BY BOB LANHAM
The U.S. Army paid for my college education in exchange for eight years of my life. From my years of service, I can tell you that AGC of America is a lot like an army. Just like the army, AGC defends us from outside threats. To succeed in its mission, the army relies on its organizational structure with each part operating at peak performance. AGC similarly has an institutional structure. We have local chapters comprised of individual member firms. When our chapters succeed, AGC succeeds.
Like any good army, AGC needs resources to continue its great work. In the association world, resources mean three things: time, talent and treasure. AGC not only needs your financial support but it needs YOU. AGC needs the devotion of your time, your experience and your expertise as we confront the battles ahead. Every member can contribute to keeping AGC the best that it can be so that it remains The Construction Association. All you have to do is attend events like our Annual Convention, encourage your staff to get involved in key association working groups, and contribute to things like our PAC, our Advocacy Fund, our Foundation and AGC Charities. That is why I am making my theme for my tenure as your president: Engage Today for a Better Tomorrow.
Our industry needs us to get engaged in AGC because there are nationwide issues that threaten our viability and profitability. These challenges include regulatory burdens, aging and overburdened infrastructure, workforce shortages and the need to keep our workforce healthy and safe. No single firm can overcome these challenges on their own. But united and engaged through AGC, we can be victorious.
All our battles are not national in scope. There are plenty of state and local issues that impact our businesses, which is why it is so important for members to engage not just with AGC of America, but also with their local chapters. Get involved in those statewide infrastructure funding efforts. Push back against harebrained new state and local laws. Fight for local measures to encourage more young adults to pursue high-paying construction careers.
Many like me have benefitted from their time in the service. Engaging with AGC brings significant professional and personal benefits as well. By getting involved, you get the opportunity to learn from people who have dealt with the same problems you are facing. You also get to know people you can call on for help and advice for the rest of your career.
Being engaged also helps you hone your leadership skills as you learn how to work with other people on sometimes contentious policy issues. You will build life-long friendships that enrich your days and make our time engaged with AGC a lot more fun. The biggest benefit of getting engaged with AGC is that you become part of something that is bigger than oneself. You are making the industry you love a better, safer and more prosperous place. So, my challenge to all of you is to make a commitment to engage with your construction association. Attend AGC events and conferences. Encourage your staff — and yourselves — to get involved in key AGC working groups and task forces. And contribute to the AGC causes that are so important to our present success, our local communities and our future vitality. Engage today for a better tomorrow. If you don’t do it, who will?