From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short
From the Desk of Executive Director Bryon Short - September 29, 2023
Each September our national association, Associated General Contractors of America, hosts a short conference for chapter board leaders and people serving in my role. This is DCA’s third year attending the conference and I was accompanied by DCA Senior Vice President, Steve Dennis, Schlosser and Associates, last week for a couple of days in Washington, DCA.
AGC of America has essentially the same three-legged stool as DCA. It provides advocacy on behalf of the construction industry at the federal level, has education and training resources for your field and office staff and it has networking opportunities like the conference we attended. AGC provides a lot of benefits to me as I work to identify trends and best practices in other state chapters. As an example, as Delaware considered legalizing recreational cannabis, I contacted each of my counterparts in states that had already legalized recreational cannabis to gain insights into how best to protect our members as employers.
Over the summer, AGC’s government relations team spoke with 30 chapter members to learn what is happening in their state legislatures. Before assuming my role as Executive Director of DCA, I often thought initiatives in Legislative Hall were generated by local constituencies. I’ve since found that a number of construction labor related initiatives are national efforts to replicate legislative language in numerous states. So, part of the focus of AGC’s state chapter interviews this summer was to look for trends and to see where initiatives are gaining momentum. Another aspect of this exchange was to identify unique legislative or regulatory success stories achieved by chapters.
As an add-on to the leadership conference, a one-day session was held for those of us who lead the government advocacy work of our chapters. AGC put together a list of the good, the bad and the ugly based upon their interviews for a roundtable discussion. Issues for discussion ran from childcare assistance (AGC of Washington) to Work Zone enforcement (AGC of New York) to exempting overtime pay (AGC of Alabama). Initiatives that were blocked ranged from E-verify requirements (AGC of Montana) to reducing unemployment benefits impacting seasonal construction (AGC of Idaho). There was lots of discussion regarding an initiative by the manufacturing industry to allow teenagers as young as 16 to work. For some reason the bill’s proponents wanted to drag construction into the measure even though AGC of Oklahoma opposed it. I shared an update regarding Delaware’s recently signed off-site prevailing wage law which is being introduced in other states as well.
On a positive note, the others in attendance liked the format of the legislative status report I link in the Punchlist during the General Assembly session. I was asked to share information about our Young Executive Committee-Young Legislator Breakfast which other states are interested in replicating.
Just as I work to stay on top of all the state legislation and county ordinances happening here in Delaware, AGC of America does that for us in Congress. Just as our diverse membership can have differing views on measures, AGC of America has a similar diverse membership comprised of both open shop and union contractors making the work particularly challenging. Chapters are independent when it comes to advocacy and can determine which federal issues it wishes to weigh in on. There have been a number of AGC of America letters to congress and regulatory agencies that reflect the interests of our membership which I have signed onto on our members behalf. I do not sign onto AGC of America initiatives that have divergent views among our membership, but it’s critical that AGC of America is getting the details to us and ensuring we are informed of what congress is up to.
Many chapters pass on the cost of AGC of America membership to their members. DCA does not do that. As a part of your membership in DCA you are an AGC of America member; DCA pays the membership for you. It is my hope that you take full advantage of this membership whether that be by participating in AGC of America’s Action Alert notices regarding legislation and regulation at the federal level or online educational programs from construction leadership courses to BIM. There are also a host of discounts by retailers and service providers that AGC members are eligible for. All the benefits and resources AGC of America membership offers can be found here.
If you have any questions regarding what AGC of America has to offer you as a member, please do not hesitate to contact us.