NUCA members, the public and even local media can be invited to the program as a powerful mix of personalities and community stakeholders, with the event branded and associated in the public's mind with the NUCA Chapter.

The NUCA of Kentucky chapter hosts an "Annual Utility District Project Preview," holding it in early fall in conjunction with state utility districts to give media and the public an outlook on upcoming utility construction projects.

Workforce Development Events

Dozer Day

Various NUCA Chapters, including NUCA of Washington, Greater Kansas City, Nebraska:  Dozer Days is an event held to introduce the 10-16 age group to careers in the construction industry. Dozer Day events teach children about important, real-world situations by giving kids the ultimate “construction experience” by inviting them into the “driver’s seat” of real heavy construction equipment, fire engines, ambulances, recycling trucks as well as other fun/informational activities, all safely guided by industry professionals.
SkillsUSA Events

NUCA's 2020 Strategic Plan includes building a relationship with SkillsUSA, a national organization dedicated serving more than 395,000 high school, college and middle school students and professional members enrolled in training programs in trade, technical and skilled service occupations, including health occupations. SkillsUSA has active programs in every U.S. state, including yours.
  • NUCA's Nebraska chapter has made excellent inroads in working with the state's SkillsUSA chapter, including participating in career day events and other student career programs focused on the construction industry and related trades. The chapter hired a full-time workforce development director in 2022 to manage the chapter's state-wide programs.

Sponsored Chapter Events

There are a wealth of sponsorship opportunites presented to Chapters when they organize and hold annual, regular, or special events. The sponsored activities could include all or parts of these possible Chapter events:
  • Regular Chapter Meetings, either in-person or virtual
  • Safety Seminars & Training Sessions
  • Career and Industry Day For Local Schools/Universities
  • Golf Charity Events & Tournaments
  • Third-Party Charity Events to Help Your Community
  • Organized Skeet & Clay Shoots
  • Fishing Tournaments
  • Sports Events - Go Watch A Game Together
  • Holiday Events
  • Pub & Restaurant Crawls
  • Chapter Publications or Membership Directory
  • Bowling Tournaments
  • Unique Local Sports Events, such as Escape Rooms, Paintball, or Axe Throwing Contests
  • Association Banquets & Recognition Ceremonies
  • Tours of Local Industry Businesses and/or Suppliers, with Group Dinner Afterwards
  • Annual Conventions
  • State Legislature Lobby Days
  • Podcasts
  • Events Held With Local/State Chambers of Commerce
  • Scholarship Programs, and Award Ceremonies/Reception
  • Parades With Industry Equipment
  • Industry Happy Hour
  • Clam Bake or Fish Fry
  • Local Political Candidate Interviews with Gov't Relations Cmte Members (online, too)
  • Private Lunch Conversation/Q&A with Local, State or Federal Political Candidates or Sitting Lawmakers/Dept. Officials
  • Lunches with Leadership or Career Development Topics
  • Equipment Rodeo
  • New Equipment Demonstration Day for Manufacturers & Contractors
  • Private Chapter Tours of Infrastructure Projects
  • Private Chapter Tours of Water Treatment Plants
  • Private Chapter Tours of Pipe Factories & Equipment Plants
  • Open House Reception (Vendor sponsored at their shops)
  • Trench Safety Stand-Down
  • Lunch and Learns
  • Safety Fair
  • Infrastructure Technology Summit
  • Night at the Race Tracks
  • Evening at Minor League Baseball or MLB
  • Tailgating at NFL and University Football Games
  • Family Picnics and BBQs
  • Casino or Poker Night
  • Annual Excavator Breakfast
  • Candidate Forums
  • Virtual Board Meetings
  • Trade Show Booth/Exhibit
  • Annual Meeting and Installation of Chapter Officers/Directors
  • Keynote Speaker Events
  • Mock Trench Rescue held with Local Emergency Responders
  • Other unique events (send them to NUCA National so they can be listed here)

Ideas for internal event sponsorships (if applicable) include sponsored signs, specific awards, event names, giveaways, tables and golf tents, prizes, gifts, named awards, and much more.

Event Ideas Influenced by Social Distancing Needs

  • Virtual lunches with members and keynote speaker or instructor on industry topics
  • Virtual legislative interviews w/ lawmakers
  • Virtual happy hours introducing new members
  • Social distancing events: clay shoots, golf tournaments, indoor games such as cornhole/beanbag toss
  • Food truck social event, inviting members and food truck(s) together in an outdoor or member warehouse setting
Publicize Your Chapter Events!

These kinds of Chapter events easily lend themselves to publicity and public outreach. Be proactive and advertise your event in local publications and online, alert your local media to it, and if needed, seek out local public relations or event firms to help you organize and publicize the event as widely as your budget allows. 

At the very least, make sure you publish basic information about your event on your website and in your chapter newsletter, including membership requirements. Let prospective or possible members know you are holding this event, too.

If the event is open to the public, let the public know about it. Social media advertising through your Twitter or Facebook account is free; make sure you use the right keywords and provide a link back to your website for more information. If the event is big enough, make sure you send a press release to your local news, or even consider hiring a local ad or p.r. agency to get the word out. 

NUCA's Communications Department has on staff media professionals who can help you through the media and p.r. process. Please reach out to them well in advance of your event for advice, guidance, and editing.

And if you are a Chapter executive, NUCA's Chapter Development Department can help you get started with many of the ideas on this page. Please reach out to NUCA's George Hamilton for advice and assistance, and for examples of past events held by other Chapters.