AGC of Missouri

Women of STEEL Makes Strong Debut

By DENISE HASTY, AGC of Missouri

AGC of Missouri has launched a new women’s construction group that is gaining a large following across Missouri and attracting national attention. Just coming off its first Annual Conference and about to undertake another four networking events, AGCMO’s new Women of STEEL group also will be a featured program topic at next week’s AGC of America Annual Convention in Las Vegas.

Construction firms and associations around the country have been celebrating women’s roles in construction during NAWIC’s Women in Construction Week ™ (March 5-11). This year’s theme, “Many Paths, One Mission,” celebrates the different journeys women have taken toward the same goal: strengthening and amplifying the success of women in the construction industry. And that’s exactly what some key AGCMO members and staff had in mind when they formulated the idea for a new Women of STEEL (seeking to engage, elevate and lead) interest group over a year ago.

According to AGCMO member Amanda Bohnert, CPSM, chief marketing officer, S. M. Wilson, and one of Women of STEEL’s co-founders, “There are many women working in construction who are not a member of the trades or formal groups.  However, they are vital to our industry and work in all sorts of jobs, i.e. HR, estimating, purchasing, project support, accounting, marketing, etc. When we founded Women of STEEL and created our mission, we were looking for a way to help them expand their professional horizons, learn from others’ experiences and have an opportunity for professional development”.

“At the same time, we saw an opportunity to elevate member engagement and provide a greater ROI for our member companies,” Bohnert added. “Our initial year exceeded our expectations with an outreach to more than 500 women, engaging member firms

throughout the state.”

The group started with a strong mission and no budget. Through social media, direct mail, newsletter promotion and word-of-mouth, interest grew for a virtual kick-off meeting last spring followed by a hybrid presentation by career coach Maisha Christian and a series of happy hour networking events around the state. The group also had a breakout session at the annual AGCMO/MoDOT Co-op meeting in December. Women of STEEL has accumulated an impressive following of 500-plus women in the group’s debut year, culminating with the first Women of STEEL two-day annual conference last month in Jefferson City.

Social media has been instrumental in connecting prospective members to Women of STEEL.  Event listings and updates can be found at: Facebook , Instagram, LinkedIn and in the organization’s Facebook Group.

Upcoming Women of STEEL events include a special breakout session, “Discovering Your Superpowers,” and WOS happy hour at the AGCMO Annual Convention in Cape Girardeau March 27-28. WOS happy hours are scheduled May 16 and 17 in mid-Missouri and Kansas City, respectively, followed by an event at S. M. Wilson hosted by WilsonWomen on June 22nd and another in southeast Missouri on Nov. 16.

Plans are already underway for a 2024 Women of STEEL conference. Topic suggestions already are flowing in – from learning about contract terms and negotiations, successfully navigating difficult conversations and avoiding the Superwoman Syndrome, to increasing confidence and juggling work and family while succeeding at both. Have ideas? WOS would love to engage with even more women in the industry.

For information or to register for upcoming events, contact Denise Hasty at

Denise Hasty, CAE, is Vice-President, Advocacy and Public Relations, for AGCMO.

Construction Robotics Featured at 9th Annual AGCMO Tech Conference



Robots that supplement construction teams by performing repetitive tasks are preparing for their “invasion” at project sites, according to Tarlton’s Scott Green, presenter at one of the breakout sessions at the 9th annual AGC of Missouri Design & Construction Technology Conference on Oct. 22.

The St. Louis Council of Construction Consumers (SLC3) partnered with AGCMO to host the event, held this year at the Eric P. Newman Education Center in the Central West End.

Green, Tarlton’s director of technology, quality and productivity, told the audience it’s likely that St. Louis’ construction industry will soon embrace what is occurring on the West Coast. Large projects are recruiting robots to perform time-intensive, labor-intensive repetitive tasks to mitigate safety risks and compensate for the shortage of field workers.

“These task-performing machines are assisting in everything from demolition to material handling, bricklaying, laser scanning and more,” Green said. “They’re not replacing the human element, but rather complementing the construction workforce, reducing risk, enhancing efficiency, reducing the potential for human error and reducing safety risks on the jobsite.”

Examples of non-human counterparts that St. Louis jobsites might see soon include:

Dusty Robotics’ FieldPrinter: This robot-powered tool automates the layout process within 1/16-inch accuracy, printing full-size floorplans on the deck for builders.

TinyMobile’s mobile robots: Marking lines on sporting fields is the mission of this bot.

