The Associated General Contractors (AGC) of America today recognized AGC of Missouri as their 2020 Large Chapter of the Year. The award was presented virtually at the 2020 National and Chapter Leadership Conference held Sept. 28th.
On Jan. 1, 2015, the AGC of St. Louis and AGC of Missouri joined forces to create the largest AGC chapter in the state representing over 500 commercial, industrial, heavy and highway contractors, industry partners and related firms located in 110 counties throughout Missouri. AGC of St. Louis was first recognized as Chapter of the Year in 2000 and later as Large Chapter of the Year in 2006.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be recognized by our national leadership,” said Leonard Toenjes, CAE, AGCMO president. “Even though we may not be as large as bigger states in terms of number of members, Missouri has shown leadership and innovation in several areas, including legislative advocacy, workforce development, safety training, suicide prevention and inclusion. I’m also very proud of the national leadership our chapter has provided, with 17 members participating on one or more national committees, and Dirk Elsperman of Tarlton Corporation serving as national chairman last year.”
The AGCMO chapter was cited for initiating a far-reaching suicide prevention program aimed at craft workers after the issue was brought to the attention of its safety committee in 2019. Now in its second year, the program involves industry-wide job site safety “stand-downs”; posters, fliers and social media; customizable toolbox talks developed in conjunction with Washington University in Saint Louis; and 20,000-plus suicide prevention messaged pocket coins and hardhat stickers. For information, visit: https://tinyurl.com/y3ude2oz
As another safety initiative, AGCMO also provided seed capital to bring On-Site Safety and Health services into Missouri to provide immediate medical treatment at jobsites for certain types of injuries. The immediate benefit was to provide quick and immediate assistance to workers and to help contractors reduce downtime as well as reducing OSHA recordable incidences. The program has successfully grown to five mobile vans serving the St. Louis, Columbia and Kansas City metro areas.
The chapter also was recognized for growing and expanding workforce development and training activities. AGCMO awarded scholarships totaling $51,000 in 2019 – its largest amount ever. The Missouri chapter also grew its student chapters and helped establish a Construction Career Center in St. Louis, staffed by a former social worker who provides guidance to people interested in careers in construction.
AGCMO’s legislative program also was highlighted for its innovative approaches and member engagement. New ‘Contractor Speak Up Days’ provided an opportunity for members to interact with legislators well beyond the organization’s traditional annual legislative day. Monthly on-line advocacy update calls, with sometimes more than 300 members participating, kept members apprised of local, statewide and national legislative issues and calls-for-action. The AGCMO Political Action Committee also had its most successful year ever, investing nearly $118,000 in 2019 in support of candidates for local and state offices.
Other areas cited included new member recruitment, member retention and improved engagement. Fifty-five new member firms joined in 2019 and improved engagement was fostered by a new weekly podcast, enhanced social media, and new program formats for the Specialty Contractors Council and Construction Leadership Council. Efforts to reach out to the entire construction community were highlighted by AGCMO being named as the recipient of the AGC Diversity and Inclusion Award for chapters also.
AGCMO also enhanced outreach in its geographic territory by adding a field representative in Southeast Missouri, adding a second safety professional to help teach safety courses throughout the state, and setting the stage for a new Springfield, MO AGCMO branch office that opened earlier this month at the Missouri Career Center. New resources put in place in 2019 allowed AGCMO to offer training modules and safety classes for members in Springfield, Jefferson City and other Missouri locations.
“Congratulations go to our board for setting a clear vision for our future with their three-year strategic plan initiated in late 2017,” added Toenjes. “I also applaud our staff for stretching themselves to cover a much broader geographic reach and enhanced program schedule created by the merger.
“To be honest, the COVID-19 pandemic has created all sorts of challenges for our members as well as every portion of our association, but together, we are maneuvering carefully through these challenges and finding a clear path forward for 2020. It’s been a tough year for our team and this national recognition makes all the hard work more rewarding for everyone. We are truly humbled by this honor and appreciate the recognition.”