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Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016


President’s Message   When I was sworn in as the UTCA President last September I did not think that in April I would still have to write about the Transportation Trust Fund Crisis. While Governor Christie has been quoted as saying that there is no crisis we could not disagree with him more and we continue to press the legislature for a viable long term solution for the funding crisis. As a partner in the ForwardNJ campaign we participate in explaining to the public the horrendous nature of our transportation infrastructure. We have also continued to meet with not only the legislative leadership but with all of the members of the legislature to provide them with the factual financial status of the Transportation Trust Fund. There are no more funds available for new projects. All of the existing payments into the fund have to be used to pay the debt service on the past fund borrowing. Our legislative efforts have been successful in that you publicly hear the Senate and Assembly leadership call for a fully funded $2 Billion program. We have also worked to support tax fairness legislation which the Governor called for during discussions of increasing Transportation Trust Fund revenue. Even as the frustration levels mount we want you to know that the Association continues to focus on solutions to this crisis. The TTF will run out of funds come July of this year and this will have a devastating impact on the economy, New Jersey’s infrastructure and our industry.   While the TTF has taken up a substantial amount of our time we have not let that be our only focus. Please read our legislative column in this issue for a discussion of a number of legislative successes we have led.   During this past winter the Association has held over 19 safety and management training seminars.


These training seminars are extremely valuable in order that our employees have available to them the best and most up to date training. I want to thank UTCA’s Director of Safety and Professional Services Dan Neville for managing this program and for holding the Association’s Annual Safety Awards as well. Congratulation to the overall Safety Award Winners American Asphalt Company (2014) and Joseph Jingoli & Sons, Inc. (2015).   Please make sure to read the in-depth features on our member companies R. Kremer and Son Marine Contractors and Stokes Creative Group, each celebrating 30 years in business.   An association is only as strong as its membership and I want to thank all of the advertisers in the magazine as well as all of the companies that have continued to sponsor Association activities and participate in our events. The Association’s website lists all of our upcoming events and I hope to see you at the Clay Shoot and Golf outing which raise money for the UTCA scholarship program. The Annual Membership Meeting on June 2nd is a great opportunity for networking and getting updates on the latest industry news.

Best regards,

Tino Garcia Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

APRIL 2016


Volume XLI, Number 2

Published Bimonthly During 2016 Office Address: 1670 Route 34 North Farmingdale, NJ 07727 Mailing Address: PO Box 728 Allenwood, NJ 08720 (732) 292-4300 FAX: (732) 292-4310 Publisher: Robert A. Briant, Jr. Editor: Helene Nasdeo Editorial Contributors: Anthony Attanasio Dennis Hart Dan Neville Advertising Manager: Helene Nasdeo Photographer: Image Up Cover Photo: Image Up Production/Graphics: Lauren Hagan Helene Nasdeo Circulation: Helene Nasdeo

Features 4 R. Kremer & Son Marine Contractors Completes 30 Years In Business 10 Stokes Creative Group Celebrates 30 Years 26 2016 Executive Seminar Hidden Risk: Employee 29 Recruitment & Retention 41 Innovative Health Insurance Solutions


Departments 2 19 35 39 46 53 57 61

President’s Message Legislative News Financial Overview The Pipeline Accounting Corner Legal Dig Labor Relations Safety Perspective


Printed By: American Plus Printers Affiliations: ARTBA Clean Water Construction Coalition Water Infrastructure Network UTILITY AND TRANSPORTATION CONTRACTOR (ISSN 0192-4843) is published six times a year by the Utility and Transportation Contractors Association of New Jersey, 1670 Highway 34 North, Farmingdale, NJ 07727. Periodical postage paid at Farmingdale, NJ and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to UTILITY AND TRANSPORTATION CONTRACTOR, PO Box 728, Allenwood, NJ 08720.

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016


Cover Story



By: Anthony Attanasio, Executive Director

  or Richard and Erich Kremer, the dynamic father and son team that leads R. Kremer & Son Marine Contractors, the sky is the limit for their business. Constantly learning, growing and seeking new challenges combined with tireless hard work has led this company that started as a one man operation to celebrate 30 very successful years in business.   Like so many proud members of the construction industry, the Kremer story is one of achieving the American Dream. Rich Kremer was born in Paterson in the 1940s. His family moved to Paramus when he was a teenager. After his sophomore year of high school, Rich decided school was not for him and that he wanted to enter the workforce and begin to earn a living. As Rich puts it “School just wasn’t for me. I dropped out after two years, and you can put that in the article!” Rich takes great pride in the fact that as a 16 year old boy he dropped out of high school to take a landscaping job and then was able to start a family business and build it into a multi-million dollar operation. “I’m always learning, from the people I engage and from jobs I’ve worked. I’m proud of my work, the company, and my son.”   As Rich is quick to point out, he hasn’t done it alone. His son Erich began working part time for his Dad while still in high school. Rich recalled, “I would pick up Erich every day after school and take him right to a job site. I even made his friends take jobs too.” Upon his graduation from H.S. in 1992, Erich went full time with his Dad and never looked back. Over the years more and more family and friends gravitated towards the business including Shaun McCafferty, who left a successful career on Wall Street in 2003 to join the company and now handles the business’s estimating, overseeing day to day operations and also serves as a supervisor in the field. Erich’s wife Michele joined the firm in 2005, and Rich will tell you that Michele is the one who really keeps the trains running on time in the office. “We all get along, especially me and Erich.


We never fight or really argued after all these years. Our working relationship worked from the start.”   Richard Kremer’s career in the construction industry began when he was 18. He signed up as a Building Laborer with Local 348 and began building churches and schools in North Jersey. Rich was constantly seeking to learn new skills on the jobs and by his 22nd birthday was eager to run equipment. He joined Operating Engineers Local 825 which quickly led him to a career working for many of the state’s top sewer contractors. Every job was a learning experience for Rich and while working for Hanover Dewatering he became recognized for his skill and expertise in the dewatering process.   In the mid to late 1970’s Rich went to work for RJ Longo and his career really began to take off. He was constantly travelling up and

Avon-By-The-Sea Boardwalk reconstruction. Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

of equipment that matches the company’s growth.   Once Erich came on the scene full time, things really took off for the Kremers. “Erich took the company to the next several levels” said Rich, “I would have burnt out without my son. He really advanced the company, he’s a good son and I’m proud of him”.   Much of his father’s pride is based on his son’s work ethic and how he is constantly seeking new challenges. Rich also appreciates the fact that Erich started from the ground up, laboring in his teenage years for his father, learning every facet of the business.

