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AGC Tackles Wide-Ranging Issues During Monterey Meeting, Conference

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AGC of California held its annual spring state and division board meetings and conference last week at the Monterey Plaza Hotel in Monterey. More than 150 AGC members and guests from across the state were in attendance.

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Matt Schmitz, special assistant to the division administrator at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), addressed the AGC Joint Engineering Division. Pictured to his right are division leadership including Director Sam Hassoun, AGC; Chair Jim Troup, Monterey Mechanical Co., and Vice Chair Clint Larison, Reyes Construction, Inc.
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The two AGC division boards of directors tackled a range of topics during their quarterly meetings. During a combined session, the divisions heard an update on the new Storm Water Permit and its impacts to contractors from Mark Grey, PhD, consultant to the Construction Industry Coalition on Water Quality (CICWQ), and Steve Blois, Ventura County Water Board member. Jerry Shupe, Director of Safety& Health for Hensel Phelps Construction Company, gave a presentation on achieving safety excellence.

During the joint engineering session that followed, speaker Matt Schmitz, special assistant to the division administrator at the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), gave a presentation on FHWA’s “Every Day Counts” initiative. AGC CEO Tom Holsman, IR Director Sean O’Donoghue and Rocky Miller, partner with Cox, Castle & Nicholson LLP gave an update on the union pension plan funding liability and FASB regulation. The project team for the Oakland Touchdown project from MCM Construction and Caltrans was also on hand to discuss the benefits of partnering on projects such as theirs.

The building division’s meeting included an address by Paul Coleman, deputy director of the Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development (OSHPD), who discussed OSHPD work under construction and various other issues relating to OSHPD approvals and review of projects. Advocate Dave Ackerman, DGA Associates, provided an update on current legislation that AGC is following closely.

AGC’s state board of directors covered a variety of business issues during its meeting. AGC of America Chief Economist Ken Simonson addressed the Board via a remote Skype-enabled presentation, discussing the outlook for construction, trends in various construction sectors, construction materials and where the jobs are coming back. He reported that the economy is going reasonably well and that there have been 15 months of private sector job increases. Loans for investors continue to be tight, and state and local spending is still down. Simonson also discussed how construction employment has seen a three month gain, leading to the hope that construction is on the rise and that the long economic decline has flattened out.

Keynote speaker Steve Sandherr, CEO at AGC of America, discussed activities in Washington, D.C., noting that congress is consumed with budget discussions. He pointed out the importance of infrastructure to the national economy and outlined AGC’s efforts to help produce a permanent Highway Trust Fund bill. He highlighted several other areas in which AGC is focusing its efforts at a national level, including a concentrated effort to combat the federal 3% withholding requirement on businesses under the Independent Contractors Withholding Proposal.

Just a few of the additional new business efforts and initiatives that were highlighted during AGC’s Spring Board of Directors meeting included:

The board approved a new mission statement that embodies AGC’s services while highlighting the association as an industry leader.

AGC’s Education Foundation has teamed up with ACE Mentor Program in California (ACE), and the two organizations will produce new joint programs and initiatives designed to foster workforce development.

AGC of California Senior Vice President John Nunan, representing AGC’s Marketing Task Force, discussed the launch of AGC’s new Facebook page in an effort to extend the realm of communication within the association and to the greater community. The page can be found at www.facebook.com/AGCC.

AGC Legislative Advocate Dave Ackerman reported on a number of legislative issues, including the Independent Contractors Withholding Proposal; the lack of current bond sales to fund infrastructure investment in the state; and positive news regarding AGC’s success helping to pass AB 105, the transportation trailer bill that included the Gas Tax Swap clean-up which was signed by Governor Brown in March. Without this bill, revenues from the "new" Highway Users Tax Account (HUTA) would have been in jeopardy beginning in November 2011.

Several AGC committees and councils also held their business meetings. A professional development luncheon following the state board meeting featured guest speaker, retired U.S. Navy Captain Dwight LaMont, who discussed his various experiences in the Navy and the journey to becoming a Navy captain.

Following the two days of business meetings, AGC held its annual spring conference, which included a host of networking and recreational opportunities, among them golf and croquet tournaments as well as a “Pirates of Monterey Bay” dinner and closing reception. The events served to reinforce the value of building professional relationships with industry colleagues and emphasized 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 2011 and beyond at the local, regional, state and national levels. The association will hold its annual Fall Conference and Meetings in Indian Wells Oct. 26-28, 2011.

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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