Associations - Page 3

Roslyn Croft Recognized for Most Influential Business Women Award

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Roslyn Croft, inclusion and diversity manager at Tarlton Corp., a leading St. Louis-based general contracting and construction management firm, has been recognized as one of the 2022 Most Influential Business Women by the St. Louis Business Journal.

Croft chairs Tarlton’s Diversity Committee and is considered an influencer of change at the firm, as well as in the Greater St. Louis community. She is a respected leader known for her dedication to educating and empowering diverse firms and people entering the workforce. Croft plays an active role in fostering the AGC of America’s Culture of Care initiative at Tarlton, meeting with new employees to introduce the initiative’s principles and practices to build a more inclusive work environment. The City of St. Louis often refers other firms to Croft and to Tarlton as a trusted diversity resource.

Under Croft’s leadership, Tarlton has participated in inclusion trainings facilitated by Art of Adaption, a leading equity, inclusion, and strategic culture training and consulting firm, for both office and field personnel. Most recently, 75 Tarlton employees and subcontractors attended a training held at Tarlton’s largest staffed jobsite, the Washington University School of Medicine New Research Parking Garage.

Croft also led the Tarlton team that spearheaded the first “Thinking Beyond Today” Career Resource Center in partnership with BJC HealthCare in 2019. Based on the success of the pilot project, a new resource center opened at the Barnes-Jewish Hospital’s Campus Renewal Project in March 2022. The center, operating out of a construction trailer on the Siteman Cancer Center project at Northwest HealthCare in North County, welcomed 335 visitors from St. Louis-area schools and organizations, providing them with knowledge and resources about jobs and career paths in construction and health care.

Croft is active in industry affiliations and events that further advance opportunities to be more inclusive, which includes serving on the AGC of Missouri Diversity Committee; AGC of Missouri Education Foundation; St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers Diversity Committee; PEOPLE Advisory Board; and St. Louis Public Schools Career and Technical Education Advisory Committee. Croft also serves on the Alliance for Interracial Dignity and the North Webster Neighborhood Coalition.

Having celebrated its 75th year in business in 2021, Tarlton Corp. is a WBENC-Certified Women’s Business Enterprise that provides outstanding preconstruction and construction solutions to clients in the commercial, institutional, government and nonprofit, industrial and power and energy markets. The Midwest general contractor/construction manager also has special expertise in concrete construction, restoration and maintenance. Tarlton has completed many landmark St. Louis projects and is committed to improving lives through inclusive construction, civic engagement, and service to others.

Photo Above: Roslyn Croft, inclusion and diversity manager at Tarlton Corp., (right), has been named one of the Most Influential Business Women in 2022 by the St. Louis Business Journal. Recognized for her work and outreach in the construction industry to provide education, empower diverse firms and build a more inclusive work environment, Croft also is a familiar presence at industry events, including a recent Build My Future career fair sponsored by the AGC of Missouri. Delicia Simpson, a laborer with Tarlton, who is active in encouraging women to enter the construction trades, is pictured at left. Photo courtesy of Tarlton Corp.

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Summer Camp Gives Explorer Scouts a Taste of Skilled Trade Unions’ Training for Construction

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Collinsville High student Trey Patterson explores a virtual training aid for welding, with Iron Workers Apprenticeship Program Trainer Don Ellegood. Patterson participated in a week-long “summer camp” organized by the Southern Illinois Builders Association to help inform young men and women of the skilled trades needed in construction.

A group of Southern Illinois Explorer Scouts recently learned first-hand about apprenticeship programs and benefits available working in the skilled trades as a critical part of the region’s construction industry.

The five-day “summer camp” for high school women and men was developed by the Southern Illinois Builders Association in collaboration with the Explorer Scouts and the apprenticeship training staffs of several skilled trades unions including the iron workers, boilermakers, operating engineers, sheet metal workers, brick/stone masons and carpenters, according to Donna Richter, the Builders Association Chief Executive Officer.

The students “trained” with experienced journeymen and apprenticeship instructors on-site at a different apprenticeship training program each day of the week.

“Many young people don’t know about the various and different skilled trades, so they don’t know about the benefits and the challenges of some of today’s most important and best paying jobs,” Richter said. “And beyond the pay and benefits, there is a tremendous satisfaction when a person can look at a new structure or at the renovation of a historic structure and say “I helped build that,” Richter added.

