It's a beautiful Texas spring day, and Madison Inge sits under the big top tent, laserfocused on the dozens of door prize tickets organized in front of her. She is listening intently to the winning numbers at the AGC DFW Future Leaders Fifth Annual PAC Spring Fling and Shrimp Boil. When asked what she put her tickets in for, her concentration doesn’t waver.
Kyle Riggs, Boone Massey, Jim Hill and Bo Davis hand out tickets and welcome guests.
“She’s really into this,” laughs her dad, Travis Inge, senior vice president of corporate banking at Frost. Madison, 7, has her heart—and all her attention—set on winning a $400 gift certificate to Great Wolf Lodge, the big prize in an assortment of other raffle opportunities.
The Inges are just three of the approximately 500 members and their families who attended the AGC’s DFW Future Leaders 5th Annual PAC Spring Fling. Inge has worked for Frost for about 5 years, so an event designed specifically by members at the beginning of their careers is particularly advantageous. But the most important draw to the AGC event is the family-friendly atmosphere.
“I think the event is fantastic. A lot of companies get to bring their employees, and they get to bring their families. If it wasn’t for that, I probably wouldn’t be able to come. We enjoy it because I can bring them,” referring to his wife, Ady, and daughter Madison.
The AGC DFW Future Leaders Annual PAC Spring Fling was created by the DFW Future Leaders Council Board of Directors a little over five years ago to bolster their community and bring everyone together.
“We weren’t doing anything here,” said Zach Fusilier of North Texas Contracting and FLC board member. “So we thought, ‘let’s have a big party.’ The focus was more on having a giant party than it was trying to raise a maximum amount of dollars. The first question we had was, ‘How do we get everyone here together?’”
Fusilier and his company, North Texas Contracting, have been involved in the event every year. “I did all the food. My step-dad cooked the shrimp. I like to throw parties, and I like to cook for people, so this was a great excuse to get a big smoker.”
North Texas Contracting, a subcontractor, started attending AGC events around seven years ago to meet general contractors and other industry personnel. The idea of being able to anchor an event for a good cause was a great one for them.
“We’re not a giant company. This is our way of giving back,” said Fusilier.
With an investment of around $4,500, they made sure to send as many of their employees as possible. “We send a lot of people from our company who don’t otherwise attend AGC events. We make sure to take advantage of a good party.”
The first shrimp boil was hosted in May 2014 at T-K-O Equipment headquarters, where they and other sponsors set the foundation for what it has become today. After two years, the party moved to Buyers Barricades, who has hosted it the past three years. The central concept of bringing people together was evident in every aspect of the event.
The DFW Future Leadership Council is open to any member new to the industry, around 2-12 years into their careers. All members of the FLC Board of Directors volunteer their time and effort to the event, but it includes the dedication of a slew of other companies and individuals. The current board is made up of Bo Davis of AR Daniel Construction Services (chair), Zach Fusilier with North Texas Contracting, Jill McKean with BOK Financial, Jim Hull with Ergon, Kyle Riggs with US Lime, Boone Massey with Austin Bridge, Wesley Stanley with Lane, Marshall Luig with Peachtree Construction, and Matt Miller with Lamb-Star. Bo Davis also serves as Dallas Area Chair.
“The FLC folks and steering committee are a great bunch to work with,” says Paul Causey, DFW Area Manager for AGC. “And Buyer’s Barricade is tremendous. Most importantly, Bo is one of those leaders who inspires others and gets them to participate. He works hard, walks the talk, and gets things done. Zach Fusilier contributes a lot. You name it, he will contribute or get it done. All in all, this is one of the best team efforts I’ve ever seen. They all like what they do, and they do it well.”
Buyers Barricades transformed its spacious yard with New Orleans-themed decorations, a big-top tent with seating for hundreds, space for around 40 ticketed prizes, and a live band. Outside of the tent was a double row for the shrimp boil and fixin’s, a beignet truck, a rock climbing wall, a couple of fully stocked bars, flight simulator for the kids, and a truck-mounted big-screen television with lawn chairs and AstroTurf to watch the game.
Next to the television was a bathtub full of water and sodas that someone had dropped soft plastic fish bait and bobbers into, occupying the “under 5” crew for the entirety of the event.
AGC needed an event that encouraged participation outside of the existing leadership, but integrated the next generation alongside them, explains Bo Davis, FLC chairman and chairman of the Dallas Area.
“The [scholarship] gala is a wonderful event, but I cannot go there and spend what Art Daniel does. There needs to be an event that includes the Bo Davises. This event is open to all. We are not all CEOs… yet. We want to feel that our presence is meaningful, and to be able to share this event with our families.
“The event is totally free for all to attend,” continued Davis. “We have accomplished all five years through sponsorships. Plus the other sponsors who donate amazing raffle items. We have a tight group of legacy sponsors, but this year we had a lot of new ones. We only solicit sponsorships from DFW but get attendance from all over the state. We have almost doubled our participation since last year—word is spreading.”
The most remarkable thing about the event was the number of communitybased initiatives it managed to integrate into a single event. At the center was host, Buyers Barricades.
“Charity is one of the core philosophies in the office,” says Blake Tuggle, chief operating officer of Buyers Barricades, “Work hard, play hard, keep it familyoriented, and always give back.”
Steve and Shelba Buyers, owners of Buyers Barricades, see the event as beneficial for everyone involved. A lot of effort went in to make the event a draw for members and their families—no matter how old the children. The coordination of the raffle increases the entertainment value and garners money for the area PAC, but also supports the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas, which provides lodging and support for families whose children are receiving essential medical care. In addition, the Presbyterian Night Shelter’s employment program staffed several to assist with the cleanup.
“The [Presbyterian Night] shelter opened in 1984,” said Toby Owen, its chief executive officer. “We have around 700 people per night. Around two years ago we started another initiative with the employment program. Right now, we have about 30 people from the shelter who work full or part time. The Buyers reached out a few months ago. They have been supporters of the shelter and asked us to provide workers to do cleanup. We have four ladies here.”
The event is also great marketing for the Buyers. “We probably have about 400 potential customers here,” said Steve.
Steve appreciates the ability to underwrite and host an AGC event. “I’ve been in the construction business since I was 15. Every general contractor I work with is an AGC member. It’s a great event for us. We plan on doing this for as long as AGC will have us.”
Being a member of the AGC motivates Steve because he appreciates the value of quality competitors in his industry, and there are several within the membership. “No one knows how good you are unless you have good competitors,” he said.
The DFW FLC and Buyers Barricades—with a lengthy list of sponsors and assistance--succeeded in creating a signature event for their area that is unique to the state. To Bo Davis, this is the cornerstone of a healthy FLC.
“You have to focus on a solid 2-4 events that do really well,” said Davis. “Try to focus on those every year and make each one different and better each year. No better example than this right here. Start with 1-2 events. You can’t go wrong with the PAC—but don’t overthink it. It needs to be an event that brings people together first and foremost.”