My last article detailed the Chapter’s Priority One to increase the lettings for fiscal year 2018, and just one month later, I am happy to report real progress. The Highway Funding Task Force, under the leadership of Chairman Johnny Weisman, met with TxDOT Administration to examine a way to accelerate projects. The task force asked TxDOT Administration and the Texas Transportation Commission to consider accelerating projects in advance of Prop. 7 deposits.
Each year AGC of America surveys member firms on their expectations for labor and market conditions for the coming business year. We then closely analyze those survey results and prepare our annual Construction Hiring and Business Outlook. As we have done the past several years, we teamed up with Sage Construction and Real Estate to use these survey results as the basis for our annual industry forecast, which we call our Construction Hiring & Business Outlook. Over 1,000 firms participated in our Outlook survey, representing a broad range of firms in terms of size, business volume and geographic distribution. Construction firms appear to be very optimistic about 2018 as they expect demand for all types of construction services to continue to expand.
Like many of you, TXDOT will be spending this year improving today’s transportation modes, and preparing for tomorrow’s mobility needs. And if those who spend their time making predictions about that future are correct, we will have our work cut out for us. The next time you are sitting in traffic, think about this daunting fact: the population in Texas is expected to double from 28.3 million today to 54 million in 2050, meaning that there will be millions more commuters joining you on your drives to and from work in the future.
The January Membership Luncheon featured a special presentation--and very special guests--as the Chapter posthumously bestowed the Life Member Award to A.J. Clark of Clark Construction, for exceptional efforts in service on the highway industry. Clark, a longtime member and advocate of AGC of Texas, passed away in June of 2017. Life Member Awards honor the men and women who, through extraordinary efforts, influenced the industry in a positive way. The award was presented to his widow, Kathleen Kelly Clark, and attending family: son, President Chad Clark and wife Melanie; son Cody Clark; brother David Clark; niece Ciara Clark and nephew Corey Clark.
Members enjoyed a rollicking good time as they gathered together for one last hurrah in 2017 at the AGC of Texas 2nd Annual Christmas Party, sponsored by the Associate Division. Over 300 members and their spouses attended the December 4 event, held at the Four Seasons Ballroom. The idea for the Christmas Party came about as the Goals and Objectives Committee remarked that the Chapter could do better than the Parking Lot Fish Fry, and charged the Associate Division to come up with an alternative. Chairman Colin Keane organized a Planning Committee of active General and Associate Members who, after the first meeting, immediately took to the idea of a Christmas Party.
The membership welcomed its 2018 officers at the first annual Membership Luncheon and Board of Directors Meeting, held January 3 in Austin. 2017 President Seth Schulgen passed the gavel to Chad Clark of Clark Construction, who takes over leadership in 2018 (after a few gag gifts and sincere words of encouragement and confidence). “Thank you for presenting me with this gavel,” said Clark to Schulgen. “I look forward to serving the industry as president. You did an excellent job last year, which will certainly make things a lot easier for all of us. We have an excellent board of directors and I am looking forward to a great year.”
I have served as Executive Vice President for almost four months since the Board elected me to succeed Tom Johnson on September 6 of 2017. Somehow it only seems like four weeks. As I am writing this article, we are closing out another successful year for the chapter. 2017 saw historic change in the life of AGC of Texas. 2018 will prove more challenging no doubt but the chapter staff and leadership are committed to ensuring that we will adapt, and not only survive but thrive in the new year. The focus of our work at the chapter during the late fall was to partner with the Texas Department of Transportation to execute the work plan established by the voters of Texas to build more roads.
I was born into this industry. I've never known anything else. I grew up going to work with my dad A.J. Some of my first memories are riding around in the truck with him and talking on the C.B. He taught me a lot about this industry. One of the most important was that as long as the industry gets better, you will do better. If you give to the industry, it always gives back. That’s what AGC is about. And that’s the message I want to give to members. The best way—at least in my experience--to enter that door is through area meetings. Getting involved in local issues, supporting the local PAC, and becoming an area chair.