Schools represented by the students include East Alton–Wood River High, Collinsville High, Father McGivney High, Freeburg High, Granite City High, Hillsboro High, O’Fallon Township High and Triad High.

High school graduates without construction experience can qualify for paid apprenticeship training leading to journeyman status and increased pay. Some local contractors often hire inexperienced trainees for short-term or seasonal work to give individuals an opportunity to try some basic construction work.

In addition to the Explorer Scouts program, the Southern Illinois Builders Association stages regular Construction Career Expos where high school students are bused to a central location for briefings and demonstrations by experienced journeymen of the various skilled trades.

The Southern Illinois Builders Association also offers detailed information about the various apprenticeship programs on-line at www.SIBA-AGC.org/VideoLinks.

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Local Propane Suppliers Provide Industry Leadership

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During its recent Annual Meeting, the Missouri Propane Gas Association set its Board of Directors for the coming year.  The recognition took place during the organization’s annual meeting on July 28. The 2022-23 MPGA Board of Directors is:

Executive Committee

President                         Luke Fitzpatrick                     MFA Oil                                     Wardsville

Vice President                 Mark Porth                            CHS                                           Lawson

Treasurer                         Samantha Johnson                Reed Oil                                     Doniphan              

Past President Chair        Brian Brooks                          Brooks Gas                                 Marshfiel

Directors

NPGA State Director       John Brooks                           Brooks Gas                                Marshfield

Region 1 Senior              Scot Schumer                         Amerigas                                  Kirksville

Region 1 Junior              Tim Peach                               Pinnacle Propane                      Quincy, IL

Region 2 Senior             Steve Jenkins                          Jenkins Propane                        Tina

Region 2 Junior              Kevin Salley                             Salley’s Propane                        Bates City

Region 3 Senior             Mikal Thornhill                       All Weather Propane                  Centrailia

Region 3 Junior               Bill Jung                                 MFA                                            Gravois Mills

Region 4 Senior               Jason Bond                            MFA                                           Neosho

Region 5 Senior               Roger Hoff                            Hoff Brothers                             Perryville

Region 5 Junior                Mitch Dane                            Titan                                          Houston

Associate Director            Brian Humphrey                    InSite Platform Partners            St. Charles

Associate Director            Ron Keeling                            LPG Ventures                            Kearney

Associate Director            Jared Ballard                           Nixon & Lindstrom                   Springfield

MPGA is a not-for-profit trade association organized to promote the safe and efficient use of propane. According to the U.S. Census, approximately 9% of Missouri’s households use propane for heating, hot water and cooking. Recognized for its environmental benefits, propane is also widely used in agriculture, manufacturing, tourism and transportation as a safe and versatile energy source.

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Four NECA Contractor Projects Earn AGC Keystone Award Honors

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Four projects by St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractor Association (NECA) contractors will be vying for awards in construction excellence given by the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of Missouri.  Guarantee Electrical Co. and PayneCrest Electric, Inc., bothmembers of NECA and the Electrical Connection partnership, each had two projects named finalists for the 2022 AGC Construction Keystone Awards.   St. Louis NECA partners with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 to form the Electrical Connection.

The Guarantee projects named finalists include:

Benson Hill Crop Accelerator

Benson Hill Crop Accelerator in St. Louis.  The 47,000-square-foot Crop Accelerator repurposed a warehouse to give Benson Hill a “more than twenty-fold expansion in testing capacity.” It includes 24 cutting-edge growth chambers that serve as miniature labs of varying sizes, seed prep areas, a front office, and break room – all requiring a complex and robust electrical infrastructure.

Nestle Bloomfield Expansion

Nestle Bloomfield Expansion in Bloomfield, Mo. — A fast-track expansion for Nestle-Purina’s cat litter plant in Bloomfield, Mo.  It required electrical/communications installations in a 100-foot-by-100-foot work zone inside a building only 25% complete and swarming with multiple trades. The addition is fully automated. Nestle-Purina notes it is the first cat litter facility in its network to self-manufacture its own packaging.

The PayneCrest finalist projects are:

Benson Hill for Seneca Realty

Benson Hill for Seneca Realty in St. Louis – A new 160,000-square-foot, four-story facility housing agriculture lab areas, climate-controlled seed storage and growing areas on the campus of the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center. The building features flexible research laboratories, shared workspaces, and additional open common elements such as lounges, fitness, yoga and break space designed to encourage collaborative engagement and to improve the quality of the work environment beyond the laboratory bench.

