July 31, 2014
The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association’s (NSSGA) new vice president of communications, Bailey Wood, joins the association with plenty of Capitol Hill cred and ambitious plans to help the association grow both its membership base and its sphere of influence.
“Bailey’s background will be instrumental to NSSGA as we seek to align our key strategic initiatives with our legislative and regulatory affairs on Capitol Hill,” says NSSGA President and CEO Mike Johnson. “He has the skills to grow NSSGA’s public presence, keep our members informed and provide a powerful voice on the national and grassroots levels.”
In an interview with Aggregates Manager, Wood noted his first job was as an unpaid intern for Sen. Bob Dole. Throughout eight years on the Hill, he worked for a number of Congressmen and on several committees. He was communication director for the House Policy Committee under Chairman Chris Cox, and served as communications director for the House Homeland Security Committee.
After a short stint as a lobbyist, he joined the National Automobile Dealers Association, where he was the lead policy communicator for eight years. Wood handled issues ranging from dealership closures to the Cash for Clunkers program, where he served as the lead spokesman. “I don’t think I’ve ever worked so hard in my entire life,” Wood says, “and it was a hell of a lot of fun.”
While his time on Capitol Hill helped Wood understand the importance of the media’s role in the legislative and regulatory process, his time with the automobile association helped him better grasp the role of communication within an association.
He describes his current goals as two-pronged:
Create the right environment so that other divisions of the association can succeed. His objective will be to get the right message in front of the right audience in order to influence public opinion. To illustrate this point, he describes efforts to pass the temporary patch to the highway bill. He notes that while getting a quote in the New York Times may be prestigious, it is not as effective as getting the message in Capitol Hill publications. “We look at the strategic aspect of it — where are we trying to be; what are we trying to accomplish,” he says. “I believe you start with a goal. With a goal, you figure out who your audience is, from there you figure out what key points you seek to influence, and what opportunities you have to do so.”
Report back to the membership on association efforts. Wood says his goal will be to communicate to members what the organization is doing on key issues such as highway funding and waters of the U.S., among other topics. This will be central to the association’s Rocks Build America initiative. “Communication will play a central role in just about every aspect of that plan,” Wood says. To that end, he will be looking at the association’s own media properties, such Stone, Sand & Gravel Review and e-Digest and Washington Watch, and social media channels to see how each can enhance strategic communications.
While sharing the association’s efforts to members will be a priority, reaching out to non-members will also be a core goal. “If you produce stone, sand and gravel, we’d like to welcome you to join us,” Wood says to non-member producers, noting that in addition to regulatory and legislative efforts, the association’s educational programs can help producers run more efficient and profitable operations.
Having grown up near aggregate operations in Pennsylvania, he saw the impact producers have on a region, not only in terms of direct employees, but also through the ripple effect they have on the community.
“Stone, sand and gravel producers have a phenomenal story to tell,” Wood says. “If we tell that story properly in the media, get people involved in a grassroots level, and grow the organization, we can do absolutely amazing things, not only for our industry, but for our nation.”