AGC in Motion

The first quarterly TxDOT/AGC Joint Committee meeting on February 11 drew a crowd that packed the Chapter boardroom. TxDOT Administration and contractor members reviewed the construction and maintenance programs for the state. Contractor members thanked the department for their efforts in the scheduling of projects.

FY2019 is projected to be the largest program ever by the department. While TxDOT stated they expected some of 2019’s projects will fall to 2020, it will still be a increase from FY2018 totals. TxDOT noted they have averaged $500 million in lettings each month for the first five months of the fiscal year.

Joint Committee Chairman David Casteel welcomes TxDOT Administration (Randy Hopmann and Bill Hale, left). Also pictured are Chapter President Trey Pebley and Executive Vice President Jennifer Woodard.

Rep. Armando “Mando” Martinez, D-Weslaco, a member of the Texas House Transportation Committee, shared his “passion for transportation” while speaking to AGC of Texas members at the February luncheon.

Folks who enjoyed avocado dip during Super Bowl watch parties probably were consuming avocados that crossed into Texas from the Pharr International Bridge, where 55 percent of the nation’s produce enters, he told members. It takes a long wait to cross the bridge because Texas doesn’t have enough funding to expand the infrastructure, he said.

“Transportation is not partisan; transportation is about economics; transportation is about development,” Martinez said.

Mary Lou Reece (Reece Construction Co.) was the first woman chosen to serve on the AGC of Texas board of directors (early 1990s). She is president of her Kansas-based company, which also does highway work in Texas.

Mary Lou’s husband, a United Methodist Church bishop, was transferred to Houston in 2016. Mary Lou has not had time to stay active in AGC of Texas but made it back to the chapter office in February to participate in a TxDOT-related issue. She had plenty of old friends to welcome her return.

Jennifer Woodard was a young AGC of Texas staff member in the early 1990s when Mary Lou Reece served as the first woman on the board of directors for AGC of Texas. The two had not seen one another in decades. Jennifer is now executive vice president for AGC of Texas; Mary Lou is president of the company her late father founded. H.W. “Bill” Reece was a national AGC director and a founder of TRIP, The Road Information Program.

Civil Rights Director Michael Bryant reviews the department’s progress in establishing an updated disparity study for the state. Bryant informed the DBE Committee, which held its first quarterly meeting on February 12, that data collection and preliminary results were scheduled to be ready by mid-summer. The state would begin working on a methodology for the next triannual goal shortly thereafter. He expects Texas will follow national trends and will reflect an increase in DBE goals for the next cycle.

(Far Left) Courtney Chavez, who recently accepted the position of deputy director of TxDOT Civil Rights Division. Chavez is an attorney who most recently developed EEO policies for the University of Texas at Austin.

Clockwise, L to R Courtney Chavez (deputy director, TxDOT CIV), Michael Bryant (chairman, director TxDOT CIV), Tracey Aping (chairman, Williams Brothers). Kristen Smith (AGC), Aisa Showery (TxDOT), Angela Berry Roberson (Webber), Mike Landen (Austin Bridge & Road), Meg Lisenby (Pipe Wholesalers), Sharon Douglas (Potere Construction).

Danette Shelton of Roadway Specialties discusses redundant prompt payment paperwork requirements for DBEs. District offices still require copies of canceled checks to prove prompt payment. However, this is already reported in DMS. Shelton asked if the districts could get that data from DMS or from a report from the Civil Rights Division. Bryant indicated he would investigate the matter.

Over 160 members gathered together at the Texas Capitol for the largest legislative Fly-In the Chapter has ever coordinated. The event was held February 13 and began with a breakfast, orientation and welcome remarks, a bus ride to the Capitol for a day of meetings, a visit to the Chapter’s Westgate office, and finally a reception at the Bob Bullock Texas History Museum for members, legislators and their staff.

Texas Transportation Commission Bruce Bugg, Jr. welcomed members to the fly-in, citing a longstanding history between the commission and AGC. When he assumed the chairmanship, Governor Abbott told him the first thing he should do is seek out the counsel of the AGC members. He thanked attendees for their advocacy and for their support in creating a best-in-class transportation network.

President Pebley (Foremost Paving), Angela Berry Roberson (Webber), and Sharon Douglas (Potere Construction) visited with Criminal Jurisprudence Chairman Nicole Collier. Collier, who represents portions of Fort Worth and Arlington, requested to meet with Pebley in order to learn more about the highway contracting process and the challenges it presents to minority and disadvantaged business. The group spent almost two hours at the chairman’s office reviewing bonding, surety, and risk assessments to both the prime contractor and the subcontracting community.

Past President Chad Clark, who currently serves as chairman of the Public Affairs Committee, presents a sign to longtime industry ally Representative John Kuempel. The signs were made by AGC staff as a “leave behind” and as a thank you to all legislators for their efforts in securing funding for the highway market. The signs were a huge success among the legislators.

Amadeo Saenz (JD Abrams) presents longtime Brownsville Senator Eddie Lucio the AGC road sign in appreciation for his support to the industry.

Zachry representatives Tara Snowden, Robbie Carmichael, and Cody Webb visit State Rep. Ina Minjarez. The representative attended the Chapter’s Administrative Conference as a guest speaker in 2018.

Hunter Industries and AmeriTex Pipe & Products visit the office of State Rep. Leo Pacheco.

Lon Albert with Reece Albert, Inc. sits with transportation advocate State Representative Drew Darby to discuss the effect props. 1 and 7 have had on the transportation industry. Under his leadership, the state is seeing record lettings.

Attendees of the Legislative Fly-In closed out the evening with live music, heavy hors d’oeuvres and cocktails with legislators and staff at a private party at the Bob Bullock Texas State History Museum, just north of the Capitol complex. Here, Legislative Drafting and Review Committee Chairman Tracey Schieffer, Gala Committee Chairman Seth Schulgen, and Representative Carol Alvarado stop for a quick picture before rejoining the celebration for a successful fly-in.

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