Barnegat Bay Marina Rehabilitation in Brick, NJ.

Kremer personnel perform work on Route 35 outfall reconstruction.

down the northeast corridor handling major jobs in Connecticut, Atlantic City and finally landing a long term assignment in Puerto Rico. As great as his job was, by the mid-eighties Rich was ready to travel less, spend more time at home with his family, and hang his own shingle. He pondered what type of business he wanted to begin and then came to a decision based on pure chance when one considers the extensive career in the industry he had already accomplished.   One day while still working for RJ Longo, Richard’s neighbor, who owned his own small business repairing bulkheads, asked him if he wanted some side work. He accepted the offer and began helping his friend repairing bulkheads. Rich found the work interesting and began to seek out more skills in marine contracting. When he was ready to strike out on his own, after his many years as a laborer and operator in the heavy, water and sewer sides of the construction industry, he instead set out as a one man marine construction company.   Rich remembers starting out with just a Chevy pick-up, a pump and a chain saw. He worked seven days a week building and repairing small docks and bulkheads. He handled every aspect of the business and slowly but surely the business began to grow over its first year. He recalled how after one year in business the excitement and nervousness he felt when hiring his first employee. As the last 30 years have proven, Rich had nothing to fear, and since his first day in business, R. Kremer & Son Marine Contractors has never stopped growing. He continued to invest in the company by buying new equipment, hiring new employees and learning new skills of the trade. Today his company has more than 30 employees, running five to eight crews and also have an impressive fleet

Once Erich joined the company he began bringing more and more disciplines into the company’s repertoire. The Kremers began building and repairing marinas, handling increasingly extensive site work, dredging and sheeting projects. These new skills and the experience the company gained performing them eventually led the Kremers to successfully make the leap into public work.   By 1998, Rich looked at his company, his son, and the successful business they were building together and decided it was time to start taking small steps back and give greater responsibility of running the company to Erich. He began to take longer breaks to travel with his wife. Every 2-3 years after that his vacations became longer and longer as his son grew more into his role as the future leader of R. Kremer & Son Marine Contractors. By the early to mid-2000’s, the company had grown so rapidly that in order to continue the growth, Rich and Erich knew they needed more help running the office so that they could expand the operation in the field and that’s where Michele came in. After a successful 22

Route 35 outfall reconstruction in Lavallette.

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016


year career in corporate America as a Manager with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Michele joined the Kremer business and began to take on the duties of a CFO which freed up Rich and Erich to continue to pursue their passion to grow the company.   Erich’s ascension in leadership in addition to Shaun and Michele’s arrival could not have been better timed for this New Jersey shore based contractor. In 2012, Superstorm Sandy ravaged the New Jersey Coast line and much of the marine facilities along New Jersey’s shore and inland waterways. R. Kremer & Son were about to become an integral part of the recovery from Sandy and still are to this day. On the eve of the storm Erich Kremer made a decision that impacted the lives of Sandy victims in his community. Purely out of instinct, he decided to bring a 950 loader home. The very next day after the storm hit, police utilized his loader to rescue more than 100 people who had been stranded due to the storm.   The business became a non-stop 7 day a week operation for the next several months. The Kremers ramped up to answer the call to restore the shore, buying equipment and hiring more workers. The company became engaged in all facets of the recovery including but not limited to building pump stations, steel sheeting, dune work, outfalls, steel bulkhead construction and repairs. The company takes great pride in the work they performed for the Route 35

Aerial view of Trader’s Cove Municipal Marina in Brick, NJ. 6

reconstruction as a subcontractor to George Harms Construction. It was a great moment for this Brick Township based company to take part in a project that had such a positive impact on the region. Overall, Superstorm Sandy brought the company together and tested it in a way that few businesses ever experience. Erich said, “Sandy forced our company to grow, improve our existing skills and learn new ones in a very intense environment.”   The future is bright for the Kremers. Rich now spends his winters in Florida, but reminds me that he’s on the phone with Erich four to five times a day when he’s not in New Jersey. He and Erich continue to grow as general contractors and continue to successfully meet the needs of both their private and public clients. They are especially focused on growing the company’s portfolio and volume of public work in the years ahead. Erich continues to seek new challenges and new skills to expand the business for the thirty first straight year and is excited to do so as a member of the UTCA. The Kremers are becoming mainstays on the Executive Seminars and recalled several stories of the lasting friendships that were created thanks to their experiences on the trips. “Being a member of the UTCA has been a great experience for our company. We’re looking forward to many more years of success as a company and as a member of the Association.”

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016


Featured Article



hen you follow the advice and encouragement of several UTCA members, great things are bound to happen. This is exactly how Joanne Stokes first started out in construction photography in 1985, and transformed her company into a multimillion-dollar firm. What first began as JMS Visual Communications has grown into Stokes Creative Group, Inc.(Stokes), a full-service marketing agency that specializes in providing quality solutions for the transportation and construction industries.   Stokes Creative Group, Inc., is a certified WBE/DBE/SBE/ WBENC agency throughout the East Coast with offices in NJ, NY, MD and FL. The company’s expertise lies in public outreach and multimedia support, including video productions, web design and marketing materials. Over the past 30 years of growth and success, Joanne and her son Chris have created long-lasting partnerships with countless industry leaders on many of the country’s largest transportation projects.   Every project requires a different strategy or technology, and the Stokes team is leading the way in new technology and innovative solutions. Keeping up with technology trends, Stokes’ newest service for contractors—which sets them apart—is Project Image Management (PIM). This system is an innovative tool that allows images to be uploaded to a sitemap where team members can view progress of the project, make notes, and communicate with the project team online; thereby saving time and money while avoiding unnecessary trips to the job site. Another area of new technology that the Stokes team uses both in-house and on client projects is social media. With this method of communication always growing and changing, clients can rely on Stokes’ expertise to assist them for all their social media, marketing and campaign needs. Helping clients enhance their image is a key component in Stokes’ client-first attitude. Creating a captivating and visually appealing 10

PowerPoint or Prezi presentation can be a daunting task for some, but Stokes has several communication experts that work with clients in developing dynamic presentations so the client will look and sound their best when presenting complex information, allowing them to be seen as a leader in their industry. All of the talented Stokes team members, including third generation grandchildren Zac and Kelly, work with you and your company to see the big picture and help communicate your message with clarity and creativity. Bottom line – they solve problems, create attractive promotional multi-media tools for investors and leaders to showcase their projects, and they have an undying commitment to quality that has propelled their business for more than three decades.   In addition to new technologies, Stokes has built its success upon a variety of remarkable multimedia services. First of all, the Stokes video production department has produced numerous