Roy Blunt NextGen Precision Health Building on the University of Missouri Campus in Columbia, Mo.

Mizzou NextGen Precision Health Institute in Columbia, Mo – A 265,000-square-foot, five-story precision health facility providing space for more than 60 principal investigators. The NextGen Precision Health Initiative helps Mizzou translate fundamental research from laboratories to effective treatments and devices, which will benefit all Missourians as well as the rest of the world.

Since 1997, when the AGC Keystone Awards competition was launched, more than 100 Electrical Connection member contractor projects have been honored.  The prestigious construction awards program salutes projects for safety, proficiency in overcoming challenges and the quality of delivery, including maintaining budget and schedule.  In addition to Guarantee and PayneCrest, Electrical Connection contractors that have earned AGC Keystone honors in the past include Kaiser Electric, Sachs Electric, Aschinger Electric, and Bell Electrical.

Winners of the 25th anniversary Keystone Awards will be announced and celebrated at the AGC’s Construction Awards Gala scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 3, 2022 at the River City Casino & Hotel in St. Louis.  Learn more at www.agcmo.org.

The Electrical Connection partnership provides safe and reliable commercial, industrial and residential electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world. It is an important resource for business and civic leadership for new technology, including disruptive technologies, advancing electrical and communication infrastructure.  Learn more at www.electricalconnection.org.

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Growing Tenants at STL Downtown Airport Bring Jobs to the RegioN

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Located just minutes from the Gateway Arch, St. Louis Downtown Airport has long been recognized for providing chartered flights with unparalleled access to downtown St. Louis and the surrounding region, hosting more than 100,000 flight operations annually. Many may not realize, however, that the airport also is home to a host of aerospace tenants, and it is the operations at some of these organizations that have really been taking off and will bring scores of new jobs to the region.  

Gulfstream Aerospace Corp. is the largest tenant at the airport, which is located in Cahokia Heights and Sauget, Illinois. A recently announced expansion will bring 140 new well-paying positions to the Gulfstream St. Louis Service Center, a maintenance, repair and overhaul facility that already employs approximately 375 individuals in various capacities. The expansion will increase production of custom cabinetry and exterior paint capacity for Gulfstream’s in-demand, large-cabin aircraft.  

Gulfstream is taking a proactive approach to workforce development in the area and offers opportunities for advancement with a structured path to progress employees as they gain experience in training to the different levels existing in their job category. The company’s website career page includes details about various trainee positions, as well as the different categories of open positions. Sign-on bonuses and some relocation packages to St. Louis are offered for select positions.   

Ideal Aviation, which operates a flight school and aircraft maintenance and repair facility at St. Louis Downtown Airport, has been growing approximately 25% each year for the past several years, and now has 25 employees onsite. The company moved to a larger hangar and office space at the airport in February 2021, and is once again at capacity and will need more hangar and parking space as it continues to grow. 

“We attribute our growth to strong demand for pilot training and a program which provides some of the best instructors in town working with new, well-maintained aircraft in a comfortable environment,” said Bill Macon, Managing Partner of Ideal Aviation. “Our central location is also a plus.”  

Ideal Aviation is currently fully staffed, something Macon attributes to the quality of their operations and company culture and strong relationships with Southwestern Illinois College and St. Louis University, but he says they are always on the lookout for qualified Certified Flight Instructors and mechanics who would fit well with their team. He invites interested candidates to submit a resume or to visit their facility to learn more. 

With its headquarters and largest facility at St. Louis Downtown Airport, Helicopters Inc. is a growing aviation company that specializes in turn-key Helicopter Electronic News Gathering (ENG) solutions for TV news outlets across the country. The company has approximately 70 helicopters on its fleet, providing “eye in the sky” customized packages to more than 40 news stations in more than 30 cities coast-to-coast. This core business remains strong across the country, with markets continuing to recognize the benefits of a turn-key helicopter solution ready when they are to capture everything from morning traffic to high-speed vehicle pursuits. In addition to a continued focus on the ENG market, the company has seen notable growth in the Charter and VIP Tourism spaces. Helicopters Inc. currently has 260 employees nationwide with 37 working at the St. Louis Downtown Airport facility, where the current footprint is adequate to handle continuing growth.  

