Nearly 2,800 people attended the Associated General Contractors of America convention in Las Vegas in early March. Here are some of the highlights.
New Leadership, Initiatives
Boosting infrastructure spending will be part of the agenda for incoming AGC President Alan Landes, president/CEO of rail and heavy/highway firm Herzog Contracting Corp., St. Joseph, Mo. “We have a ‘devolution’ going on in this country right now,” Landes said in an interview with ENR. “The states know that no more federal dollars are coming their way, so they have to go to private markets to fund their projects.”
He will use his presidential tenure to push member involvement and workforce initiatives.
AGC also launched a new private health-insurance exchange to help member firms cut premium costs. The exchange works with Willis North America to offer a broader range of care options than are available to individual firms. “Our members will now be able to secure the kind of convenient and discounted benefits that a growing number of large employers already enjoy,” said Stephen E. Sandherr, AGC CEO.
Hardhats for Highways
With the federal Highway Trust Fund projected to be unable to support any new highway, bridge and public transportation improvements in fiscal year 2015, a national coalition of associations and labor unions announced during the convention the launch a campaign to help educate Congress about the connection between local jobs and federal highway and transit investment.
The campaign, “Hardhats for Highways,” is aimed at encouraging transportation construction firms and their employees to contact their U.S. representative and senators and let them know how many local jobs depend on federal transportation funding, said officials with the Transportation Construction Coalition.
Coalition officials said they would soon begin shipping special “Hardhats for Highways” decals to construction and related employers and local unions. They are asking employers and workers to write onto the decal how many jobs at their firm rely on federal highway funding, affix the decal to the firm’s hardhat, and present the hardhat to their local congressman and senators as they encourage them to support new federal transportation investments.
In addition to presenting members of Congress with the special hardhats, employers and employees will be able to send “e-Hardhat” messages to Congress explaining how many jobs at their firms rely on federal transportation funding and encouraging the elected officials to support new federal transportation funding. The coalition will track how many firms and their employees present the “Hardhats for Highways,” officials added.
“Members of Congress need to understand how many people back home are counting on federal transportation investments,” Sandherr, the coalition’s co-chair, said. “Investing in roads and bridges not only makes our broader economy more efficient and vibrant, it puts a lot of men and women to work in every part of the country.”