We Did It Again- AGC/VT Recieves National Honors- The J Howard Mock Award
For achieving greates percent increase in membership nationally
Sunday, September 25, 2022
Section: AGC/VT News

people on stage with award
Well.... We did it again. But really we all did it again. This week AGC/VT President Chris Magnan, Vice President Ken Pidgeon, EVP Richard Wobby and Matt Musgrave descended on Washington DC to accept the J Howard Mock Award at the AGC of America, National Chapter Leadership Conference. This coveted award which includes chapters of all sizes recognizes the largest percentage of growth in a chapter. This incredible honor is due to the atmosphere, comradery and engagement our members share across our industry. The award ceremony took place atop the National Spy Museum overlooking the National Mall. It was truly a moment to remember and we encourage members to attend these national events. The event was more than accepting an award, it also included three days of classes, engagement with other chapters and our annual trip to capital hill.

The session opened with AGC of America, President, Dan Fordice who gave an introspective speech about how he had grown up in the AGC culture. The son of a general contractor, former AGC of America President and former Governor, Dan encouraged the crowd about the engagement culture and true meaning of belonging. He also took time to acknowledge we are living a time like no other, and our bonds between our chapters and industry will keep us strong. He spoke highly of participating in AGC committees, contributing to the political action committees and working closely with your chapters to keep contractors ahead of trends in the state and nationally.

AGC of America, CEO Steve Sandherr gave the "state of the association" talk immediately after Dan Fordice. This was an uplifting speech about the huge successes the association has achieved over the past year. He described the inner workings of the AGC organization, detailed budget information and outlook for the future of membership. He also spent some time talking about the advocacy endeavors including the Inflation Reduction Act, President Bidens executive orders, climate regulations, proposed rules related to labor and new OSHA heat mandates. He explained the judicial advocacy that the association has endured including vaccination mandates, "right to control" cases, and the Waters of the US policies. Behind the advocacy he described was the AGC Construction Advocacy Fund (CAF) and asked that members consider contributing as it is the means to the advocacy efforts. He spent a significant amount of time explaining the associations workforce development efforts and diversity, equity and inclusion efforts. Finally he applauded the efforts local and state chapters make to communicate, contribute and assist each other. 

Following Sandherr there was two full days of breakout session that included topics like price escalations, climate policy, mental health, association leadership and how to move from the "now" to the "next" in growth of your chapters. Monday also included a detailed government affairs breakout describing the advocacy efforts that Sandherr outlined and prepared members staying Tuesday for their hill visits with their Congress members.

Matt Musgrave and Ken Pidgeon stayed on Tuesday to head up the hill to meet their members of Congress. Rather than taking an Uber or taxi like most did, they continued an AGC/VT tradition of taking advantage of one of the best local options for transportation. Dawning their rideshare electric and pedal bikes Ken and Matt took a full tour of downtown DC and the National Mall and Monuments. They were able to see the entire mall in about 2 hours which generally is more than a days effort on foot. 

They then went to the Congressional office buildings to meet with Congressman Peter Welch and Senator Patrick Leahys Chief of Staff. At these meetings they discussed three topics that all AGC members brought to lobby our leaders to improve our industry.

The first topic was workforce development. Ken and Matt presented our representatives with details about post secondary education funding. It showed that more than 3/4s of the funds spent by the Federal government for post secondary was to four year colleges while less than 1/4 was spent on CTE and Career Trades programs. The ask was easy: would the government invest more money into training the next generation of tradespeople so we can keep up with the demands required to not only keep our roads and bridges safe, but to transition to the climate goals set out by the administration that relies heavily on electrical capacity.

Next, they discussed the proposed OSHA national heat standard which would create mandates any time the temperature rose above 80f degrees. The argument was very basic and called out the fact that the General Duty clause would be the logical answer to dealing with heat stress. The point was made that a one size fits all method simply wouldnt work with the different applications contractors deal with. They also pointed out that there were other factors that were not considered and holding states like Vermont to the same states with actual deserts was curious. 

The last topic for discussion was a President Biden executive order to require Project Labor Agreements for any Federal projects valued at $35 million or more. The AGC/VT members acknowledged that it would be an extremely rare occasion that a $35 million project would hit Vermont, but were quick to point out the fact that either inflation or a change in the threshold value could immediately cause challenges to the relationships Vermont contractors employees enjoy with their owners. Ken Pidgeon, President of Engineers Construction was quick to point out the importance of that relationship between their staff. He explained its much too competitive of an environment to forget about those relationships. The groups discussed legislation being debated to override the order.

As it is every year the AGC of America, National Chapter Leadership Conference did not disappoint. From enjoying rooftop receptions overlooking the city, to learning critical best practices to improve our chapters this event is one that you should make a point to visit. Reach out to your AGC/VT staff or board members for more info!
three people in front of capital