“We have enjoyed our longstanding relationship with the airport,” said Ryan Harbison, Vice President Business Development for Helicopters, Inc. “Their support is outstanding, and we look forward to many more years of partnership and growth operating out of St. Louis Downtown Airport.” 

Helicopters, Inc. also currently has several full-time and part-time pilot positions available and is always looking for well qualified maintenance personnel to help the local team and other teams across the country.  

“We are continuously seeking qualified candidates to satisfy the demands of our industry and have been successful maintaining an industry leading workforce during these challenging times,” Harbison said. “While we are based out of the St. Louis region and look forward to continuing our growth here, we have a national presence in more than 30 major cities. We encourage personnel interested in aviation or aviation maintenance to check out our openings as we expand into new and exciting verticals of the aviation industry.” 

“We are so appreciative of the commitment these tenants have to this region and excited about the opportunities their growth will provide for so many people who will be hired for new positions in the months and years to come,” said Mary Lamie, Executive Vice President of Multi Modal Enterprises at Bi-State Development. St. Louis Downtown Airport is one of the enterprises operated by Bi-State Development.  

“We’re even more excited this growth will be occurring here at St. Louis Downtown Airport, where Gulfstream recently signed a new 10-year lease and will be a key beneficiary of the new Ground Engine Run-Up project that Illinois Governor JB Pritzker announced a $5 million grant award for last fall. We’re investing in this project to support a critical improvement that will benefit the aircraft maintenance providers operating at St. Louis Downtown Airport and support a fantastic industry,” said Sandra Shore, Director of St. Louis Downtown Airport. 

More information on available careers at these various airport tenants can be found at www.careers.gulfstream.comhttps://flyhelicoptersinc.com/employment/ and www.idealaviationstl.com

About Bi-State Development   

Bi-State Development (BSD) owns and operates St. Louis Downtown Airport and the Gateway Arch Riverboats, as well as operates the Gateway Arch Revenue Collections Center and Gateway Arch trams. BSD is the operator of the Metro Transit public transportation system in eastern Missouri and southwestern Illinois, which includes the 87 vehicle, 46-mile MetroLink light rail system; a MetroBus vehicle fleet of approximately 24 battery electric vehicles and nearly 400 clean-burning diesel buses that operate on 59 MetroBus routes; and Metro Call-A-Ride, a paratransit fleet of 123 vans. BSD also operates the St. Louis Regional Freightway, the region’s freight district. To learn more about St. Louis Downtown Airport, visit www.stlouisdowntownairport.com 

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Reed Burkett Lighting Design Recognized as Top Workplace for Women

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Reed Burkett Lighting Design (RBLD), a St. Louis-based lighting firm, has been recognized by the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis (WFSTL) as a top place for women to work in the fifth annual Women in the Workplace: Employment Scorecard. 

Reed Burkett Lighting Design was recognized as one of 24 St. Louis employers that demonstrate a strong commitment to women in the workplace through measurable outcomes, key policies, and best practices in four areas of workplace gender equity – leadership, compensation, flexible work policies, and recruitment and retention.  

Currently, 50% of RBLD Principals and 100% of RBLD Senior Designers are women. The WBE certified firm offers a flexible work environment, including the ability to set a schedule that provides work/life balance. A generous Parental Leave policy offers eight weeks paid for new parents by birth, surrogacy, or adoption.

Principal Lisa Reed is a passionate advocate for diversity in lighting as well as supporting working moms and women reentering the workplace. She founded Ladies of Lighting in St. Louis and helped expand WILD (Women in Lighting + Design) across the US. She received the 2014 IES Presidential Award for her work with Emerging Professionals. In 2020, she was named by St. Louis Construction News and Review (CNR) as one of the top 20 women in construction in St. Louis. 

“Design is all about looking at things differently. Different perspectives are needed and that’s also why we need more women and diversity in lighting design,” said Reed.

To be considered for the award, firms had to meet the following requirements:

Minimum of 28 percent of top leadership roles held by women

Minimum of 25 percent of women in the top 10 percent of the most highly compensated employees

Starting wage higher than the Missouri minimum wage

Family-friendly flexible work policies, including flexible working schedules as well as work-from-home and telecommuting options

Two or more weeks of paid family and/or parental leave

Development and advancement programs to recruit, retain and promote female employees   

To access the full report, visit wfstl.org.

