The Detention Equipment Contractors Association (DECA) chose new leaders when it met for the fourth time in conjunction with the winter ACA show in Phoenix, Ariz.
Created to form ethical, beneficial and user-minded standard practices, DECA arose in response to what future members saw as a disintegrating DEC scope and poor practices that could result in life-safety issues and a lack of accountability.
In the fall of 2010, leading detention equipment contractors met for the first time to discuss how to prevent these problematic practices from pervading the DEC community. The ideal that now guides the DECA is to improve detention contracting by holding DECs accountable to standards of ethics, financial stability, quality materials, workmanship and business practices. It seeks to do this in part by providing complete, well-defined detention packages and supporting the architectural and contracting community.
At the meeting in January, members voted in new leaders who will develop the association’s structure and services this year: Mike Harris of DESI as chairman, Mitch Claborn of Cornerstone Detention Products as vice-chair, Meredith Berman of Sierra Detention Systems as secretary and Jim Brown of Southern Folger as treasurer.
The meeting also featured two guest speakers: Roger Lichtman, president of architectural firm The Lichtman Associates, and David Bashford, partner at Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP, where he specializes in risk management for the construction industry.
Following his article in the November/December 2011 edition of Correctional News, “Litigation in Correctional Design and Construction Prequalification of the Trades,” Lichtman spoke about the role DECA could have in the project procurement process. It could, he said, educate owners, architects and general contractors to promote the logical operations of jails and to share vital, unique experience in correctional facility construction.
Bashford, who has more than 10 years of experience in the construction industry, spoke of the need to mitigate construction risks in specifications, contracts and the field. By sharing their knowledge and marketing power with each other, DECA members can avoid and find solutions to these risks.
DECA will reconvene in July 2012 in Denver for its biannual meeting, where it will report on its growth and progress.