By Don Rosenbarger, The Delta Companies Inc.
We really can’t look ahead to 2019 without first looking back at 2018.
The two big issues of 2018 were prevailing wage repeal and transportation funding. One issue ended well; the other not so much. AGCMO members and staff were able to broker a compromise that preserved prevailing wage in Missouri.
Proposition D (the increase in the motor fuel user fee of 10-cents over four years) failed at the polls in November. Disappointing to say the least. However, we are encouraged by a General Assembly that recognizes the problem and passed a bill to put it before the people. We are encouraged by a Governor and Lt. Governor who openly supported and actively campaigned for this funding. We are encouraged by the significant number of Missouri voters who said YES – over 1.1 million. We were unsuccessful in getting enough votes; but we were very successful in raising awareness of the need for additional transportation funding. It ain’t over!
We also can’t leave 2018 without saying “thank you” to HHI Division Chair Bryan Wilkerson. He led us through some challenging times as indicated above. He also led negotiations to improve processes with MoDOT, the US Army Corps of Engineers (COE), and various railroads in the state. He planted seeds for future harvests for all of us. Bryan – thanks for your leadership! I know I will be leaning on you for advice and help throughout the year.
Now, on to 2019
I am delighted to be serving as the Chair of the HHI Division Board this year. Steve Bubanovich with H.R. Quadri Contractors is the Vice Chair. The two of us are looking forward to working with all the talented individuals on the HHI Board, in the HHI Division, in the AGC of Missouri, and in the industry.
We will continue to work the issues of securing proper funding for transportation infrastructure, partnering with the Missouri Department of Transportation (MoDOT) toward a relevant and effective Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, increasing our association’s membership, and developing a workforce (both in quantity and quality) to meet industry demands of today and tomorrow.
In late February, we will explore and develop an action plan for each of these issues during our HHI Division Board “mini-retreat.”
We remain engaged in pursuing much needed funding for our roads and bridges by:
- maintaining discussions with our employees, suppliers, and vendors; and
- engaging with our state and federal legislators by making visits to their offices and inviting them to ours. (If a picture is worth a thousand words, just imagine what a plant trip or jobsite tour is worth.)
In an effort to keep the funding message before the General Assembly, the Mercury Alliance (www.MercuryAlliance.org) has scheduled legislative days for January 30 (coincides with the AGCMO Legislative Day), February 13, March 27, April 16, and May 14. We encourage you to attend some or all of these. The AGCMO is a Founding Member of the Mercury Alliance. Denise Hasty, Vice President of Advocacy & Public Relations, can keep you updated on issues and help you plan for an effective visit with your legislators.
Pursuing other revenue sources
MoDOT funding is important to our industry; however, it is not the only source of opportunity in our state. We will work with our members to discover, develop, and pursue other “revenue sources,” such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the Missouri Department of Conservation, city and county associations, ports, and airports.
Not only will the agencies mentioned above provide additional opportunities for our members, it may also provide an opportunity for AGCMO to obtain additional members. Once non-members see the value we offer in these other arenas, they will be drawn to our association. Steve Loos, Vice President of Membership, will be there to help us secure these prospective members.
Your input needed
MoDOT is conducting research to update its overall annual goal for DBE participation in its federally-funded transportation contracts. Keen Independent Research LLC was selected to perform the Availability Study, and is now in the process of collecting data. They are utilizing research, surveys, and interviews. Don’t miss the opportunity to provide your input. We encourage you to participate in the surveys and interviews, and to inform your staff to expect contact from Keen or one of its subcontractors, Customer Research International (CRI).
You may also contact the Study Team at Keen directly by phone at (816) 281-6841, by email, and by visiting their website. The data collection phase is scheduled to be completed by the end of February and the entire Study is expected to be finalized by July. Steve Lewis, Vice President of AGC of Missouri, and Alan Reinkemeyer, Vice President of Heavy/Highway/Infrastructure Division, have been intricately involved in this issue and are available to assist you with questions and contacting Keen.
Looking beyond 2019
We will promote construction career opportunities through increased interaction with vocational and technology centers, high schools, and colleges. An emphasis will be placed on meeting with the various AGC student chapters (now numbering six) across the state. One AGC Student Chapter will be featured each month in a publication of the AGCMO BuildMO newsletter. We will also increase awareness by holding our HHI Division Board meetings at different colleges and vocational schools.
We encourage you to introduce students and instructors at schools in your area to our industry by:
- attending job or career fairs;
- joining a meeting of the local construction club, AGC Student Chapter, or the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Student Chapter; or
- serving as an instructor or speaker for a class or two.
Paul Smith, Vice President of Workforce Development, has information, handouts, and tips to help you be successful in these activities.
We wish to welcome the new members on the HHI Division Board:
- Tom HusterKCI Construction Company
- Steve WardBleigh Construction Company
- Justin WallaceHartman & Company, Inc.
- Doug MertensCon-Agg of MO, LLC
You were probably expecting to see “in closing;” however, it is just the beginning of our year together.
From all indications, 2019 will not be short on challenges. Together, we are the AGCMO. Together, we are up to those challenges! I say – bring it on!