President Joanne Stokes leads a company meeting about current agency projects. Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

and FL. Matt Touhey, a seven-year veteran, manages the video production staff and handles all of the web programming and web design efforts. Chris Stokes, Vice President and Creative Director, manages and leads the core public involvement team of Qiao Wu in NY, Nicole Pace in NJ, and Mary Ann Rozengard and Aage G. Schroder, III, P.E. in Florida. Behind the scenes there are many other instrumental staff members handling accounting, photography, graphic design, copywriting, administrative, shipping and

Our public outreach specialist explains construction updates about the Interchange 14A Improvement Project to a Bayonne resident.

award-winning documentaries as well as safety and training videos that help promote worker safety. In the area of public involvement, the firm is currently leading the outreach efforts on the biggest construction project in the country, The New NY Bridge, reinforcing its reputation as a leader in the public involvement sector. Stokes is Matt Touhey and Brenda Hunter discuss the Wittpenn Bridge Project. also responsible for the newly redesigned New NY Bridge website,, which utilizes responsive design, much more. Overseeing numerous projects on a continuous basis, allowing it to easily be viewed on multiple platforms such as a Joanne, Chris and the staff are always focused on customer satisfaction, faster service, and exceeding the goals of their valued tablet or mobile device.   Throughout the history of their highly successful business, clients. Joanne and Chris have been a part of countless UTCA projects   The uniqueness of Stokes Creative Group, Inc., has allowed the over the years—the IAS Housing Project (Pillari Brothers Inc.), company to grow as a team, resulting in continued expansion of NYCDEP-#26W-20 – 26th Ward WWTP Improvements (Skanska/ services and outstanding quality on each and every project. Their JPP joint venture), BT- 1 Shaft 5B and Shaft 6B Roundout West client-first philosophy has fostered numerous relationships with Branch Bypass Tunnel – Delaware Aqueduct (Schiavone Con- satisfied clients who return to Stokes year after year for additionstruction Co.), and BT – 2 Roundout West Branch Bypass Tunnel al work. Whether the work entails photos for a small utility job, (Kiewit/Shea joint venture), just to name a few. More recently, the coordinating media coverage for the largest bridge project in the Stokes team completed the public involvement efforts on the 6 to country or assisting contractors with their marketing needs, the 9 Widening Program for the New Jersey Turnpike Authority (AE- Stokes Creative Group, Inc., team of professional multimedia exCOM) and continue providing public outreach efforts for the New perts is ready to deliver products and services that help tell the NY Bridge and the Interchange 14A Improvement Project in Bay- story for every transportation and construction project now and in the future. onne. The recent expansion into Florida has the production team at Stokes supporting Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise ETL project as well as working with FCP3 on its upcoming Conference in Orlando this May. In 2015, through their brand new Maryland office, Stokes presented at DelDOT’s Civil Rights Summit on DBE Support services, assisted Clark Construction on a DBE Support Workshop and is gearing up for another DBE workshop with Clark in May. They are also busy making headway with several upcoming projects throughout the Baltimore area.   All of these exciting projects could never be completed without the hard work of a talented, dedicated staff of employees. Diane Konopka, serving her 27th year with the firm, manages operations, human resources and personnel. Brenda Hunter, promoted to Chief Financial Officer in 2015, is responsible for pricing structure, project management, and financial investments. Director of Business Development Patty Egan oversees the sales teams in NJ, NY, PA, MD Like father, like son. Pictured on the left, Zac Stokes and Chris Stokes shooting the

New NY Bridge project atop the I Lift NY Super Crane. Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Legislative News

FEDERAL & STATE UPDATE By: Anthony Attanasio, Executive Director   As Spring has arrived we are pleased to report that the renewal of the Transportation Trust Fund saw some positive developments in recent months. Bills to reduce and eventually phase out the New Jersey estate tax and eliminate State Income Tax on the first $100,000 of retirement income cleared the Senate Budget Committee with near unanimous support. The bills are aimed at addressing Governor Christie’s call for tax fairness as part of any increase in taxes to renew the State’s Transportation Trust Fund. The legislation would increase the threshold at which the estate of a deceased family member would become taxable from the existing level of $675,000 to $1 million, starting in January 2017. The threshold would rise to $2.5 million in 2018, $3.5 million in 2019 and $5 million in 2020, after which the tax would disappear. UTCA joined with other representatives of the business community to voice support for this critical measure. The Committee later approved legislation that would increase, over three years, the state income-tax exemptions for retirement income from pensions, 401(k) plans, annuities, and IRAs. The measure would eventually take exemptions-that currently are $15,000 for single taxpayers and $20,000 for married couples filing jointly-up to $75,000 for single taxpayers and $100,000 for married couple filing jointly. These two bills represent the first step in what will hopefully be the beginning of a solution to the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) crisis. Both bills represent the Senate Democrats attempts to advance the tax fairness component of a TTF solution. UTCA CEO Bob Briant and Executive Director Anthony Attanasio have been crisscrossing the State in an effort to sell the tax reform efforts to legislators as an opportunity to eliminate taxes while funding transportation which they may never have again.   The Senate Transportation recently held a hearing on S687, a bill to establish a State Transportation Infrastructure Bank (IBANK).

This is the third attempt to move legislation to create a new and sustainable fund for local road work. UTCA Executive Director Anthony Attanasio testified before the committee and was joined by representatives of several labor groups and other industry associations to support the measure. The bill was voted unanimously out of Committee. Several amendments are necessary to address the Governor’s veto message from the most recent attempt to pass and IBANK bill and the bill’s sponsor requested the UTCA’s assistance in drafting those amendments.   The UTCA played a critical role in advancing a piece of legislation that would bring the Design-Build Authority to NJDOT and other public agencies. (A1730) was introduced at a legislative hearing held by the Assembly State and Local Government Committee. Prior to its introduction, UTCA staff were successful in attaining several key amendments to the bill that protected the industry’s best interests. In particular, UTCA was able to work with the bill’s sponsor to insert language that clarifies the use of apprenticeship programs. Currently UTCA staff is working in conjunction with the NJ Department of Transportation to draft several amendments which will be necessary in order for this bill to adhere to federal regulations. UTCA staff is also working with the bill’s sponsor to address the necessary changes. UTCA would like to thank Assemblyman Troy Singleton (D-7), bill sponsor and Assembly State and Local Government Chairman, for all of his work with the Association to amend this bill.   Dennis Hart, Director of Utility Operations for UTCA, recently testified in favor of S792, a bill that aims to address the creation of stormwater utility authorities at the local level. This is the fourth attempt by the Legislature to address this issue after several earlier efforts were rejected by the administration. The bill allows for the creation of stormwater utility authorities by government units

