The TxDOT Houston District is doing an excellent job under the leadership of District Engineer Mike Alford. With the participation he demands of himself and his top-level employees, Houston contractors have the benefit of real-time solutions at our meetings. The joint meetings we conduct each month demonstrate the success that comes from partnering between the department and the industry.
Contractors have discussed the migration of truckers to the Eagle Ford area. DOW Chemical is in the works to begin a multi-billion dollar ethylene plant in the city, estimated to employ 2,000 workers. This is a substantial amount of competition in an industry that has seen skilled laborer numbers evaporate. At this juncture, the conversation has gone only so far as to identify the issue as one likely to require attention in the future. For now we have other fires closer to home, and much more threatening.
I’m not too humble to say the Houston Area has a lot to be proud of, but at first I was hesitant to list any one thing as para- revelation of $2 billion in additional funding at TxDOT, it brought a sharp focus to the personnel at TxDOT, and how much we rely on their abilities to keep the contractors and associates working.
When Phil Wilson announced the additional $2 billion, Mike didn’t have to consider whether or not they would be ready. They have projects ready to move forward to letting in order to accommodate this unexpected funding, plus a lot more. In these days of last-minute, short-term, one-time financing, TxDOT’s Houston District is ready for any fortuitous windfalls that come their way. They are like the Minutemen of Highway Financing, ready at a moment’s notice to put contractors to work and keep Houston moving.
As an employee at Williams Brothers, I have experienced firsthand the benefit of the participation of the dedicated industry leaders we have in Houston. It gives me an enhanced appreciation for how strong AGC of Texas is due to the tireless efforts of “members working for members”.
Houston area meetings are distinguished by their formality; to my knowledge, we are the only area maintaining a suit-and-tie dress code. Otherwise, we are typically the same in our process: pre-Meeting with contractors to identify and approve agenda items; meeting with TxDOT to review all items from both sides; luncheon with our associate members, contractors and TxDOT as we receive a guest speaker, selected for their connection to the industry. The speakers are oftentimes politicians, though around Christmas we try to shake things up a bit and invite someone who will make us laugh.
Operations in the Houston Area took on a rapid pace from the beginning of the calendar year. With the ambitious new Highway Funding Task Force initiatives, a growing demand and decreasing supply of skilled laborers, and your typical tide of regulatory compliance issues, AGC operations in 2012 have drawn robust discussion, increased participation, and a renewed need for stability among Chapter members.
Contractors have discussed the migration of truckers to the Eagle Ford area. DOW Chemical is working to begin a multibillion dollar plant in the area, estimated to employ 2,000 workers. This is a substantial amount of competition in an industry, which has seen skilled laborer numbers evaporate. At this juncture, the conversation has gone only so far as to identify the issue as one likely to require attention in the future. For now, we have other fires closer, and much more threatening.
This year after a couple of our luncheons, Highway Funding the members emphasizing the importance of PAC participation and the essential need to engage in the political process. Supporting candidates during the election cycle creates opportunities for educating elected officials in advance of the legislative battles that lie ahead.
Our associate members have done an admirable job rousting the membership into action. Associates are major supporters of our PAC initiatives by underwriting our events so that 100 percent of our proceeds go directly to our PAC. We still have a lot to do in 2012, though. Hopefully by the time we get into the third quarter we will realize the PAC activity needed to boost this industry.
In addition to our golf tournaments, we also accept personal donations. Those who donate are recognized on tiered levels based on the accumulated amount of participation by employees of each company, and are shown on a large banner displayed at the monthly luncheons. We are always looking for new members to add onto the recognition board. It’s a great way to highlight your company and its employees and support the AGC of Texas action during the 2013 session of the Texas Legislature.
I encourage all of our Houston members to contact me with any questions or concerns. We can tackle just about any issue; all it takes is active participation by attending meetings, PAC activity, and constructive criticism.