CAGC President & CEO Dave Simpson Confirms 2017 Priorities

Monday, February 20th, 2017

From CEO Dave Simpson:

The Carolinas AGC is firing on all cylinders these days. Our focus is on three verbs: Educate. Congregate. Advocate.

And with an excellent lineup with our CAGC Board of Directors, led by Marty McKee of King Asphalt, and our CAGC Foundation Board of Trustees, led by Claudia Dodgen of Crowder Constructors Inc., and the CAGC staff, here’s how we’ll deliver on those three areas:

EDUCATE: A top priority in 2017 is to help tackle the workforce shortage, probably the biggest challenge the construction industry faces in the Carolinas. The idea is to connect the construction industry with students in high schools, middle schools, and community colleges.

CAGC’s recently rolled out Build Your Career, in collaboration with other industry partners, is leading the charge to recruit and train ambassadors to get “boots on the ground” to attract students to make construction a career – not just a job. Your help is needed here in getting the word out to those students as well as educators and parents – and your tax-deductible contributions are needed to provide the resources to help our industry attract good talent to help draw skilled professionals at all levels.
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For 2017, we are focusing on offering classes that get “butts in the seats,” including:

- 5 sessions of Corps of Engineers Quality Management

- 6 sessions of Work Zone Traffic Control

- 4 sessions of NCCER Instructor Certification

- 2 PSV Academies

- 2 Certified Occupational Safety Specialists

These classes, with heavy emphasis on safety, are scheduled now, and we’re exploring other topics and training partners, including Lean Construction.

CONGREGATE: We’re featuring another well-attended HR/Safety Conference in Myrtle Beach on March 30th-31st. This annual CAGC meeting delivers information such as ways to improve your business by being safer and in compliance with HR rules and regulations. Our members said they want this meeting separate from other CAGC meetings to help build attendance and allow companies to have key employees still at the office, a point well-made by the late Vernon Jeter, past chair of our HR Committee and one of two CAGC members, including Casey Schwager, who were honored this year at our annual Convention as committee chairs of the year.

At CAGC, we listen to what our members want, and when it makes good business sense, we deliver.

On July 27-30, we’ll return to the beach for what should be another sold-out Divisions’ Conference and Industry Summit, featuring the CAGC Hall of Fame, Hall of Fame Legacy, and Young Leaders awards—our newest awards programs rolled out last year. The focus of this year’s meeting will be workforce shortage and how to help solve that challenge.

We’re also excited to offer 60-plus networking events this year, including four new quarterly CAGC Executive Luncheons in Charlotte, as well as popular CAGC Connect events in South Carolina (Charleston, Columbia, and Greenville), and in North Carolina (Wilmington, Rocky Mount, Raleigh, Charlotte, Durham and Asheville).

We kicked off January 2017 with an unforgettable 96th Annual CAGC Convention in St. Thomas, quickly selling out with 310 attendees. One of many highlights included our Pinnacle Awards celebration, which honored SCDOT Secretary Christy Hall with the Build with the Best award for outstanding leadership in rebuilding efforts in the aftermath of the 2015 SC flooding.

Wes Foushee of Romeo Guest Associates (and winner of a Best Building Projectaward), had this to say about attending Convention: “Great event, and a great time had by all.  I really enjoyed the venue -- so did my wife. Thanks to Carolinas AGC staff and leaders for organizing such an amazing event and supporting the needs of our industry.”

ADVOCATE: We’re expecting a strong turnout for our NC Legislative Day in Raleigh on April 5, just as we did for the SC Legislative Day in Columbia back in January. No other construction association in the Carolinas has five expert lobbyists with combined lobbying experience of over seven decades, who take on such issues as regulatory reform, eliminating costly business license fees in SC, and lead the charge for infrastructure funding and workforce development in both states.

North Carolina, for example, is enjoying the benefits of a $2 billion bond referendum that was overwhelmingly approved last year—CAGC helped lead efforts in getting the legislation passed, as well as raised over $200,000 for a successful voter education campaign. This year we are keying in on increased infrastructure funding for public schools, the UNC System and the community colleges and light rail as well as supporting funding and other ideas recommended by the House’s Strategic Long-Term Funding Committee and a Blue-Ribbon legislative panel on building and utility needs.

Regarding the SC Legislative day, members met with legislative leaders, including with Rep. Todd Atwater and Sen. Sean Bennett. Mark Ashmore of Ashmore Brothers, Inc., made a great point with Sen. Bennett that we need an adequate and continuous funding stream for highway construction so that the construction industry can invest in more equipment and payroll.

Beyond Columbia and Raleigh, CAGC is well-represented by an excellent AGC of America team in Washington, D.C, as well as our strong affiliation with the American Road and Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA).

Other Action: CAGC is going full throttle on openness, transparency and a new strategic plan for the next three years. The CAGC Board of Directors, which went from nine to 15 members in 2016 to better represent the entire construction industry, includes representatives from the five CAGC divisions (Building, Highway-Heavy, Utility, Specialty Contractor, and Supplier-Service Companies), as well as a representative from our Young Leaders group.

This year, we’ll also begin planning for our 100th Anniversary in 2020—we can’t wait to celebrate this major milestone with you, our CAGC Family!

Please contact me directly anytime! Email me at dsimpson@carolinasagc.org or call me at 704-372-1450, ext. 5724.