What Have We Done for You Lately

By Dave Simpson, Carolinas AGC President & CEO  
Quarter 1 Report - 2024
Dave Simpson, CAGC President & CEO

Good times are here in 2024 for Carolinas AGC – as our scope of work widens.

Here’s why:

We’re kicking things off with a record-setting 500 registrants for our CAGC Winter Convention in St. Thomas, expecting 850 attendees for our Summer Summit & Expo in Myrtle Beach and looking for the largest turnout ever for our Young Leader Conference in Greenville, SC – while also surpassing the 300-member Young Leader mark for the first time ever.

That’s just the big stuff.

As always, we’ll have 100+ CAGC meetings this year throughout the Carolinas, including our 2024 HR and Safety Conference at the beach, Connect networking events, tech workshops, education and training offerings, two clay shoots, a golf tournament,the always popular Donuts with Contractors and our biannual CAGC/NCDOT Winter Workshops – most of which will sell out fast.

Elsewhere:

Safety, CAGC’s Top Priority:

  • Our Berry Jenkins Memorial Work Zone Safety Fund is up and running to raise money to assist the families of employees of construction companies in NC or SC who die or are severely injured in construction accidents. We have already received a major contribution of $150,000. The fund was established in honor of the late, great Berry Jenkins, who served for 22 years as CAGC’s NC Heavy-Highway/Government Relations Director before retiring in 2019. Any company or individual is eligible to contribute to the Fund.
  • In addition, in the State Legislatures in Raleigh and Columbia, we’ll be working on legislation that will promote construction safety, including work zone safety training for teens as a condition of receiving their driver’s license. We’ll continue to work with NC DOT to fully implement Blue Light Trailer Deployment in work zones.

New Programs & Services:

  • On January 1st, we launched our CAGC Health Care Plan, which is generating great interest in both states, including several members of our CAGC Board of Directors and Board of Trustees already signing up for the new service.
  • Other programs we’re cranking up in 2024 include a Council on Women in Construction (with female and male co-chairs), an Annual Spring Leadership Retreat for young and veteran CAGC members, and a CAGC Apparel Shop. To assist with the issue of mental health awareness, CAGC also has begun in 2024 a new partnership designed to help with suicide prevention, a key issue in the construction industry.

Other efforts underway include:

Workforce Shortage:

  • Our Be Pro Be Proud SC truck received $500,000 dollars from the SC General Assembly last year and this amount will be a recurring line item in subsequent years. Our BPBP trucks are rolling in NC as well, with funding approved by NC lawmakers, to promote construction careers on these mobile platforms while visiting thousands of students in both Carolinas.
  • Our Construction Business Academy will continue regional Academies with the first one this year in eastern NC (Goldsboro) and then returning to Charlotte with SC businesses near Charlotte also invited to participate. In the latter 2024, we will offer an intensive statewide academy that will meet twice for a couple of days for those who want to complete the academy faster.
  • CAGC Construction Bootcamps will be expanded from 9 to14 community colleges in NC this year. We’ll be creating a registry of businesses that want to be involved with and recruit from the bootcamps, and CAGC will serve as the sponsor for those businesses that want to offer apprenticeships.
  • We are supporting $95 million to continue investing funds to SC Workforce Industry Needs Scholarships (SC WINS) through the SC Technical College System. During the last three years, over 32,000 South Carolinians have taken advantage of the program, with scholarships covering the cost of tuition and required fees at any of our technical colleges to earn a post-secondary or industry credential in high-demand careers such as manufacturing, nursing, computer science, information technology, transportation, logistics and construction.
  • The Council on Women in Construction will be working on specific recruitment strategies and outreach to schools and colleges to encourage more women to enter the construction industry.