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016


within which a Combined Stormwater Overflow (CSO) is located. The bill also allows for theses government units to assess fees on the owners of impervious surface lots and utilize those fees to prepare stormwater management plans and implement stormwater management programs. The bill was released out of the Senate Environment and Energy Committee with a unanimous vote. UTCA will continue to support this bill as it moves through the Legislature.   The UTCA helped secure critical amendments to legislation (A1649) that would require municipalities, counties and water/ sewer utility authorities to seek a financing estimate from the NJ Environmental Infrastructure Trust (EIT) prior to the public entity advertising a public works project for bid. The bill was recently approved by the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee with UTCA support. The bill does not require any of these entities to utilize the EIT to finance the project, but if the EIT estimate is lower than what the project owner ends up paying they would be required to justify the decision to the Local Finance Board within the Department of Community Affairs. The legislation had been held up due to several concerns the League of Municipalities and the NJ Association of Counties (NJAC) had with several provisions of the bill. UTCA staff worked with these groups to identify


solutions to their concerns and then worked with the bill’s prime sponsor on amendments. After several months of work, the bill was reintroduced with amendments before the Assembly Environment and Solid Waste Committee. Both the League of Municipalities and NJAC withdrew their opposition of the measure and the bill passed out of committee. UTCA would like to thank Assemblyman Gary Schaer (D-36) for his sponsorship of the legislation and perseverance to get the bill out of committee. The bill now moves on to the full Assembly for a floor vote.   PLEASE CONSIDER SUPPORTING UTCA’S CONSTRUCTORS FOR GOOD GOVERNMENT PAC. UTCA continues to be the leading voice in Trenton and Washington D.C. for the construction industry. Whether it is providing expert testimony before business and legislative groups or positively effecting the legislative process, UTCA stands alone in its record of achievement for our industry. This success can only be made possible by your support of the Association and more importantly with your support of the industry’s PAC: Constructors for Good Government. Please consider making a contribution in 2016 as UTCA plans to be very active in the upcoming legislative session and a robust PAC only strengthens our voice. Thank you for your continued support.

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016


2016 EXECUTIVE SEMINAR A BIG SUCCESS Record Crowd Enjoys Beautiful Weather In Casa de Campo


  he 2016 Executive Seminar turned out to be one of the most popular seminars conducted by the UTCA. 136 UTCA members and their families enjoyed the wonderful facilities of Casa de Campo in the Dominican Republic. This was the second time that UTCA visited Casa de Campo and the feeling of all of the attendees is that it should be placed on a regular rotation of executive seminar locations.   The welcome dinner and reception was held in the outdoor plaza at the Alto de Chavon with the spectacular scenery of the river valley and Dye Fore Golf Course. The group was greeted by the unofficial host of the seminar, Juan Gutierrez, UTCA President Tino Garcia and featured an address by Juan Velasquez the Facilities Manager of the 7,000 acre Casa de Campo complex. Numerous activities, receptions and events helped to build the comradery of the group with many of the attendees commenting that getting to spend so much time together at the seminar events really made the trip special. Whether it was the reception at the Marina or the UTCA Golf Tournament or the Clay Shoot, spending time together made it much more fun and worthwhile. The team of Evarett Cruz, Brian Tipton, Andrew Walsh and Chris McNulty won the golf tournament. Clay Shoot top shooter overall was Patricia Schechter with Angela Cavaliere second and Stephanie Kurfehs third. On the men’s side Juan Gutierrez took first place as Bob Cavaliere matched his daughter with a second place finish and Tom Vollers took third. The highlight of the trip was The White Party. While dressed in all white clothing the group was treated to delicious local foods, drinking and dancing under the moonlight compliments of our gracious hosts Marta and Juan Gutierrez. We will forever be grateful to Marta and Juan for opening up their home and giving all of us an unforgettable night. 26

  At the seminar meetings the attendees received presentations on False Claims Act Litigation by UTCA’s general counsel Paul Fader, Brian Tipton and Lou Cappelli of Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader. Franz-Werner Gerressen of Bauer Maschinen GmbH gave a detailed account of issues his company has faced in constructing foundations under various conditions throughout the world. UTCA staff updated the attendees on legislative and regulatory initiatives being pursued by the association.   Not only was the group able to spend time on the beautiful beach at Casa de Campo but the final dinner and cocktail party was held on the beach and under the stars after a spectacular sunset which was the perfect ending to the trip.   The UTCA and all of the attendees want to express sincere gratitude to the Executive Seminar Committee Chairman Tom Hardell for all of the meticulous planning and details that went into the trip and the following sponsors that helped make such a great experience possible: Florio Perrucci Steinhardt & Fader LLC; Construction Risk Partners; Cohen Seglias Pallas Greenhall & Furman PC; C&H Agency; Hoffman Equipment; True & Associates; EIC Associates; Edward J Post Company; and Stone Hill Contracting. The 2017 Executive Seminar will be a week at the exquisite Hotel Arts Barcelona located on the Mediterranean in Barcelona, Spain. The group leaves on March 31, 2017 with a return flight on April 8, 2017. The Association hopes you will join in on this great trip which will feature educational programs, comradery, sightseeing, wine tasting and fabulous food.

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

HIDDEN RISK: EMPLOYEE RECRUITMENT & RETENTION By: Mark J. Troxell & Shane Riccio, The Graham Company   As many of you can attest, the economic recovery has continued to keep backlogs flush, but that has only heightened the need to find and retain skilled workers. The construction industry has some unique challenges in finding and retaining enough qualified candidates to fill all available positions. If you’re fortunate to find a skilled candidate, the process cannot stop there. After hiring, it is important that you have a structured onboarding process to train new people on safe work practices for the types of hazards they will encounter on the project and to properly acclimate them to the desired safety culture. This is the only way to keep a safety culture intact.   A new hire’s first impression of a company can set the stage for the rest of their employment. A company with a structured, well-executed onboarding program conveys it is wellrun, values its employees, and expects its employees to work safely as a condition of employment. A company that lacks or has a poorly structured onboarding program conveys it is disorganized and indifferent to employee safety.   As backlogs boom, maintaining a successful onboarding process is increasingly critical to not only efficiently complete projects, but also manage risk. The most effective programs will: Hire the Right People   It is often said that people are our greatest asset. Let’s take that a step further because it is more than just hiring people. It is about hiring and retaining the right people that are physically capable of performing tasks on a continuous basis, placing those people in the proper position within your organization, training them to perform assigned tasks safely, and motivating them to be successful.   The Construction Industry Institute (CII) reports that “contractors with employee retention rates of 80 percent or higher realize increased job profits, complete more projects on time or ahead of schedule, and have better project safety performance.”