In 2022, Envision Lighting Design, headed by Lisa J. Reed, and Randy Burkett Lighting Design merged to form Reed Burkett Lighting Design (RBLD). Serving local St. Louis and national clients, RBLD specializes in cultural, outdoor environment, commercial, higher education, healthcare, hospitality, retail and institutional projects. The versatile team of design professionals is equipped to manage the complete range of lighting design services, from initial conceptual development through final project completion, for projects of all sizes. RLBD is a ​​certified Women Business Enterprise with the State of Missouri, City of St. Louis and the State of Illinois. The firm also is certified with the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) and Women-Owned Small Business (WOSB).  For more information, visit rbldi.com

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S. M. Wilson & Co. Recognized as Top Workplace for Women by the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis

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S. M. Wilson & Co., a top St. Louis-based construction manager, has been recognized by the Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis (WFSTL) as a top place for women to work in the fifth annual Women in the Workplace: Employment Scorecard.

Honorees are selected for demonstrating excellence in four areas of workplace gender equity – leadership, compensation, flexible work policies, and recruitment and retention.

Amy Berg

“Being a woman in an industry predominantly and historically pursued by men does not have to be the incredible struggle it was decades ago. Fortunately, women have pioneered their way into most construction-related careers. I’m proud to serve as president of a company committed to an inclusive work environment and a place where females can thrive,” said Amy Berg, president of S. M. Wilson.

S. M. Wilson was recognized as one of 24 St. Louis employers that demonstrate a strong commitment to women in the workplace through measurable outcomes, key policies, and best practices. 

These include:

  • Minimum of 28 percent of top leadership roles held by women
  • Minimum of 25 percent of women in the top 10 percent of the most highly compensated employees
  • Starting wage higher than the Missouri minimum wage
  • Family-friendly flexible work policies, including flexible working schedules as well as work-from-home and telecommuting options
  • Two or more weeks of paid family and/or parental leave
  • Development and advancement programs to recruit, retain and promote female employees   

Currently, 25% of the company’s employees, 30% of leadership and 43% of executive leadership are female, far surpassing the construction industry standard. 

“This year’s honorees are committed to helping women in the workplace thrive in our region, and they continue to overcome pandemic challenges by ensuring their policies and practices meet the current needs of women,” said Carrie Crompton, executive director of WFSTL. “Many women in the St. Louis region have not returned to the workforce due to a lack of childcare and equitable workplace benefits. The purpose of the Women’s Foundation’s annual Scorecard report is to educate area employers on how to create workplaces where women can be successful.”

The St. Louis-based construction manager launched Wilson Women in the fall of 2019 to provide women in the firm an opportunity for relationship building, community service, mentorship, networking and learning opportunities. The firm continues to develop resources and programs to empower women and promote change through the firm’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee driven by Diversity Manager, Maggie Farrell.

S. M. Wilson was also a WFSTL’s Women in the Workforce: Employment Scorecard Honoree in 2020. WFSTL is a nonprofit organization committed to advancing the economic success of women in the area through workplace change, public policy change, and individual support. 

To access to the full report, visit wfstl.org.

S. M. Wilson is a full-service construction management, design/build and general contracting firm with headquarters in St. Louis and offices in Edwardsville, IL and Cape Girardeau, MO. Founded in 1921, S. M. Wilson is dedicated to going above and beyond expectations for their clients by putting people first. The 100% employee-owned company is one of the leading construction management firms in the Midwest. Areas of expertise include K-12 education, commercial, healthcare and government projects. For more information, visit www.smwilson.com

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Residents and Businesses in the City of St. Charles with Flood Damage Reminded of Permit Requirements

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As a property owner in the City of St. Charles contemplating clean up and repairs following recent historic flooding, the City Floodplain Administrator’s office is reminding residents/business owners to obtain local permits before repairing or rebuilding flood-damaged structures.

The permits are required as part of local government participation in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), providing eligibility for flood insurance, flood disaster assistance, state and federal grants and loans, and buyout funds for flood-prone property. Local floodplain management ordinances require that permits be obtained for any construction or development activity in a floodplain area, including the repair or reconstruction of structures damaged by flooding.  If you are not in a regulatory floodplain, permits may still be required.

Special conditions apply to substantially damaged buildings – those in which the total cost of repairs is 50% or more of the structure’s pre-flood market value.  If a building is found to be substantially damaged and in a regulatory floodplain, regulations require that repairs not begin until compliance with local floodplain ordinance is demonstrated.  In some cases, that may require repairs that include elevating or flood-proofing the structure to reduce the potential for future flood damage.

