By Maureen Werther
Lee Keirstead, project manager for Stone Bridge Iron and Steel, Inc. in Gansevoort, is the new president of Northeast Subcontractors Association (NESCA).
NESCA is a nonprofit trade association based in Albany. It represents nearly 500 subcontracting companies, specialty contractors and suppliers of construction material and equipment, making it the largest subcontractor group in the country. Its members include both union and open-shop companies.
NESCA’s goal is to serve the needs of commercial, industrial and institutional subcontractors, specialty contracts and material suppliers in the Capital District, Hudson Valley, the North Country and west into Binghamton. It works on issues affecting its members and it provides education, advocacy and networking opportunities to its members.
Keirstead has been a NESCA member for 18 years and with Stone Bridge for approximately 10 years. When he came on board with Stone Bridge, he said that they had nobody who was willing to go to the meetings. He took on the role and never stopped.
“NESCA is tremendous resource,” he said.
Keirstead wears a lot of different hats in his role at Stone Bridge Iron and Steel, a metal fabrication company that provides structural steel and miscellaneous metals products for the construction industry. The company works on large projects with private contractors throughout the state.
The company has provided structural steel erection work for hotel and casino construction projects, as well as multi-story steel framed buildings for the biotechnology industry, manufacturing, research & development, and educational institutions. It has also done structural steel erection work for hospitals, power generation plants, and science/engineering facilities.
Keirstead’s predecessor as president at NESCA is Cathy Morin, owner of Niatrust Drywall, a commercial subcontractor in Wilton. She became the third female president of NESCA.
She said NESCA is a great organization for subcontractors and specialty contractors, particularly smaller to mid-sized companies that do not have in-house legal advisors or access to resources that NESCA can provide.
NESCA provides advice and legal information that is important to companies working with large contracts and facing issues that could potentially result in trust violations.
“When you start out as a small business, as we did, its important to have access to information critical to your business as it expands. It’s like having a second office,” she said.
The presidency is a one-year commitment. Members typically start out as board members, moving into positions as secretary, treasurer and eventually to president.
Keirstead said NESCA created a new committee last year called “young professionals,” headed up by Sarah DeLuca, of SRU Sprinklers. Keirstead said that DeLuca is one of the newer members of the organization, which is focusing on the importance of bringing in younger members. He said that the group focuses on community projects as part of its commitment to the region
“It’s a great way to get younger people involved and understand the value of the organization,” said Morin.
She said she found her tenure as president to be both personally and professionally instructive.