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AGC Tackles Wide Ranging Issues at Spring Conference in Monterey

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California politics, jobs, unfunded pensions and cyber crimes were some of the subjects covered in the Associated General Contractors of California’s annual spring state and division board meetings and conference earlier this month at the Monterey Plaza Hotel in Monterey.

In the Joint Engineering session, speaker Andre Boutros, chief deputy director of the California Transportation Commission, gave an overview of the CTC and its outlook for transportation projects.
Photo by Carol Eaton
In the Joint Engineering session, speaker Andre Boutros, chief deputy director of the California Transportation Commission, gave an overview of the CTC and its outlook for transportation projects.
Keynote speaker and political analyst Gary Dietrich discussed what’s going on in California politics
Photo by Carol Eaton
Keynote speaker and political analyst Gary Dietrich discussed what’s going on in California politics.
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Several AGC committees and councils held business meetings, and a professional development luncheon featured guest speaker Michael Menz, founding member of the Sacramento Valley Hi-Tech Crime Task Force. The task force was used as a model for the FBI Cyber Crime Task Force as well as other state, county and local task forces. Menz discussed and demonstrated the wide variety of ways that high-tech crime can impact construction businesses and individuals.

The two AGC division boards of directors tackled a range of topics during their quarterly meetings May 13. In the Joint Engineering session, speaker Andre Boutros, chief deputy director of the California Transportation Commission, gave an overview of the CTC and its outlook for transportation projects.

Division Chair John Douglas, Granite Construction Company, led a discussion on Caltrans and the UDBE/DVBE issues. Clark Construction’s Safety Director Corey Ward gave a presentation to both the Joint Engineering and the Building Divisions on the cost of safety and the importance of an effective safety program.

The Building Division’s meeting included a discussion on the current state of unions and their unfunded pension liabilities. The current economic climate has put defined benefit plans into trouble, and AGC’s CEO Tom Holsman and Director of Industrial Relations-North Sean O’Donoghue outlined the issues in presentations to both divisions. Another presentation by Rosendin Electric officials discussed alternative energy and how cutting-edge solar and wind applications are gaining market share.

A general session involving both the Building and Joint Engineering Divisions included an update by Dan McGrew, Griffith Co., on the new general water permit slated to go into effect with the next rainy season.

Additional highlights included an update by AGC’s John Hakel on CARB issues; a presentation by Leonard Dean, Dean Bennett Insurance & Financial Services, Inc., on the California Disabled Veteran Business Enterprise program requirements; and a legislative update by AGC advocate Jamie Khan. AGC’s State Board of Directors covered a variety of business issues during their meeting.

Keynote speaker and political analyst Gary Dietrich discussed what’s going on in California politics and outlined three major trends that he sees: increased citizen involvement and voter interaction, shifting of fiscal tectonic plates via increased bond initiatives, and the elimination of a dominant party due to the lack of public trust. He stressed the importance of bringing back hope into the political systems.

Also during the State Board of Directors meeting, AGC of America Sr. Vice President Kris Young spoke and highlighted national activities. Areas that National AGC is monitoring include economic conditions impacting construction employment, the CARB issue, the Employee Free Choice Act (card check), healthcare reform, green construction, and the highway transportation bill, among other things.

AGC of California Legislative Committee Chair Steve Blois provided an update on the status of AGC’s 2010 legislative program, which includes a total of eight AGC sponsored or co-sponsored bills. The board also held a lively discussion on the DBE/DVBE requirements and AGC sponsored legislation regarding those requirements, with directors ultimately deciding to amend sponsored legislation to focus on false fronts used to meet the DBE requirement.

Following the two days of business meetings, AGC switched over to networking and recreational opportunities, including golf, croquet and kayaking as well as a closing reception and dinner. The events served to reinforce the value of building professional relationships with industry colleagues and emphasize AGC’s motto that “It is Good Business to do Business with an AGC member.”

AGC of California and its districts plan a variety of meetings, events and educational forums during the remainder of 2010 and beyond at the local, regional, state and national levels. On the near horizon, AGC will hold its annual Legislative Day on June 23 in Sacramento, where a host of legislative leaders are on tap to speak. AGC members will then proceed to the capitol to lobby their legislators on critical industry issues. AGC of California will hold its Fall Conference and Meetings in Indian Wells Nov. 3-5.

This year, the annual AGC of California Safety Awards of Excellence will be held in conjunction with the fall meetings.

For more information on these or any other AGC events, visit AGC’s website at www.agc-ca.org or call AGC at (916) 371-2422.

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