Although under unique circumstances, October provided President Adamson his first opportunity to preside over an inperson Board of Directors meeting since February. The event was held at the Hyatt Ballroom, with ample physical distancing and microphones for communication.
What will become of the Scholarship Program without your support? Last year, after another record-breaking amount raised at the Scholarship Gala, I joked to a full board room that I would remember every promise made by members who said they would be there for me next year to help set yet another record.Boy, did we learn a lesson in plans and expectations.
After holding out hope that only the summer events would be skipped for 2020, the Gala Committee recommended we cancel this year’s gala--and with it, the best opportunity for another record setting fundraiser.
But contractors pivot quickly and effectively. Gala Committee Co-Chairs Seth Schulgen and Elizabeth Zwak went to work crafting a letter to all members proposing an alternative way to keep the program moving. In it, they pled the worthy case of the Scholarship Foundation program, which had just months earlier added twenty-six scholars to its roster.
By early October, the AGC of Texas mantra “Members Helping Members” was realized through almost $350,000 of donations from both General and Associate members. That number continues to grow every day.
“It is surprising, but also unsurprising, that we have gotten this incredible response from the membership,” remarked Gala Committee Co-Chair Elizabeth Zwak. “When Seth and I were trying to come up with a fundraising solution to replace the canceled gala we said we would be happy if anything came in--but never dreamed that we would receive this kind of response from just our letter alone.”
This AGC scholarship program has been a life changer for many member families, providing educational opportunities that might not have otherwise been possible. The AGC Board of Directors made the decision many years ago to invest in the future of our industry by providing two-year vocational scholarships as well as four year academic scholarships and after decades of consistent scholarship awards, we cannot “take a year off,” even in these unprecedented times.
Thanks to the thirty-five member companies and individuals who donated last year, the Scholarship Program will remain healthy for its current scholars and provide support for the committee to award more scholarships in the years to come.
Paying for college tuition is a strenuous task in and of itself. Add the stress of a pandemic for most families, and it can be downright daunting. AGC of Texas 2020 Scholarship Recipient Ethan Lisenby shared these thoughts in a recent letter to the Scholarship Committee.
“Receiving an AGC of Texas scholarship meant the world to me. Being able to help my parents pay for tuition is something that I started thinking about before college even started, and I am thankful that the AGC scholarship allows me to contribute to my education. It is a big deal for me to be able to contribute back to my family through the AGC’s recognition of my commitment to the industry.”
When Lisenby received news of his scholarship award, it was a joyful moment in an overall gloomy year. “In a word: thrilled” is how Lisenby describes how it felt to receive the scholarship. “I remember reading the first two lines of Mrs. Zwak’s letter and feeling an overwhelming amount of pride, excitement, and appreciation. I could not wait to share the news with my family, friends, and AGC members who have inspired me to this point.” Lisenby intends to use his Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with an emphasis in Operations Management to enter the heavy and highway contracting industry in Texas after he graduates.
Although the date of this year’s gala has already come and gone, the chapter continues to receive contributions for the Scholarship Foundation online and in the mail almost every week. At the time of the writing of this article the list of current donors are as follows:
Supporting at the “Top of Class” level with a $50,000 contribution is Hunter Industries, along with The Levy Company. Big Creek Construction is a “Traditional” $40,000 level sponsor. The “Vocational” $20,000 commitment was filled by Ergon Asphalt & Emulsions, Gibson & Associates, and Lhoist. Jones Bros. Dirt & Paving have sponsored at the 3-semester or $15,000 commitment level. “Platinum” sponsors at $10,000 each include A.L. Helmcamp, Jordan Foster Construction, Kirby-Smith Machinery, Longview Bridge and Road, McGriff Insurance of Texas, Reece Albert, Roadway Specialties, Webber, and Willis Electric Co. The “Semester” sponsor level of $5,000 includes Frank Siddons Insurance Agency Fort Worth, Hollon Oil Company, and Sundt. Moore Brothers Construction Co. was a “Gold” level sponsor at $3,000. “Bronze” sponsors at $1,000 a piece include A Brothers Milling, Gary Angel, Greg Angel, AR Brothers Construction Services, Bank of Texas, Brannan Paving Co., Carolyn Brittin, Cokinos | Young, Hyde Regulatory Group – Richard Hyde, KLP Construction Supply, NBG Constructors, and Gary Scharrer. “Individual” sponsors at $500 a piece include Heart of Texas Tolers, Pipe Wholesalers of Texas, and Thomas R Bohuslav Consulting Engineers.
As an employee of an AGC of Texas member firm I have had the honor and privilege of being involved with the scholarship program for many years and have witnessed firsthand the growth of the program, along with the number of young women and men whose lives have been changed through this effort. As you may have heard me remark before, not all of the roads and bridges we build that make people’s lives better are made out of concrete and steel or asphalt and base, many are made out of relationships we develop and the AGC of Texas Scholarship Program is a shining example of how to do that.
To all those organizations and individuals who have already contributed to this year’s program, thank you! To all who have yet to contribute: no worries, there’s no deadline. The deadline got canceled with the pandemic too! Again, thanks to all that have contributed to the future success of our industry in years past, this year, and in the years to come. Thanks for making a difference in the lives of the families of our member firms, who through our example, will make a difference in the lives of those who follow them. May God bless you all and keep you safe.
Since the chapter was unable to host a monthly membership luncheon, board members gathered at the Hyatt Restaurant, where they were able to sit two to a table with individually wrapped offerings of tacos and salads