Repair costs must be calculated by assuming the building will be fully repaired to its pre-damaged condition, even if the owner decided to do less.  The total cost calculation must include structural material; finish material and labor, even if the owner chooses to do his or her own repairs.

Under the NFIP, the Increased Cost of Compliance or ICC program may provide additional financial assistance to either elevate or remove flood damaged structures from the floodplain.  Owners who have NFIP coverage are eligible to receive ICC benefits if the local official determines that their structure is located in the floodplain has been substantially damaged by a flood.

Residents can submit storm and sanitary sewer issues and concerns from flooding to the City’s Report a Concern website. Concerns will be immediately sent to the Department of Public Works.

Report a Concern: https://survey123.arcgis.com/share/a7b1fa0abe10418d8ccbf38403d45300

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AGC Posts New Inflation Alert; June Employment Tops February 2020 Level in 31 States

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AGC posted a new edition of the Construction Inflation Alert, an 8-page document to help owners, public officials, and others understand what contractors are experiencing in regard to materials costs, supply-chain issues, and labor availability. The July 2022 edition—the eighth since early 2021, outlines steps owners and contractors can take to adjust to the fast-changing market conditions. Readers are invited to send information about materials costs and supply issues to ken.simonson@agc.org.

Seasonally adjusted construction employment in June topped the February 2020 level in 31 states, lagged in 18 states and the District of Columbia, and was flat in West Virginia, according to AGC’s analysis of data the Bureau of Labor Statistics posted today. (February 2020 was the month in which employment peaked nationally before plunging during widespread shutdowns in March and April 2020.) Utah added the most construction jobs since February 2020 (16,100 jobs, 14%), followed by Tennessee (15,900, 12%) and Washington (11,200, 5.0%). Utah had the largest percentage gain, followed by Idaho (13%, 7,100 jobs) and Tennessee. New York shed the most construction jobs over 28 months (-36,300 jobs, -8.9%), followed by Pennsylvania (-9,500, -3.5%) and New Jersey (-8,800, -5.4%). The largest percentage losses were in New York, North Dakota (-6.4%, -1,800 jobs), and Hawaii (-5.8%, -2,200). For the month, 25 states and D.C. added construction jobs, 23 states lost jobs, and there was no change in Hawaii and West Virginia. Pennsylvania added the most jobs (4,400 jobs, 1.7%), followed by Massachusetts (3,300, 1.9%) and North Carolina (3,000, 1.2%). The largest percentage gains were in Oregon (2.4%, 2,800 jobs), Nebraska (2.3%, 1,300) and Arkansas (2.1%, 1,100). (For D.C., Delaware, and Hawaii, with few mining or logging jobs, BLS posts combined totals with construction. AGC treats the totals as construction only.)

Total construction starts in current dollars (i.e., without adjusting for inflation) fell 5% from May to June at a seasonally adjusted annual rate but increased 5% year-to-date for the first half of 2022 compared to January-June 2021, data firm Dodge Construction Network reported on Wednesday. Residential starts decreased 6% from May. “Single-family starts dropped 7% and multifamily starts were 3% lower. Through the first six months of 2022, residential starts were 3% higher than in the first six months of 2021. Multifamily starts were up 23%, while single-family housing slipped 4%.” Nonbuilding starts jumped 13% in June “due to the start of a large solar project in Nevada and a transmission line through Utah and Wyoming” but slipped 2% year-to-date. Nonresidential building starts tumbled 14% for the month but leaped 13% year-to-date. “Commercial starts advanced 14% and institutional starts rose 1%, while manufacturing starts were 83% higher on a year-to-date basis.”

The Architecture Billings Index (ABI), which the American Institute of Architects (AIA) calls “a leading economic indicator that leads nonresidential construction activity by approximately 9-12 months,” registered a score of 53.2 in June, down “slightly” from 53.5 in May but the 17th consecutive reading above 50, the institute reported on Wednesday. The ABI is derived from the share of responding architecture firms that report a gain in billings over the previous month less the share reporting a decline in billings, presented on a 0-to-100 scale. Any score above 50 means more firms reported increased billings than decreased billings. Scores by practice specialty (based on three-month moving averages) all topped 50: 53.5 for firms with a predominantly institutional practice (up from 52.4 in May); 52.8 for mixed-practice firms (down from 54.6); 52.6 for multifamily residential (down from 53.3); and 52.5 for commercial/industrial (down from 56.2). Indexes declined to 58.2 (from 63.9) for inquiries and 52.2 (from 56.9) for design contracts.