Establish Goals & Expectations   It is important to discuss company values and goals with each new hire to establish expectations for continued employment. Our most successful clients have safety as a core value. When you review core values, emphasize the company’s commitment to a safe work environment and expectations regarding safety — this sends a powerful message to any new hire.   Managers should take the time to meet weekly with new employees during their probationary period to answer questions and show interest in the new hire’s employment. Review Policies & Procedures   Spend the time to thoroughly review your organization’s policies and procedures. Employees must know company requirements and expectations regarding substance abuse, work hours, appearance, workplace discrimination, treatment of others, employment accountability, etc. Include client expectations in the discussion if a new employee is reporting directly to a job site.   An employee handbook is helpful to a new hire. It provides workplace guidelines and the employee can refer back to it as a resource document. Have the employee sign a document that acknowledges company policies and procedures have been explained to them. Provide Workplace Safety Training   The safety orientation process is the company’s first opportunity to review safety expectations and procedures in detail. The orientation should take place prior to a new employee working on site. The safety orientation should not be rushed; you need to detail behavior expectations, workplace safety requirements, and emergency procedures.   The safety orientation should not be the end of a new hire’s safety training. Employees should receive hazard-specific safety training prior to being asked to perform a task. The hazard safety

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016


training must meet OSHA’s requirements, but it is important that the task training include safe work procedures established by the company. The safe work procedures may exceed minimum OSHA requirements. Assign a Mentor   It is beneficial to utilize one of your high-performing employees as a mentor. The mentor can help the new hire become comfortable on the job and answer questions. We also recommend that new hires be identified by the color of their hard hats. If a company has a specific color or logo on their hard hat, the new hire has to earn the hard hat with the logo by showing their commitment to safety. We suggest letting the mentor and the manager on site be the judge of the new hire’s commitment to safety. Establish a Probationary Period   If permitted, establish a probationary period. A 90-day probationary period gives both you and the new hire time to see whether or not you’re truly a good fit for each other. Of course, some new hires may not make it through the probationary period. Do not be afraid to terminate employment for cause if you feel the employee is going to injure themselves or others by using unsafe work practices or not showing up to work. Develop an Onboarding Checklist   Create and maintain a file of a simple checklist to make sure that no steps were missed in the onboarding process. About the Authors: Mark J. Troxell, ARM, is Vice President of Safety Services at The Graham Company and can be reached at mtroxell@ Shane M. Riccio is a Producer at The Graham Company and can be reached at


Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Financial Overview

CAPITAL INVESTMENT; WHEN IS THE RIGHT TIME? By: William J. Ruckert, Provident Bank

  The bad weather has broken, jobs are starting, the workforce is growing and it was a temperate winter. As you begin the 2016 season, these issues and others are paramount to running your business. One notable missing item, however, is the decision about replacing and/or increasing your fleet of equipment. The last 8 years have been very difficult for the industry, and many companies have deferred capital investment for a variety of good reasons.   De-leveraging your balance sheet during the Great Recession proved to be a prudent decision, as cash reserves were built and profitability improved. However, the useful life of equipment is limited and at some point your business will suffer without the investment. The most glaring signal to equipment wearing out is an increase in repairs and maintenance. Over time, these expenses can exceed financing costs which forces companies to consider equipment upgrades.   Spending money during uncertain times is always difficult and current economic conditions have not provided any real stability. While the Federal government has made a commitment to infrastructure spending for at least the next five years, New Jersey has yet to follow suit. Surprisingly though, the Federal government has stepped up again by reinstating Bonus Depreciation and increasing the depreciation limitation (Section 179). The passage of these provisions through 2017 provides longer term tax benefits to your company as you build a budget for capital spending and make the requisite investments.   Another consideration before making equipment purchases is obtaining financing. Before doing so, however, it is worthwhile to determine “must-have” purchases versus “nice-to have” ones. Must-have equipment includes machinery whose repairs and maintenance expense exceed the financing cost for something new. New work that requires additional equipment also falls into the must-have category. Nice-to-have purchases tend to be more of a luxury item, but changing business conditions can quickly make them must-have items. Establishing and updating a capital invest-

ment budget will aid you during the year as you consider where, when, and how to spend money.   There are a variety of financing alternatives available to support your equipment needs. One important factor to initially consider is whether to buy or lease. Many manufacturers offer leasing programs whose payments can be applied to the purchase price. This alternative provides time to ensure the equipment is necessary for your core business as opposed to a specific job. Manufacturers also offer financing programs which can be very attractive and your dealer should ably describe their terms to you. Banks provide a third option to finance both new and used equipment.   When approaching your bank about equipment financing, ensure they will lend against new and used equipment, as well as the percentage for the loan amount. It is not uncommon for banks to lend less than 100% of new equipment’s purchase price and used equipment can carry a deeper discount. The cash you invest in equipment is tied up for an extended period of time, so keep that in mind when you look at cash flow needs, especially this time of year. Other banks, like Provident, will finance 100% of the purchase price for new equipment as the useful life of the asset exceeds the term of the loan. Lending against used equipment tends to be more conservative; however, the type of machinery and hours of use can impact the loan amount. The length of the loan must also be considered as banks prefer shorter terms which can impact cash flow.   When you approach your lender about financing for your equipment, be sure to have a detailed budget that identifies your specific needs. Timing is important, as is your projected return on investment. Be conservative in estimating the revenue stream associated with new equipment and the cost savings realized by replacing assets. Both items are critical to the ability to repay the new debt.   It has been a while since we have seen major capital investing in the industry despite historically low interest rates. Now may be Continued on page 58

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Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

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Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

