As the year ends, it's a good time to reflect on the accomplishments of the past twelve months. One of the biggest successes of 2018 would have to be the Scholarship Gala in September.
In late October, I gave a welcome speech to the first graduating class of AGC Prime Time, a course for DBE subcontractors working to expand operations in the heavy highway industry. I was asked to speak about the value of AGC for developing subcontractors.
TxDOT welcomed AGC of Texas members to join their annual TxDOT Maintenance and Traffic Operations Conference, held September 5-7 at the downtown Fort Worth Convention Center. A first for AGC members, attendance quickly exceeded original estimates by hundreds, with a total of approximately 1600 attendees.
For President-Elect Trey Pebley, the Administrative Conference is a place for families to grow in the AGC community. “The one thing that really stands out to me in regards to the Administrative Conference is the number of kids that are attending. We are steadily seeing that number increase and that is great to see. In the past, there were a few families attending but now you see families everywhere. I think this large contingent of kids brings energy and a sense of the future to the AGC. Any organization that has its future leaders attending conferences like this is setting itself up for continued success.”
The construction industry is simultaneously experiencing record high levels of activity and a record low pool of skilled workers which, left unaddressed, will have a long-lasting impact on the industry’s future. Recent surveys from AGC of America support the government estimates. In August, eighty percent of AGC members reported hard times filling craft positions. The industry has long identified the crisis and has worked with local secondary and post-secondary educators to expose young adults to the value of working in the construction industry.
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.