OCA History

The wake-up call for the Ohio contractors came in 1918, when the rising cost of rail freight was increasing the price of materials already included in established road building contracts. Contractors sought reimbursement but, without one strong voice, their individual pleas went unheard – lost figuratively in the shrill noise of a train riding on rails. 

In the fall of 1918, those individual voices became unified when contractors throughout the state assembled in Columbus. The effort those 50-some contractors, “who turned Ohio’s mud roads into brick, concrete and macadam and worked under horse-and-buggy rules,” had, in coming together, was the forming of a group that today is a leading voice for Ohio’s heavy, highway and utility industry – the Ohio Contractors Association.
While OCA’s early leadership helped win that initial concern over rising rail charges – as one of the organization’s early victories came when the state began reimbursing contractors for those freight increases – there
have been many more challenges (a century’s worth) that the association has taken up on behalf of its member, the industry and people of Ohio. 

Nothing of lasting value is built upon a weak foundation. Thanks to the efforts of many men and women, it is a story that reflects the construction of a strong foundation upon which the future of this association is being built. It is a 100-year story of providing support, unity and leadership to an industry that touches the life of every Ohioan and every visitor to Ohio on a daily basis.

The foundation of OCA has been built by members who are, themselves, builders. They work hard to advance their companies through innovative ideas and the unique strategies they envision for building each project. On bid day, OCA members aggressively compete against each other to win the project they are battling for. However, when they turn to issues facing the industry at large, they rally around common causes under the mantle of OCA.

The focus of OCA’s efforts over the past 100 years mirrors the diversity of the industry which it represents. At the very core of what OCA provides to members are advocacy, labor relations, safety, networking with the industry, technical assistance and education. Our work takes many different forms within these core competencies, but we strive to remain true to those missions.

While others talk and plan and design things that make Ohio a great place to live and work, members of the Ohio Contractors Association turn what is imagined into reality. This is OCA’s world – the foundational infrastructure that Ohio’s vibrant economy and quality of life for every citizen are built upon.

To obtain a detailed history of the first 100 years of the Ohio Contractors Association, contact the office and request a copy of “OCA: A Century of Building…”