AGC in Motion

Beaumont District Engineer Don Smith speaking at the November 19th Beaumont Area Forecast meeting.

Steve Stafford, Interim Jefferson County Engineer, speaks at the Beaumont Area Forecast Meeting.

Members of the Safety Committee take part in a cooking lesson performed by Chef Hay of the Hyatt Regency in Austin, in honor and appreciation of Safety Chairman Bill Duguay. 

This is the second year for the Safety Committee to add some recreation to an otherwise busy meeting agenda. Since the weather complied, the group met al fresco and learned to make and pair different chimichurris with specific cuts of grilled meats.

Fort Worth Chairman Phillippe Falkner, AGC’s Kristen Smith, and Dallas Chairman Billy Cheek at the October DFW Monthly Luncheon. Kristen spoke to the group about the department’s proposed DBE goals.

Reigning Champ! It started during the 2019 Scholarship Gala with AGC of Texas President Trey Pebley (Foremost Paving) poised to break a fundraising record. The event topped the $1 million mark for the first time in 2018 when Chad Clark (Clark Construction of Texas) served as president. The final tally of Trey’s $1.1 million broke Chad’s record.

“I was really wanting him to beat my record and I was harassing him all night – telling Trey, ‘you have to get this (imaginary) championship belt from me.’ And then he beat my record.”

Chad suggested a wrestling-type championship belt be made to celebrate the AGC of Texas record-breaking marks for the Scholarship Fund. He got all the encouragement he needed from fellow past president Seth Schulgen: “Do it! Do it!”

Chad visited Monarch Trophy Studio in San Antonio. The company helped Chad create a wrestling championship-type belt with a huge AGC logo centered on the belt and “Scholarship Gala Champ” inscriptions on either side.

Chad presented the belt to Trey at the November membership lunch. But don’t expect the new champion to carry it around--it’s going on display in the AGC trophy case.

2020 AGC of Texas President Robert Adamson (Longview Bridge and Road) will get an opportunity to win the championship belt next fall – if the scholarship gala can surpass the record set under Trey’s leadership.

“It’s just a challenge to keep this scholarship gala (record) going,” says Chad.

Steve Jarvis or Beyer Construction, LLC, was nominated by his peers to receive the AGC of Texas Life Member Award. The Award is reserved for members who have made a lasting and positive impact on the industry. From left to right: James Radford, Bubba Beyer, Ginger Jarvis, Steve Jarvis, Ivan Sveck, and Nathan Giessinger.

Eliza Paul, recently appointed Houston District Engineer, addresses the crowd at the Houston Area meeting.

Eliza will celebrate her 31st year with the department in January, having begun her career with TXDOT as an Engineering Assistant in Houston’s District Laboratory in 1989. After becoming a registered Professional Engineer in 1994, she transferred to the South Harris Area Office as project engineer for the I-45 South at Beltway 8 interchange project. In 1998, Eliza became the Assistant Area Engineer for the Central Houston Area, one of the busiest area offices in the state, and played a key role in the oversight of a $750 million project that reconstructed 10 miles of the I-10/Katy Freeway. Twelve years later, Eliza began working at the combined Waller/West-Central Harris Area Office, the largest area office in the District, and as Assistant Area Engineer, oversaw the West Harris and Central Houston Area Offices and three maintenance offices in Waller, West Harris and Central Houston. In 2011, she became the Brazoria Area Engineer, managing the design, construction and maintenance work for that county.   In 2013, Eliza was promoted to the Director of Construction for the District and in 2015, became the District’s Deputy District Engineer. Eliza was the recipient of the 2016 Dewitt C. Greer Award, which recognizes outstanding service to the people of the State of Texas by engineers. Also in 2016, Eliza was awarded Woman of the Year honors by the organization Advancing Women in Transportation.

Before becoming a member of the TxDOT Family, Eliza earned her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Imperial College of Science and Technology in London, and a Master of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of Houston.

Eliza and her husband, State Representative Dennis Paul, who represents District 129 in the Texas Legislature, have one daughter, Elizabeth, who is pursuing a Master’s degree in Engineering at the University of Texas at Austin. In her spare time, Eliza sings in her church choir and serves as a Eucharistic Minister.

Please join me in congratulating Eliza on her new position, and we look forward to the good work that she and her team will do for the Houston District.

State Rep. Dade Phelan, R-Beaumont, briefed AGC of Texas members about the importance of Prop 8 during the November membership luncheon (Nov. 4) at Austin’s Hyatt Regency. Texas voters approved the flood control measure overwhelmingly the next day.

Phelan authored the legislation, which will take $800 million from the state’s Rainy Day Fund for initial funding to help the Texas Water Development Board to promote regional flood control planning.

Regional planning and co-operation are vital, Phelan said, because flood waters “don’t respect political boundaries.”

State action is required because it takes years for the federal government to respond to natural disasters, he said.

48 inches of rain over a 24-hour period causes a calamity, such as Hurricane Harvey in 2017.  Some counties that were spared from the worst downpours still had to fear dams collapsing upstream, and others feared flooding if a dam in another county needed to be lowered to prevent a collapse.

Phelan is one of the young leaders in the Texas House. He chairs the House State Affairs Committee.

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