by Ray Newton
The Yavapai County Contractors Association originally started in the 1960s to bring local contractors together to talk about business “and drink a few beers in a social environment.” It now has grown to a countywide professional organization with more than 350 member firms. The YCCA can truly bring the hammer down — literally and metaphorically.
The informal group of people who founded YCCA likely would be dumbfounded at the influence and scope of YCCA and what is does today.
That’s the opinion of Sandy Griffis, who for 11 years has guided YCCA in fulfilling its mission: “To properly manage a construction industry association that transfers and promotes education, safety, political action and networking for the benefit of its members; and promotes community protection education on construction issues for the citizens of Yavapai County.”
Griffis is known throughout the greater community as a tall, slender, energetic red-head who is always in motion; often an unorthodox public figure. The YCCA executive director for the YCCA since 2007, she laughs about her leadership role, saying she is continually surprised to be so intensely identified as a representative of the construction industry. Those who are lucky may find themselves at an event where Sandy pulls out her fiddle and entertains a crowd, something she has been doing since the 5th grade.
“If you had asked me just a few years ago if I thought I’d be doing what I am now, I’d have responded, ‘Are you kidding?’ But do I want to do anything else? Never. I am proud to represent the YCCA. We have a board of directors made up of community leaders who give unselfishly, expect nothing in return, and who are always so inspiring.”
She is adamant that the YCCA is one of the strongest and best consumer-interest groups in Arizona. “I am told regularly by people from other counties that they wish we could clone the YCCA. We’re told that no other county has such an all-inclusive and comprehensive consumer-support organization,” the San Diego native boasts.
History of YCCA Encompasses Influential County Leaders
Perhaps the best history of the YCCA was captured during a radio show on July 2011, when several members of the board of directors spent an hour reminiscing about the growth of what is now a prominent county organization.
Among those talking on the debut program “Hammer Time” (now a weekly show on KQNA-1130 AM) were YCCA board members Karen Fann, Tom Haley, Gary Hudder, Cam Smith and Tom Thurman.
Haley, president of Haley Construction Co., said a major reason for founding the YCCA was to bring builders and contractors from throughout Yavapai County together to develop some common building standards and to build influence with the state’s Registrar of Contractors.
Haley was echoed by Fann, who served as YCCA president for several years. Fann, who owns a highway signage and guardrail installation business, said it was important that county residents realize that the YCCA is there to protect them and their interests from unlicensed and sometime unscrupulous builders or contractors.
Hudder, Smith and Thurman said the YCCA was influential in bringing uniform building codes to the county. They also said the YCCA shifted emphasis in the 1990s to marketing the best practices of industry to homeowners and to urging that only licensed and bonded contractors were hired to protect not only the consumer but also the industry.
Board members tell virtually anyone they deal with who is considering a building project not to do anything without a carefully created written contract. The day of a smile and a handshake to get a job done — those are gone. Insist on a contract.
Two current board members — Ty Scott, owner of Builders Wholesale; and Ty Smith, general manager of Yavapai Block Co., Ink, are in full agreement with that advice. They concur that following YCCA counsel is one sure way the public can educate itself and get accurate referrals for reputable contractors.
Just as when founded, the YCCA board is made up of volunteers. From members — male and female — throughout the county, 15 are elected to serve as volunteers for the nonprofit 501 (c)(6) corporation.
YCCA’s largest event of the year is a highly popular home show that attracts thousands. This year is the 40th annual Home Show, May 18-20, at the Prescott Valley Event Center. Open on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Home Show will feature more than 200 vendors.
“We’ll have everything you can imagine for your home and garden,” Griffis said. “If you want more information, just call me at 928-778-0040. That’s the same phone number we’ve had since we were founded. I promise I will answer.”