For Every Successful Contractor, There was Someone Older and Wiser Explaining the Rules

Written by  Jeff Smith

The Bryan area meetings typically have a pretty short agenda. I consider this a good problem. To me, it is indicative of the great working relationship with our area TxDOT partners. It means contractors tend to take care of their issues on the spot, as opposed to kicking it up it up the organizational chart until someone has the authority to address it.

Bryan District Engineer Catherine Hejl is a solid gold, A-plus partner here. Perhaps it is her prior experience as Maintenance Director of this area. Regardless, she is smart, capable, and wellinformed. The forecasts under her leadership are very detailed. And she is consistently able to tell you exactly what is happening with every job. With leadership like this, it’s only natural that there is a good retention of quality personnel in the district. That is certainly the case in Aggie Land.

The Bryan District has some good projects coming up, especially with all the construction needed around Texas A&M. But as it is elsewhere, the top three issues in our district are funding, funding, and funding. The Bryan District distinguishes itself from other districts in our state because it benefits from having strong sources of local aggregate as well as materials shipped by rail, which helps keep costs down and funding going towards future projects.

For those “other projects,” we have some good, healthy competition. Knife River, A.L. Helmcamp, Big Creek, and Glenn Fuqua, Inc among the resident contractor base here, we have a good team of associates working together for our industry and our partnership with the department.

For the rest of this year, my goal is to meet as many people who do business in this district as possible. A.P. Boyd has made a commitment to increasing membership in this area—especially the younger personnel with general members and by bringing back former members who strayed off of the AGC path. Personally, I have been very appreciative of the manner in which technology has sped up the process by which information is transferred between contractors, departments, and the traveling public. And as much as it’s helped me, there are thousands of people all over the country working on making it even faster and easier. Make no mistake, this technology will increase involvement with the next generation.

The production of “The Cost of DOING NOTHING” by the AGC, verified and supported by our partners at TxDot, gives our Industry another method to educate the taxpayers on the importance of the Transportation Industry. With that new involvement, however, it’s more important than ever to make sure the current industry leaders are on hand to teach the younger generations what they need to do in order to survive, and what they need to do in order to maintain this almost century-old institution we work so hard to preserve. We have all been fortunate enough to learn from our contractor compatriots, as well as our fellow TxDOT personnel. We must pass it forward so we can get as much from AGC as we do now to keep our area on the right path.

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