Education & Training Opportunities Include:

  • Spanish-Speaking-Only Safety Classes
  • Two New Webinars:
    • Reasonable Suspicion Supervisor which helps the supervisor recognize the signs of substance abuse/use in the workplace and how to confront and document accurately.
    • Presenters: Enhance Your Skills will offer a 7-step process that can be done before, during and after each meeting to ensure that maximum value is delivered to participants.
  • CAGC’s Learning Management System is ready for those who want on-demand training.
  • We offer Private Training & a Training Concierge Service where we can help you locate hard to find training opportunities.
  • In all, we are offering over 100+ training opportunities in 2024.

Government Relations:

  • As noted above, we will work to pass legislation that will require all teen drivers to pass a work zone safety class before they can obtain a driver's license in either Carolinas.
  • In addition to pushing for infrastructure needs, such as the proposed $500 million bridge replacement and repair in SC, we will try to secure $7.3 million approved by the NC House last year for construction training expansion through our CAGC Foundation.
  • Tort Reform: Current South Carolina law can leave a defendant on the hook for all damages in a lawsuit regardless of their percentage of fault. This system adversely impacts businesses - including small businesses that cannot survive a hefty lawsuit - leading to increased premiums, reduced availability of insurance coverage, and a target on entities that are perceived as having “deep pockets.” S. 533, titled The South Carolina Justice Act, modernizes the way SC’s liability laws work to ensure businesses are only responsible for paying damages equivalent to their share of fault in civil lawsuits. The bill, which Carolinas AGC is helping lead efforts on, is critical to ensuring that South Carolina remains competitive in recruiting and retaining job creators in the state while continuing to protect injured South Carolinians.
  • We’ll work with NCDOT and the legislature to pass legislation to allow Progressive Design-Build to be used on 5 projects and to increase the number of Construction Manager General Contractor jobs that can be performed.
  • Our legislative efforts and Political Action Committees in both states will be enhanced with the addition of the NC and SC Construction Advocacy Fund that can accept contributions from companies to expand markets for contractors through research and lobbying, protect the industry from regulatory overreach through litigation, and advocate for the industry by financing critical advocacy campaigns that influence policy decisions.
  • Through our AGCA & ARTBA partnerships, we regularly provide legislative alerts on such issues as opposition to proposed diversion of highway-funding, and other construction funding, for non-construction purposes as well as mandatory Project Labor Agreements.

Membership:

With the popularity of our CAGC Health Plan and other expanding value we bring to our members, we expect to increase our membership to 850 member companies in 2024. This comes at a time when we already are one of the largest of the 89 AGC chapters in the nation. Last year, we reached 804 member companies – our highest count since 2017, with 140+ new members added in 2023. We’re already starting out strong in 2024 with new members.

Young Leaders:

Our CAGC Young Leader program last year grew to almost 300 members. This year, we are shooting for 325 members and 500 attendees at the annual conference in the fall.

Construction Technology Workshops:

With the success of our ½ day workshops called CAGC TechTalk, the CAGC Technology series is expanding our in-person technology workshops to both North and South Carolina in 2024. We’ll host the South Carolina workshop on March 21st at Clemson University, and in the Triangle area of North Carolina (location to be determined) on August 29th. Our construction technology forum meets quarterly via Zoom, and the agenda is shaped by the active participation of forum members.

Marketing:

We are increasing our marketing efforts in 2024 by implementing new digital marketing strategies to grow our attendance at events, attract new members and inform the community about our workforce development opportunities such as the Construction Business Academies and Construction Bootcamps. We will also be adding a new email marketing strategy to our Construction Bootcamp marketing plan and a new microsite for our Construction Business Academy.

Outstanding CAGC Board of Directors and Board of Trustees Leadership:

Finally, we have an excellent CAGC Board of Directors and a Board of Trustees in 2024 to make sure we pull off what we hope to achieve, led by CAGC BOD Chair Dean Wilson and BOT Chair Edison Cassels.


Dave Simpson, CAE, CAGC President & CEO, who has been with the association since April 1989, can be reached at
dsimpson@carolinasagc.org.