Housing starts (units) in June slipped 2.0% at a seasonally adjusted annual rate from the upwardly revised May rate and 6.3% y/y but increased 5.9% year-to-date, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday. Single-family starts declined for the fourth month in a row, slumping 8.1% for the month and 16% y/y but inched up 0.2% year-to-date. Multifamily (five or more units) starts jumped 15% for the month, 16% y/y, and 20% year-to-date. Residential permits declined 0.6% from May but rose 1.4% y/y and 2.2% year-to-date. Single-family permits slid 8.0% for the month, 11% y/y, and 4.4% year-to-date. Multifamily permits soared 13% from May to June, 28% y/y, and 17% year-to-date. The number of authorized multifamily units that have not started jumped 43% y/y. For the time being, would-be homebuyers who have been priced out by rising sales prices or monthly mortgage costs may be adding to demand for multifamily rental property. But, while a rising backlog of unused permits frequently indicates a likely rise in near-term starts, the rapid rise in both financing costs and construction costs could cause some developers to defer or cancel projects that have yet to break ground.

Engineering News-Record reported in its July 11/18 issue that its Construction Industry Confidence Index (CICI) for the second quarter (Q2) “dropped 17 points below the Q1 level” to 44. The index “measures executive sentiment about where the current market will be in the next three to six months and over a 12- to 18-month period, on a 0-100 scale. A rating above 50 shows a growing market. The measure is based on responses by U.S. executives of leading general contractors, subcontractors, and design firms on ENR’s top lists to surveys sent between May 9 and June 27….Labor shortages remain endemic, with 63.5% of CICI respondents reporting they were somewhat or much worse than one year ago. Confidence is down in most markets ENR tracks.” Retail is “down 12 points to a 30 rating, with K-12 education down 10 points….Firms remain optimistic in many markets, particularly health care (71),” industrial-manufacturing (68), and distribution-warehouse (68), “even with a 10-point drop” in the latter.

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IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection Diversity Director Sylvester Taylor Named Apprenticeship Ambassador by the U.S. Department of Labor

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           A U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) initiative to strengthen apprenticeship opportunities in underserved communities has tapped local labor-management leadership as one of its ambassadors.  Sylvester Taylor, director of diversity, equity and inclusion for the IBEW/NECA Electrical Connection partnership, was selected as an Apprenticeship Ambassador by the DOL.  Taylor is tasked with sharing his experiences and collaborating with the department to champion registered apprenticeship opportunities in high-demand industries to develop and expand opportunities for people historically underserved.

Established in November 2021, the DOL’s Apprenticeship Ambassador Initiative is a national network of employers, labor organizations, industry associations, program sponsors, educators, workforce intermediaries, minority serving organizations, community-based organizations, and other stakeholders to serve as champions for expanding and diversifying registered apprenticeship. Learn more at https://www.dol.gov/newsroom/releases/eta/eta20220712

Taylor is recording secretary for IBEW and for the past 18 years has been the voice of minority workers as the co-founder and current president of IBEW’s Electrical Workers Minority Caucus.  He has used that voice to help shape the Electrical Connection’s diversity goals, leveraging the modernization of infrastructure as a recruitment tool in underserved communities. The Electrical Connection is a partnership of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1 and St. Louis Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA).  

For the last six years,Taylor has served as a mentor for the Missouri Division of Youth Services, providing guidance for those the agency serves and encouraging young people to consider a career in the trades.  Last year, the St. Louis Business Journal named Taylor one of its “Champions for Diversity and Inclusion.”  The business publication noted that Taylor “works to chart a path for more minorities in the electrical industry. When Taylor entered the IBEW/NECA Electrical Industry Training Program in 1990 as an apprentice, only two women and two African Americans were selected yearly for apprentices.  Today, approximately a third of apprentices at the training center are minorities and it has sustained that number for the past 10 years.”

Along with other ambassadors, Taylor will be fortifying registered apprenticeship programs in high-demand industries such as electrical and communications.  This will include strengthening existing apprenticeship programs and hosting outreach and recruitment activities, training session and promotional meetings.

Members of the Electrical Connection provide safe and reliable electrical construction, maintenance, repair and replacement services across Missouri, the nation and the world.  Learn more at www.electricalconnection.org.

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