Whether caused by permitted trucks that are improperly loaded, non-permitted vehicles with excessively large equipment, or dump trucks that are driven with their beds in the elevated position – which happens more often than you would think – over-height bridge strikes are a reality across the state of Texas. These strikes can endanger lives, do considerable damage, tie up traffic and require costly repairs. And at the Texas Department of Transportation, we’re working on ways to prevent such strikes before they occur.
A record 420 folks attended the 7th Annual Executive Safety Conference at the Palmer Event Center, with 25 Award Recipients of t he first ever Texas Bluebonnet Safety Awards. Eleven were also recognized with the National AGC Safety Award as well. The t heme for t his year ’s conference was “Mission Zero: Leading the Charge.” Luncheon speakers included AGC President Chad Clark and TxDOT Director of District Operations Randy Hopmann.
The publication of this article will likely coincide with the one-year anniversary of my appointment by the Board of Directors to serve as Executive Vice President. What an exciting, challenging, and busy year it has been. We have successfully closed out another fiscal year for the Texas Department of Transportation with record-setting monthly highway lettings in excess of $1 billion for the past three months. At fiscal year-end, the department has awarded approximately 1,900 projects totaling close to $8 billion.
In late August I found myself scrambling to rearrange my work schedule to provide opening comments at AGC’s 7th Annual Executive Safety Conference. Let me be clear: while the opportunity to lead this association is one of my greatest honors, these events don’t get planned around my convenience. Sometimes they coincide with deadlines, family requirements, or emergencies. As a contractor, there’s always some crisis or deadline that has me running around.
2018 marks the 24th Anniversary of the creation of the Chapter Scholarship Program. In that time, the program has grown by leaps and bounds, cultivated by the generosity of AGC members and their abiding faith in the future of the highway industry. The Scholarship Committee has continued their work to develop and continuously improve upon the program, which awards scholarships to young Texans interested in pursuing a career in the industry. Scholarship funds are replenished exclusively from the proceeds of the Scholarship Gala each year. Five thousand dollars per semester is awarded for graduate or vocational education with the hope that it will launch amazing careers for the employees and dependents of employees of our Chapter members.
As the construction industry continues to expand amid growing demand for our services, one of the biggest concerns for most member firms is the shortage of available, qualified workers to hire. One solution to this workforce challenge lies in preparing and recruiting more people to work in the industry – something AGC, our chapters and members firms are all working hard to accomplish, as you can read about in this issue. But just as important is to make sure our work environments are healthy and safe so current workers can continue to thrive.
As a state agency, TXDOT must be responsible stewards of the funding that we receive. That’s even more important in light of the passage of Propositions 1 and 7 in recent years. Both of these voter-approved amendments to the Texas Constitution devoted more money to transportation to put more projects in the pipeline and on the ground. We don’t take our obligation lightly because it is given to us with an implied trust – a trust from the people of Texas that we will use those resources wisely, efficiently and effectively. That trust is not misplaced. We are fiscally responsible, and we always look for ways to be more cost efficient.
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. “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.