Along with all of our AGC partners, AGC NYS staff has been working around the clock to serve our members in this time of national crisis, one which so far is hitting New York much harder than any other state.
While clear, concise information has at times been a challenge to come by, what started as the AGC NYS COVID-19 Resources Page (www.agcnys.org/coronavirus) has grown into an efficient and frequently updated home for all of our members’ needs. With circumstances changing sometimes hourly, members have been kept up to date and educated through webinars and other materials.
Our Board of Directors and Building and Highway Boards of Governors have been meeting weekly via videoconference to share the latest information with our leadership. These meetings have each been attended by more than 100 members. Our staff has been working remotely since mid-March.
AGC NYS has been working diligently to partner with our state agencies and other industry partners to maintain open communication, both to advise the members of timely guidance issued by and to the state agencies and to keep them informed of what we are seeing real-time in the industry. AGC NYS is working where we can to assist in accelerating certain projects where it makes sense and to address workforce shortage and material supply chain issues in other locations.
AGC NYS safety staff assisted our membership by developing Toolbox Talks, safety posters, as well as associated safety and health programs related to COVID-19. Information produced by AGC NYS was also made available to non-members in an effort to assist all construction personnel as they take steps to protect their workforce and families. AGC NYS Upstate and NYC safety committee members were also instrumental in assisting the general membership by sharing COVID-19 safety related materials developed by their respective firms. The safety staff provided info from and links to CDC- and OSHA-related documents and safety protocols from public agencies. All items were posted on our dedicated coronavirus webpage. AGC NYS is fortunate to have member firms that employee exceptional safety personnel that rallied together in information sharing. Aside from the safety and health products and resources developed by the association, AGC NYS safety staff continued to provide support to our members through site inspections as many contractors continued work on essential projects.
AGC NYS has run several webinars for the its members. The first webinar was on the Governor’s Executive Orders and Sick and Paid Family Leave done with the assistance of Jimmy Christianson of AGC of America. Close to 400 participants viewed that webinar live. The second webinar was titled COVID-19 Insurance, Bonding and Workers Compensation Ramifications which had 283 attendees. Nearly 400 joined a webinar on the evolving definition of “essential construction.” Another on contract issues in the COVID-19 world has close to 500 registrants as we write. These were the most widely attended webinars the AGC NYS has ever held. AGC NYS has continued producing quality webinar content relative to New York State-specific Executive Orders and leave questions.
In a true testament to the AGC community, an AGC NYS member with offices in Texas had questions regarding their project in Austin, Texas. They believed it was essential but needed some local/regional feedback. President & CEO of the Austin AGC chapter, Phil Thoden, provided assistance within minutes. AGC NYS has been sharing information and resources with other chapters — and benefiting from information and resources shared by other chapters.
AGC NYS Government Affairs continues to be a key asset for business owners during the COVID-19 crisis. Because of the rapidly changing laws, regulations, and guidance from federal, state and local governments, there is a tremendous administrative burden and legal liability for employers and employees. AGC NYS continues to play a key role in advocating for the industry through an exchange of information with the governor’s office, state agencies and regulators to help us and our businesses traverse the rapidly changing environment. In the coming weeks and months, AGC NYS will continue assisting businesses to navigate new laws and requirements, while advocating for a significant package from the government to help spur a rapid recovery.
AGC members across New York have also been answering the call to help our state meet this unprecedented challenge. They have donated thousands and thousands of N95 masks and other PPE to healthcare providers across the state. They are also mobilizing to help New York state and the Army Corps of Engineers build or retrofit emergency excess healthcare and hospital capacity for COVID-19 victims, particularly at this point in and around New York City, which has been the hardest hit area in the nation.
AGC NYS President and CEO Mike Elmendorf said, “I could not be more proud of how our staff has risen to the occasion to be there as an invaluable resource for our members during these extraordinarily difficult times. The level of communication and questions we have received from members is unlike anything I’ve seen in my nearly 10 years at AGC NYS, and the feedback we have gotten has been universally positive, including from members we rarely hear from. We have made resources available to non-members as well, as a service to the industry, and a number of firms have expressed their intent to join once we are back on normal footing. On a personal note, I was a member of New York Governor Pataki’s staff on September 11, 2001. I’ve been saying for a while this situation is in so many ways worse. And I never thought I’d experience another moment in my life where I would say or even think that. And I hoped I wouldn’t. But, here we are. Our team at AGC NYS — indeed our chapters across the country — and our industry are doing yeoman’s work to meet this challenge and we are prepared to play our part in driving the recovery that will follow once this crisis has subsided.”