Relationship Building with Stakeholders
NASBP is graced with proactive volunteers and staff who, through the focused energies of initiatives undertaken by the Industry Relations Committee, the Government Relations Committee, and the Small and Emerging Business Committee, among other committees, foster, maintain, and enhance informal and formal relationships with groups and organizations composed of surety industry stakeholders. The NASBP mission—to strengthen professionalism, expertise, and innovation in surety and to advocate its use worldwide—deserves nothing less. Efforts with stakeholder organizations, both in public and private sectors, occur throughout the year, some planned and some unplanned. No higher compliment can be paid to NASBP and, in turn, its members than having the opportunity to serve as a “go to” resource on bonding information to stakeholder organizations. As these interactions and outreaches often occur and are many, there simply is not enough time or energy to note or publicize all of them regularly. I will, however, try to give you a sample of some of the recent contacts with stakeholders, so you have a better idea of what is being done on your behalf to advance your livelihood and industry.
NASBP maintains productive relationships with key federal agencies and seeks relationships with other agencies that impact the acceptance of surety bonds. For example, a NASBP volunteer leader and staff met virtually with representatives of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Overseas Buildings Operations to discuss differences between letters of credit and surety bonds and to answer questions about surety bonding and surety markets. I was fortunate to join International Committee Chair Michael Youngblut and Director, Government Relations Larry LeClair in that conversation with State Department executives, where we exchanged bonding resources and agreed to take part in future initiatives to educate State Department personnel overseeing federal overseas construction on surety bonding. Recent conversations also have included discussions with senior executives of the U.S. Department of Commerce, National Telecommunications and Information Administration, which oversees key funding programs for broadband infrastructure, and with the U.S. Small Business Administration, Office of Surety Guarantees, to discuss upcoming and planned changes to the program. The latter discussion also included an introduction to the new Deputy Associate Administrator of the Office of Capital Access, who has purview over both loan and bond programs at SBA.
We continue to engage entities at state and local levels through meetings and correspondence. We contacted and were given an opportunity to dialogue with the Southwest Power Pool, a regional power transmission organization headquartered in Little Rock, Arkansas, which manages the electric grid and power transmission in the central United States, to provide surety perspectives on its bond form, seeking more equitable terms. NASBP authored letters to the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia, and to the City of Mobile, Alabama, to make them aware of the legal efficacy of resident agent requirements on their bond forms.
Involvement with stakeholder coalitions has been substantial, as NASBP continues its work to leverage the relationships with these many coalition organizations to make advocacy gains for surety in, for example, the realms of better federal procurement policies on interim payments for change orders and of the security required of entities receiving federal funding to undertake broadband infrastructure.
And we continue to serve as sought-after resources to and sounding boards for our long-standing partner organizations, such as the Associated General Contractors of America, the Engineers Joint Contract Documents Committee, and the Construction Financial Management Association, among others. I am particularly pleased to report on a further step we are taking with one of our cherished partners, the American Subcontractors Association, as we will elevate our excellent informal working relationship to a higher level in 2024 through a formal alliance agreement, where we pledge to seek mutual synergies in information sharing, educational efforts, and grassroots advocacy.
These are some, but not all, of what has transpired with stakeholders over the last two months, and we continue to see opportunities for relationship building and outreach in the future. As President Pribyl would say, we’re “all in” on connecting with those that impact our product!