As an action movie junkie, Clint Eastwood is one of my favorite actors. His movies contain the message that good always wins, that right always triumphs over wrong. Hero is pitted against villain, valiantly confronting colossal difficulties and untold setbacks, ultimately emerging the victor.
In the 1986 movie Heartbreak Ridge, Eastwood’s character, Gunnery Sergeant Tom Highway, trains young jarheads to become real Marines. Gunny Highway explains to his troops that they need to “improvise, adapt, and overcome.” Those words fit AGC of Texas and “our troops.” The sands of change are moving swiftly beneath our feet. We have adapted and will continue to adapt to our changing business climate and overcome the challenges that lie ahead for the betterment of the industry.
Proof of our collective ability was borne out in the recent legislative session, in which transportation was the only state program to receive increased funding. Every single other program was cut.
Alongside our collective political leverage is the great personal reward that comes with AGC involvement. It provides a chance to be immersed in something bigger than ourselves, a prospect to invest in our future and a chance to leave the industry a better place for the next generation.
The Scholarship Gala, held in conjunction with the August letting, emerged as the solution. The results were magnificent. The event enjoyed two-fold success: It was a thoroughly enjoyable party, and the fundraising set a new record of over $415,000 in donations through sponsorships and auction purchases.
Such an opportunity presented itself with the suspension of the Trade Show. The chapter lost its venue for scholarship program fundraising, and with chapter scholarships supporting fifty-six (and counting) young men and women, a new forum was required. I appointed a special task force to consider our options and develop a new plan.
The Scholarship Gala, held in conjunction with the August letting, emerged as the solution. The results were magnificent. The event enjoyed two-fold success: It was a thoroughly enjoyable party, and the fundraising set a new record of over $415,000 in donations through sponsorships and auction purchases. I foresee this event growing in popularity and creating occasion for even greater scholarship program support. Thanks to the event supporters for their contribution to the success of this worthwhile event. Another stellar example of how AGC members rise to “improvise, adapt, and overcome.”
Someone once remarked to me that every year we are faced with challenges that threaten our security and our future. It’s true. Uncertainty is a constant. The horizon is forever clouded by looming trials and tribulations. But the perpetual companion of Uncertainty is Opportunity. And with the knowledge of our successful achievements of past trials, we can look forward with bolstered confidence. We can rely on the fact that we can execute deliberate, well-conceived plans with heart and attitude. We have right on our side. And, as always, we will need it.
Among those proverbial trials clouding the horizon is redistricting. The potential for great turnover in the state legislature is a possibility. Can we elect men and women who understand and support transportation needs? Can we raise sufficient PAC funds to support the right direction for the state? Can we compel this new legislature to address long term transportation funding? Will the politics of Texas and the nation allow for robust public funding? I say “yes!” The shift in political winds has caused a significant amount of turbulence on the horizon. We will be forced to reframe our transportation advocacy message, but we are ready, willing, and able.
Inevitably, the evolving transportation policy has caused numerous changes at TxDOT, which will force us to adapt to new customer demands. Department structure, positions, personnel, and business practices will continue to evolve. Past perspectives are being questioned, obliging us to reevaluate our definition of success. Together, we contractors need to worry about how to make these revisions work for the industry, and how to continue to be engaged in the process with guidance and counsel.
A fundamental opportunity is upon us with the initiation of TxDOT’s Standard Specification book rewrite. The rewriting process will be different, and the new specifications have the potential to be significantly different. AGC will be there to ensure the “Maroon Book” will work even better for the industry and for our partnering initiatives.
Albert Einstein once said, “It is the duty of every citizen according to his best capabilities to give validity to his convictions in political affairs.” As an industry, we subsist with the intent to flourish on public spending programs. How can we afford NOT to be political? Our work is never done. Opportunity for involvement has never been greater. If one or more of these issues strikes close to your passion, there's a spot for you at the table. The industry needs AGC, and AGC needs you!