Webinar Follow up: Who Participated, Some Questions Answered

On February 26, 2013 PCTC sponsored a webinar through Pavement Magazine. The webinar featured John and Bill Walsh of VelveTop Products, who shared their experiences and lessons learned interacting with a local government about an effort to ban refined tar-based pavement sealer. The webinar also featured Koppers’ Mike Juba, who talked about challenges facing the sealcoating industry and initiatives undertaken by PCTC to address challenges.

By making it free for the audience, PCTC hoped the webinar would reach the many small sealcoating businesses to help keep them informed. PCTC has been looking for ways to reach out to sealcoat contractors that are small businesses serving local communities and the webinar format seems to succeed in appealing to hard-to-reach small local businesses.

Information provided to Pavement Magazine by webinar participants tells the story. 286 people registered for the event. Of these, 265 identified themselves as involved in the pavement industry. 124 registrants are from companies with ten or fewer employees, 52 from companies with 11 to 20 employees, 31 from companies with 21 to 35 employees and 54 are with companies with more than 35 employees. The remaining 21 participants are affiliated with government agencies (local, state and federal) or universities, are consultants or with construction suppliers or, in one case, a newspaper.

And the seminar participants took advantage of the chance to ask questions – more questions than could be handled during the hour-long webinar. We will try to answer your questions starting in this month’s column.

One of the questions most commonly asked by webinar participants was how to find out about proposed legislation or government agency actions. The task of tracking government activities is not easy even at national levels, but the U.S. Congress and state legislatures have web sites that allow the public to track bills as they are introduced and go through the legislative process.

Keeping track of activities at federal and state agencies is much more difficult, and trying to follow local and county governments and agencies is harder still. This is one of the biggest disadvantages small businesses face when faced with regulation at any level. Large businesses can often afford to hire people to keep a close eye on federal and state legislatures and rule-making agencies.

Small businesses are not able to do the same, and so are often surprised when new regulations are imposed and are just as often “thrown under the bus” during the rule-making process because, as the old Washington saying goes, if you’re not at the table, you’re on the menu. PCTC tries to keep track of legislation and rule making that could affect the sealcoating industry by the US and Canadian federal governments, states and provinces and, as much as possible, by more local government units. One reason for reaching out to local sealcoating businesses is to ask you to let us know about any activities that you hear about in your service area.