Civ Robotics’ mobile robots: These surveying field robots mark lines on roadways.

Advanced Construction Robotics’ IronBot: This rebar carrying and placing robot relieves the burden of heavy lifting by self-placing up to 5,000-pound rebar bundles.

SkyMul’s SkyMul robot: This drone identifies and ties rebar intersections.

SAM (Semi-Automated Mason): SAM lays up to 3,000 bricks per day, four times faster than a human.

MULE (Material Unit Lift Enhancer): This cargo-carrying robot can lift and place material weighing up to 135 pounds.

Hilti Jaibot: Locating and drilling color-coded holes in ceilings and decks at heights of up to 16.5 feet is this robot’s task.

Boston Dynamics’ Spot: An agile robot, this one navigates terrain, climbs stairs and can carry up to 31 pounds for 90 minutes.

AGC of Missouri, MoDOT Celebrate 65 Years of Interstates, Policy Org Releases Transport Report


The Associated General Contractors of Missouri, Missouri Dept. of Transportation and elected officials from St. Charles city and county celebrated the 65th anniversary of the genesis of America’s interstate highway system on Aug. 13.

Missouri was the first state to break ground on what would become a nationwide network of 46,876 paved miles of interstate routes, of which nearly 1,400 miles are in Missouri. During President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s term, the federal government let contracts to begin building. The stretch of Interstate 70 where last week’s celebration took place represents the first spot in the U.S. where shovels hit dirt to begin constructing the interstate system.

“Right here, the first shovel of dirt turned on the greatest economic engine in the U.S., our interstate system,” said Len Toenjes, president of the AGC of Missouri.

Tom Blair, MoDOT St. Louis District engineer, said the agency is ready to move forward on several Tier I projects awaiting funding through the proposed $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure deal approved by the U.S. Senate on Aug. 10 and awaiting action in the House. The bill devotes $550 million in new spending for roads and bridges, broadband internet, public transit and electric utilities.

The prioritized (currently unfunded) projects are: I-70 at I-64, I-70 at St. Louis Lambert International Airport, a segment of I-270 that is only two lanes in both directions and I-55 in Jefferson County.

“MoDOT stands ready to produce increased results as a result of this increased investment,” Blair said.

Also part of the Aug. 13 interstate anniversary celebration was Carolyn Bonifas Kelly, director of communications and research for TRIP, a DC-based nonprofit national transportation research group. The organization just released recommendations for the restoration and renewal of the interstate highway system. To see the full report, go to

“As of May 2021, the level of interstate volume is 3 percent above 2019 levels,” said Kelly. “Missouri has the 9th highest volume in the nation in terms of interstate truck traffic. It’s critical that the U.S. provides long-term, sustainable and adequate transportation infrastructure funding. The long-term vision that helped establish our interstate highway system 65 years ago is needed again today.”

AGC Opposes PRO Act, Says Legislation Would Overturn 70 Years of Precedent


The Associated General Contractors continues to oppose the PRO (Protecting the Right to Organize) Act, H.R. 842, legislation seeking to change dozens of longstanding labor laws regarding collective bargaining.

AGC of America CEO Stephen Sandherr says the legislation, which the U.S. House of Representatives passed 225-206 back in March, remains in the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions where it has been for nearly four months. Backed by the AFL-CIO, the bill provides for conditions that would strengthen unions’ leverage in collective bargaining with union construction companies and in efforts to unionize open-shop firms. H.R. 842, if passed in the Senate and signed into law by President Joe Biden, would also require employers to divulge private information about their employees and remove prohibitions on partial strikes, slowdown strikes and intermittent strikes.

“On its face, the PRO Act seems to be a rather limited application,” said Sandherr. “But in reality, the bill goes way beyond that. This is the most aggressive and ambitious menu of changes to federal labor law ever offered by the AFL-CIO. It would overturn over 70 years of precedent.”

Under H.R. 842, secondary boycotts – boycotts allowing unions to picket against any employer regardless of whether they are directly involved in a dispute with that union – would be allowed, according to Sandherr.

“This measure means many workers could be idled for a dispute in which they do not stand to benefit,” he said.

The PRO Act also includes a provision related to employee classification that takes aim at the use of independent contractors. “This would make it extremely difficult for entrepreneurial construction industry workers to establish their own businesses,” Sandherr said.

AGC of Missouri President Leonard Toenjes says unless the Senate’s filibuster rule is altered, the PRO Act will likely remain in committee.