The Pipeline

By: Dennis Hart, Director Of Utility Operations   In this issue of The Pipeline I want to highlight activities underway related to our utility infrastructure. Aging Gas Mains   While the utility companies have completed a great deal of work to repair their infrastructure damaged by Super Storm Sandy they are also turning toward the future to address the aging utility infrastructure which exists in New Jersey. Recently, PSEG announced a major upgrade of its aging natural gas infrastructure. PSEG has received approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities to replace 510 miles of cast iron gas mains and 38,000 service lines. They anticipate conducting this program over a three year period. Not only will this provide our industry with a great deal of work opportunities but it will also present a number of challenges for contractors and governmental agencies doing work on other infrastructure projects within the area of the old cast iron pipes. Any projects which include excavation in our older cities must recognize the potential for impacts to cast iron mains in the vicinity of the construction project. It is important for contractors bidding on work within the older cities to have the project owners identify the locations of all utilities and especially cast iron mains within the project area being bid. The owners must acknowledge that excavation in the vicinity of cast iron service mains will require a more costly effort to protect those lines against shifting, collapsing and leaking which could cause a significant disaster. The protection of the workers and citizens from a gas leak and explosion is the number one priority. The project owners need to recognize in their bid documents that the use of sheeting left in place most likely will be necessary to protect

the cast iron mains. The UTCA staff and PSEG staff have met to address this issue and we are developing a seminar program to advise the construction industry on how to proceed when encountering other infrastructure projects within areas of old cast iron gas mains. Ideally, municipalities and utility authorities should first alert PSEG to planned water, sewer or other projects within streets containing the cast iron gas mains and determine if PSEG would be able to replace its gas lines prior to the other infrastructure project proceeding. If this is not possible then the contractor and owner will have to take special care and construction techniques to prevent impacts to the gas lines. Please keep an eye out for an upcoming seminar on this topic. Wind Energy   On March 16, 2016 the Obama Administration announced approval of the second area off of the New Jersey coast for offshore wind farms. The first area which received approval last year is 7 miles off shore between Barnegat and Cape May Court House. US Wind, Inc. and RES Americas were the winning bidders to develop projects within these leases. The latest approval is for leases in an area approximately 17 miles off of Sandy Hook. In addition to these two New Jersey leases the Federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has approved leases for nine other commercial wind energy projects along the Atlantic Coast. These include two in a lease area off of Rhode Island and Massachusetts, three off of Massachusetts, one off of Delaware, two off of Maryland one off of Virginia’s coast. The nation’s first offshore wind farm is currently under construction off of the coast of Rhode Island.

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Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

INNOVATIVE HEALTH INSURACE SOLUTIONS: A Fully-Integrated Health Management Program That Offers Cost Savings Feature!

By: Nancy Damato, Partner, RDA Benefit Services WELLNESS INTEGRATION IS AN IMPORTANT FEATURE   Most importantly, this program offers an integrated and incentived wellness component at no extra charge. This program includes onsite wellness screenings, monthly webinars and onsite seminars for employees, as well as incentives for employees to be engaged in wellness activities.   In fact, integration with wearable devices, such as Fitbits, is strongly encouraged. Wearable devices have already begun to have an impact on the wellness industry. Entrepreneur magazine has reported that, according to ABI Research, an estimated 13 million wearable devices will be integrated into corporate wellness plans over the KEY BENEFITS TO THIS UNIQUE PROGRAM next five years. The employee engagement with this type INCLUDE:   •  It can be paired with any insurance carrier and any of a program has been very high and has definitely had a positive impact on healthcare costs.    insurance plan   Take the time today to consider this program, especial  •  It allows the employer to customize the benefit ly if you have been struggling with reducing benefits in    features, as well as offer more than one plan to order to manage your health insurance premiums. It is    the employees being offered exclusively to UTCA member firms through   •  It offers a proprietary medical reimbursement RDA Benefit Services, LLC.    system   For a complimentary savings analysis of your current   •  It offers strong customer service support health insurance plans and to see how this program can be   •  It offers integrated FSA administration beneficial to your company, please contact Nancy Dama  •  It is HIPAA compliant to, RDA Benefit Services at 855-693-0772 or ndamato@   We are proud to introduce to UTCA member firms a new innovative benefit program that gives employers the flexibility of offering rich medical benefits, while saving money at the same time. This program is designed as a long-term solution for managing your healthcare costs. In fact, over the last 10 years, this program has saved existing clients an average of more than 18% a year!   Since the introduction of the Affordable Care Act, employers have been constantly challenged to find costeffective, high quality health benefit programs. And of course, it is a known fact that offering superior benefits are key to attracting and keeping quality employees.

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Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016


Accounting Corner


  As you read this article, hopefully you have wrapped up your year-end financial statements and are beginning to look forward to a busy summer construction schedule. While you’re checking your new iPhone, iPad, and your laptop, take a minute to look at your company’s construction accounting software package and ask a few key questions:   • Did I get timely and accurate financial information?   • Did I get the details that I needed on a timely basis to implement changes on a job?   • Were there surprises on my job schedule that only came to light when closing out the financials?   • How old is our accounting software and our hardware?   • When did we last run an assessment of our information technology needs?   At a recent national construction conference, I attended a program on technology utilization in the construction industry. I was alarmed, but not surprised, to see that the construction industry is one of the slowest to adapt to new technologies. If the answers to the above questions concern you, then it may well be time to take a hard look at your construction accounting software. Technological Evolution Calls for Reassessing Accounting Software   You all know, first-hand, how the construction job site has evolved over the last few decades. From GPS on the blades of your graders, to 3D imaging and BIM technology, measurements are now taken and wirelessly transmitted to a central database where quantities and values can be recorded with little to no manual intervention. Workers are swiping in and out of the work site using handprints or visual scanners. Project progress can be tracked on dashboards summarizing contract performance in real time, and drones hover above project sites visually recording it all. Jobs sites 46

have changed, and there is no indication that these advancements will slow down any time soon.   Too many times we see companies embrace these field technologies, while still running their accounting systems on antiquated equipment and software. It’s time to make an honest assessment of your technology needs and capabilities and put a plan in place to make necessary investments.   The tools exist today to allow collection of data from various sources, with the ability to combine the data to make decisions in real time. Materials, subcontractor scheduling, labor and finance teams can all interact to make timely decisions that impact job performance, revenue and results. If properly implemented, construction accounting software can:   • Signal the order and movement of materials directly to a job site via final and approved project plans   • Calculate the need for labor and equipment in real-time through data tracking such movement   • Update schedules based on the percentage of completion as material is used in the construction process   • Automatically update financial data with financial reports created using live data   • Display up-to-the-minute project status through executive dashboards and automatically create alerts when results deviate from established parameters   This process takes minimal human intervention using predicative analytics to model financial performance – from maintaining site equipment to real time measurements of quantities put in place.   The days of waiting for an accountant to close the books so that you can measure performance for the year is a thing of the past. Performing percentage of completion schedules, annually or semiannually, also requires change. The sheer size and complexity Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

