My name is Roger Geisinger and I have taken on the role of Executive Director for AMBA. I am sure many of you already know me, but for those of you who don’t I will give you a brief history. Prior to retiring in 2016, I spent 39 years in the Metal Building industry. I hold a B. Ed. and an Alberta Journeyman Metal Building Erector trade certificate. I spent 6 years on the Provincial Apprenticeship Committee for the Ironworker Trade. I was also a member of the Alberta Apprenticeship Board for another 6 years. I have been a member of many industry advisory committees for metal building manufacturer’s. For my first 12 years I worked in the field as an ironworker, foreman and field supervisor. The remainder of my career was managing a Metal Building Department for a large, Edmonton based General Contractor.
So a question that often comes up is, “Why should our company become an AMBA member?”. One of the main answers to that question is rooted in our history. Back in the early 90’s, the Unionized Ironworker Trade lobbied the provincial government of the time to make the Trade compulsory. Most of us in the industry at the time didn’t realize how this would impact us. Once the trade became compulsory only those who held Alberta Journeyman Ironworker tickets or were registered apprentices would be allowed to erect any type of structural steel. To our dismay, that included Metal Buildings!
After several calls, a meeting of those involved with the Metal Building industry was organized and we had our first meeting as a group. We quickly concluded that we needed to organize if our voice was to heard. We contacted Merit Contractors Association and they agreed to help us form what is now the Alberta Metal Building Association. Once we had an organization in place we approached the Alberta Apprenticeship Department to discuss how this new legislation did not meet the needs of our industry (remember back then the only people who held JM Ironworker certificates were in organized labour). Without changes many contractors would have been forced to become unionized. After a long two-year, drawn out, often confrontational, series of meetings the Metal Building Erector trade was developed as a sub sector of the Ironworker trade. We were able to grandfather our experienced workers (who met the criteria) and were able to continue our work erecting buildings. The positive outcome was our workers were now recognized as a designated trade and received government paid for training!
Without AMBA none of this would have happened. If you want your voice heard and your opinions recognized you need to have an organizational structure representing your industry. AMBA does that! It’s vital now just it was back in the early 90’s. Our current provincial government leans strongly towards organized labour and has enacted several pieces of legislation supporting them. They have also stacked a number of Boards and Commissions with members having organized labour backgrounds. Now more than ever we need to be vigilant and need to support AMBA.
Over the years AMBA has also been heavily involved with subsidizing training programs, offering apprentice bursaries and apprenticeship awards. Recently, the Board has under gone a substantial change with new people getting involved. This new energy will help keep AMBA strong and lead to new initiatives.
In conclusion AMBA needs you and you need AMBA!