Bert Baer has been credited as the driving force in the formation of the Houston Compensation Association in 1978. The objective was to develop an association with a structure and format to benefit and provide service to all practitioners of the compensation profession in the Houston area.
At the time, Bert was very active in the American Compensation Association (ACA) and was destined to become the National President, which he became in 1981. He, along with several others representing a cross-section of Houston industry, started meeting on a regular basis and elected the first President for HCA in 1982.
In 1985, the American Compensation Association began officially supporting local chapters. Currently, local HCA members serve in leadership positions with WorldatWork (WAW, formerly ACA) and as WAW Certification Course instructors.
During the last eighteen years, HCA's membership base has been impacted by economic fluctuations in local industry with meeting attendance ranging from only a handful of compensation professionals in the mid-80's to the current average bimonthly meeting attendance exceeding 70. Currently HCA serves a broad range of industries represented by over 200 companies including energy, utilities, health care, engineering and construction, financial services, manufacturing, consulting, and others.
Membership growth has also included the expansion of services. Beginning in 1990, HCA has sponsored World at Work certification courses each year, promoting the Certified Compensation Professional (CCP) and Certified Benefits Professional (CBP) designation among local members. In addition, HCA has enhanced the program schedule to include mini-seminars and workshops, benefits topics and periodic joint meetings with the Houston Human Resource Management Association (HR Houston). Members can also benefit from the HCA Career Network and the annual merit budget survey. HCA began publishing a bimonthly newsletter in 1992, to further increase member communication. In 1993, the HCA began sponsoring a Houston-area compensation survey and in 1999, began sponsoring a Houston-area high technology survey.
In 1992, the association established the designation of Honorary Life Member to recognize members who have made substantial contributions to the organization. Robert T. Reilly, CCP, CBP, SPHR, was the first recipient of the award.
Looking to the future, compensation professionals are emerging as strategic business partners representing issues critical for organizational effectiveness. HCA will continue to create networking and professional development opportunities to further promote excellence in the compensation and benefits fields in the new century.
Houston Compensation Association formally changed it's name to Houston Compensation and Benefits to incorporate its growing benefits and total rewards membership at the end of 2010.