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of these projects – accompanied by the challenges in submitting claims and change orders – makes it incumbent on the contractor to have access to meaningful data in real time. The tools are out there, and with some upfront investment in hardware and software, along with a commitment of time from management, the timing of financial information can improve significantly. Leverage Technology to Secure Job Compliance   Contractors also need to be aware of increased job compliance scrutiny. Big brother is watching. More owners are requiring postcontract cost audits. For example, there is a rise in large projects using compliance monitors, and whistleblowers are seeing the benefits of allegations of false claims. Contractors need to be aware of the technology that oversight groups are using, and ensure that they have the ability to track the same areas of concern. Today’s technology can be used to track various labor requirements and to identify unusual transactions or less than arm’s length transactions. While compliance auditors are charged with reducing or eliminating fraud, waste and abuse, a contractor should implement many of the same tools for the same reason, with the additional incentive of keeping themselves and their company out of trouble.   The tools are out there. It’s now our turn, as an industry, to embrace them and make the critical changes to take us to the next level.   As you close the books on one year and look forward to the next, take the time to meet with your trusted financial advisor and make these assessments.


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Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Legal Dig


  Liquidated damages are damages agreed to at the time a contract is executed as compensation for a potential future breach of that contract. If you are a general contractor doing work for the state or local government, it is highly likely that your contract contains a liquidated damage provision. In construction contracts, liquidated damages are usually assessed for failure to complete a project on time and are set at a per diem rate. Thus, the total amount of liquidated damages is determined by multiplying the liquidated damage per diem rate by the number of days the project continues beyond the completion date set in the contract. Often liquidated damages will begin to run if the contractor does not reach substantial completion by the scheduled date. Astute general contractors will incorporate into their subcontracts by reference the liquidated damage provision contained in the general contract.   For many years courts around the country have enforced liquidated damage provisions on public works projects to help foster timely completion of the project. However, liquidated damage provisions are unenforceable if the liquidated damages are nothing more than a penalty provision. New Jersey Law provides that a contract may only include a liquidated damage provision that represents a “good faith effort to estimate in advance the actual damages that will probably ensue from the breach.” Westmont Country Club v. Kameny, 82 N.J. Super 200, 205(1965).   One of the difficulties in challenging a liquidated damage provision as merely an excessive penalty provision is that the amount of potential damages can not be fully evaluated until the time that the breach occurs, which is often several years after the contract was executed.   In late February, the Supreme Court of Ohio in Piketon v. Boone Coleman Construction, Inc., Slip Opinion No. 2016-Ohio-628, ruled that the validity of a liquidated damage provision is deter-

mined by the per diem rate amount of damages in the contract and not the aggregate amount of damages. In Piketon, Boone Construction entered into a contract with the village of Piketon whereby Piketon agreed to pay Boone Construction a total of $683,300.00 for roadway and traffic signal improvements. The contract also included a $700/day liquidated damage provision. When the project came in 397 days late, Piketon assessed Boone $277,900.00 in liquidated damages. The Appellate Court affirmed the Trial Court’s decision that the contractor was liable for the delay but reversed the Trial Court’s award of liquidated damages. The Appellate Court held that the $277,900 award of liquidated damages was an excessive penalty on a $683,000 contract.   The Ohio Supreme Court reversed the ruling that the liquidated damage amount was an excessive penalty because the Appellate Court improperly focused solely on the total amount of damages rather than the reasonableness of the per diem rate set in the contract.   The Ohio Supreme Court stated that the Court should look at “whether it was conscionable to assess $700 per day in liquidated damages for each day that the contract was not completed rather than looking at the aggregate amount of the damages awarded.” Piketon at ¶ 31. If the liquidated damage provision was reasonable at the time the contract was executed, the provision would be enforced. The question the lower court should have addressed was whether the $700 per day liquidated damage amount was reasonable as opposed to the reasonableness of the total amount of liquidated damages assessed. The Supreme Court reversed and remanded the case for the Trial Court “to reconsider the enforceability of the liquidated-damages provision in light of this opinion.” Id. ¶ 42

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In a dissenting opinion in the Piketon case Justice Pfeiffer stated that “Equities do matter”, and the Court of Appeals got it right when it “refused to enforce the liquidated-damages clause because it was so unreasonable and disproportionate as to amount to a penalty.” ¶ 47 The differing opinions by the Trial Court, the Appellate Court and Ohio Supreme Court, with its dissenting opinion, show just how difficult it is to determine the enforceability of a liquidated damage provision.   In New Jersey, our courts have held that liquidated damages must bear a reasonable relationship to probable loss, otherwise they are unenforceable. Wasserman’s, Inc. v. Middletown Tp., 137 N.J. 238, 248 (1994). New Jersey courts may be more in line with the dissent in the Piketon case, since they often consider “reasonableness” not only at the time of the formation of the contract, but actual damages at the time of the breach. River Road Assoc. v. Chesapeake Display and Packaging Co., Inc. 104 F. Supp. 2d 418, 424 fn. 8 (citing Wasserman’s, 137 N.J. at 254).


  Suffice it to say, challenging a liquidated damage provision as an excessive penalty is difficult. As the Piketon case reveals, even in a case where the facts are clear, reviewing Courts can have differing opinions. Of course, the best defense to a liquidated damage claim is to complete the project on time. If the project presents unavoidable delays it is critical to document the basis for any delays and promptly submit a requisition for a time extension.   To the extent that an owner unreasonably refuses to grant an extension of time for a change order, an engineer fails to respond within contractual time limits to a request for information, or a utility or other contractor interferes with a contractor’s job progress, the delay may be excusable. Remember, liquidated damages only apply to an unexcused delay in the timely completion of the project.

