January 15, 2017
2016 year in review
The annual golf tournament provides a great place for all stakeholders in the damage prevention industry to come together.
By Terry Murphy CLM

Terry MurphyIt’s time to look back on 2016 and ask ourselves if we had a good year. In general, the Ontario Regional Common Ground Alliance (ORCGA) had a very good year. At the beginning of 2016, we were coming out of a year in which we had just moved our head office from St. Catharines to Vaughan. We basically had to replace our whole team with new talent. Even with new people in new positions, the team performed very well. Our events were very well received and successful. This was due to a real team effort by all staff.


In November 2015, our accountant of 10 years decided not to move to Vaughan with the new office, but rather to remain in St. Catharines, which meant we were looking for a new accountant. Kim Shepherd was hired and she has proven to be a real asset. In February, our marketing and geographic council person, Lori O’Doherty, resigned to pursue other interests and Jennifer Parent was assigned to this area. It was our staffing plan to hire a new events person and Keith Begley came on board in June. Jennifer worked on the golf tournament and did a great job. At the same time, Ian Munro, president, replaced Jim Douglas, and was only around for a year or so, which meant we had a complete change in staff. The old team, which did an extremely good job in all areas, was replaced by a brand new team. What a challenge!

RCGA Damage Prevention Symposium

Our annual symposium is the key event each year. This three-day event has seminars, an annual general meeting, trade show, guest speakers, Geographic Council meetings, awards banquet and various presentations. The event was held at Blue Mountain Resort in Collingwood and was attended by more than 250 participants. The events committee is always looking for fresh ideas, so if you have new ideas or thoughts on some interesting events or seminar topics, we welcome your feedback. The 2017 Symposium will be held at the Sheraton Hotel in Niagara Falls from Jan. 31 to Feb. 2. Online registration is open for exhibitors, sponsors and delegates at orcga.com.

Golf tournament

In June, the 11th annual ORCGA golf tournament at Deer Creek Golf & Banquet Facility in Ajax was a huge success. The sold out tournament was the largest ever for an ORCGA golf event, featuring over 288 golfers. We thank our many volunteers and sponsors who made it a great day. Thanks also to Jennifer Parent who planned the event. Plans are already underway for our 2017 golf event.

Locate Rodeo

The competitive spirit among our locate professionals is one of the things that makes the ORCGA Locate Rodeo such a great event. The 2016 event was held Oct. 27-28 at the Nottawasaga Inn in Alliston which proved to be a real challenge for organizers and participants. The competition requires at least 40 volunteers and we thank the industry for their great support. Several of our winners will go on to locate events in the United States next year. Our thanks to Keith Begley, manager, activities, logistics and programs, for his diligent planning and follow-up, which made the event a great success. All sponsorships were sold out.

Geographic Councils (GCs)

While all of our major events are important, the Geographic Councils are key meetings that drive everything the ORCGA does. We have 13 geographic areas and we try to have three to four meetings each year in each area. Head office always has a representative at each meeting. Each council has a chair and a co-chair who must keep their council organized and ensure there is good communication so members know what the direction of the ORCGA is in that area. It is our goal in 2017 to make our councils more strategic and challenging to help us achieve more positive and tangible results, such as increasing membership. We also want to give new members the opportunity to introduce themselves at local GC meetings and tell everyone what they do by having a five minute introduction session. This gives them a chance to share information and to partner on projects where appropriate. The GC’s were well attended and all but one showed a double-digit increase in attendance in 2016.

Help us to help you

In light of the many changes the ORCGA has gone through, the team, led by Ian Munro, has done a very good job in 2016. Participation in every event in 2016 was either equal to, or better than the previous year. As staff gain even more experience, we look forward to becoming even better in 2017. This can only happen if members and volunteers continue to support us and continue to provide their input, both good or bad about how we can work even better in the damage prevention industry.
Please send your comments, suggestions and questions so we can make 2017 another great year.

Terry Murphy can be reached at tvmurphy@ca.inter.net.