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Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Labor Relations


  Almost a year ago, the Labor Relations Corner advised UTCA Contractors about the “Opportunity to Compete Act” (“Act”), which law took effect in New Jersey on March 1, 2015. This Act, which is often referred to as the “Ban the Box Law”, prohibits a covered employer from asking a job applicant about his or her criminal background during the “initial hiring process”, which includes job applications as well as the first interview. Notwithstanding this prohibition, however, the “Ban the Box Law” still permits employers to conduct criminal background checks and to use the information contained therein as part of the employer’s ultimate hiring decision after the “initial hiring process” has occurred.   On December 7, 2015, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (“NJDOL”) issued much anticipated “Ban the Box” Regulations in order to clarify some of the prevalent questions and issues surrounding the Act. As the NJDOL is the agency solely responsible for the Act’s enforcement (there is no private cause of action for aggrieved individuals), said regulations provide meaningful insight for employers into how the Act will be interpreted. Since the majority of job positions maintained by UTCA Contractors fall under the Act, becoming familiar with the NJDOL Regulations is essential for all UTCA Contractors so as to ensure that their hiring processes are compliant. Overview of the Act:   The New Jersey “Ban the Box Law” prohibits a covered employer from inquiring about a job applicant’s criminal history during the initial hiring phase of the application process. This means that a covered employer may not have a question relating to criminal history on a job application form nor may the employer ask the applicant about his or her criminal background during an interview. However, an employer may still conduct a criminal background check prior to extending an offer of employment to an applicant and may also use the information revealed in such a background check to deny employment to an individual.   The Act applies to all employers doing business in New Jersey

who employ fifteen (15) or more employees during a twenty (20) calendar week period. The Act does contain an exemption for certain job positions, such as law enforcement and judiciary, which by law may not be held by persons with criminal records. Similarly, an employer may be exempt if its business activities would be compromised by law or regulation if it employed persons with criminal backgrounds. The Act is enforced administratively by the NJDOL with civil penalties of $1,000 for a first violation, $5,000 for a second violation, and $10,000 for any subsequent violations. Overview of the NJDOL “Ban the Box” Regulations:   The NJDOL Regulations address several key issues surrounding the Act’s meaning and application as follows: - Multi-State Job Applications. The NJDOL adopts the position that employers may include an inquiry concerning criminal history on a multi-state job application so long as there is a statement that: “an applicant for a position the physical location of which will be in whole, or substantial part, in New Jersey is instructed not to answer the question.” - DWI/DUI Inquiries. The NJDOL clarifies that DWI/DUI inquiries are not permitted during the “initial hiring process” since said inquiries could involve criminal charges. - Internet Searches. The NJDOL clarifies that an employer is prohibited from making any oral or written inquiry during the initial employment application process regarding an applicant’s criminal record, including internet searches. - Definition of Employer Under the Act. The NJDOL states that the Act covers employers with at least fifteen (15) employees, regardless of whether those employees are all located in New Jersey. - Definition of Independent Contractor Versus Employee. The NJDOL states that it will apply the “ABC Test” when determining whether an individual is an “employee” or “independent contractor” for purposes of the Act’s coverage. - Third Party Criminal Background Checks. The NJDOL states that Third Party Criminal Background checks are expressly prohibited during the initial hiring process.

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- Deliberation. The NJDOL clarifies that the Act does not require the employer to engage in any type of deliberative process concerning the applicant and the employer is permitted to inquire about an applicant’s criminal record “the moment that the ‘initial employment application process’ has concluded.” Advice for UTCA Contractors:   Even with the adoption of the NJDOL Regulations, as with any new law, there are still many unknowns surrounding both practice and enforcement. The fact that there is a line drawn between the initial hiring phase, during which inquiries regarding criminal history are prohibited, and the final employment decision, where criminal background information can be considered, creates a lot of uncertainty regarding the use of said information. Accordingly, all UTCA Contractors should review the NJDOL Regulations in conjunction with their current hiring procedures so as to develop an application process that balances, consistent with the Act, an applicant’s right to have access to a position regardless of his or her criminal history and an employer’s right to consider an applicant’s criminal history before making a final employment decision.


Continued from page 35 the time to reinvest in your company as banks are eager to lend and the economic environment is improving. If you are considering this investment strategy, be sure to speak with your accountant, not only about the aforementioned tax issues, but cash flow, debt service, covenant compliance, etc. Your banker should also be included in these discussions in order to fully leverage the benefits associated with good business partners. About The Author . . .Wm. J. Ruckert III is Senior Vice President of Middle Market Lending at Provident Bank. Based in Provident’s Iselin office, Ruckert oversees commercial financing for companies with sales of $15 million or more. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Loyola College in Maryland.

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Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Safety Perspective


  While OSHA standards are not modified all that often, there have been several recent changes which are important for contractors to understand. New OSHA Reporting Requirements   OSHA has recently revised its requirements for reporting of workplace fatalities and certain injuries. The new requirements state in part, the following:   Within eight (8) hours after the death of any employee as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the fatality to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), U.S. Department of Labor   Within twenty-four (24) hours after the in-patient hospitalization of one or more employees or an employee's amputation or an employee's loss of an eye, as a result of a work-related incident, you must report the in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye to OSHA.   You must report the fatality, in-patient hospitalization, amputation, or loss of an eye using one of the following methods:   •  By telephone or in person to the OSHA Area Office that    is nearest to the site of the incident.   •  By telephone to the OSHA toll-free central telephone    number, 1-800-321-OSHA (1-800-321-6742).   •  By electronic submission using the reporting application    located on OSHA's public Web site at New Confined Space Standard for Construction   OSHA has also recently adopted New Confined Space Entry regulations for Construction, these changes are effective August 3, 2015, however OSHA also implemented a 90 day enforcement de-

lay. The new rules are now fully in effect, UTCA members should update their written procedures and field protocols accordingly.   There are significant changes included in these new Federal requirements and it is critical that your employees are aware of the new requirements. The new standard includes:   •  More detailed provisions regarding coordination of    activities when multiple employers are onsite   •  Continuous Atmospheric Monitoring whenever possible   •  Requires a Qualified Person to serve as Entry Supervisor   •  Requires Safe Ingress and Egress from Confined Spaces   •  Discusses specific Lighting requirements for Confined    Spaces   •  Requires Verification of Rescue Services availability   •  Training in a Language and Vocabulary understood by    the employee   There are a number of other Key Changes to the Confined Space Requirements for Construction. OSHA has published a Small Entity Compliance Guide for Confined Spaces in Construction which is available at and provides an excellent and detailed review of the new regulations. About the Author…. Kevin Monaco is President of Leading Edge Safety & Health. Leading Edge Safety & Health is a professional safety consulting firm specializing in OSHA Compliance, Safety Training and Site Safety Management for the construction industry. The firm has performed work for nearly 150 clients in more than 20 states and includes several former senior level OSHA officials on their staff.

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Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

In Memory Of

PETER GETCHELL 1947 - 2016

The June 2016 Magazine will feature a Tribute to Pete Getchell

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016



Utility and Transportation Contractor, APRIL 2016

Utility and Transportation Contractor April 2016  
Utility and Transportation Contractor April 2016