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Updated September 28, 2020

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Series II: Diversity and Inclusion

Sponsored by:
Merit EHS



Produced: July 20, 2020
Guest Speaker:
Brynn Huneke, Director, Diversity & Inclusion, Member Engagement at AGC of America
BuilderCast Series Host:
Betsy Bailey, Director of Government Relations, NC
BuilderCast Co-Host and Producer:
Sharon Walters, Director of Digital Operations

How does someone from a town of 750 people in Minnesota end up working on a Diversity & Inclusion Initiative in Washington DC for a National Construction Trade Association? 

Brynn Huneke moved to DC to pursue a career in politics and began working at AGC in the Government Affairs department. Then, she had an experience on the Metro. Listen to her story, and hear an honest reflection on how she started to question her own biases, educate herself, and then choose a career path to do something about it. 

As Brynn was getting certified in the field of Diversity & Inclusion Management, AGC of America was developing it’s Diversity & Inclusion program and she was a perfect fit for the role. That was 4 years ago and this past March, AGC of America launched it’s Culture of CARE campaign. This initiative began at the chapter level with AGC of Washington. AGC of America was already doing some work on Diversity & Inclusion and teamed up with the Washington State Chapter to create a national campaign. The Culture of CARE campaign asks construction companies to take a pledge to build diverse and inclusive workplaces. Making our workplaces more welcoming and inclusive is good business ethics, good for sustainability and profitability, but additionally attracts talent when workforce shortages demand we bring new individuals into our industry.   

Working through these topics and efforts can be difficult and quite different for companies depending on size and resources available. Brynn notes that AGC of America knows this campaign cannot be stagnant and continues to add tools and training to the Culture of CARE website as an ongoing effort.

“We felt like Culture of CARE had a really unique position to be able to talk about that mental and emotional well-being that comes with caring, truly caring about your employees in the middle of a pandemic and how you support them as individuals whose lives have been up-ended.” 
 --Brynn Huneke on how Culture of CARE can help support individuals and companies dealing with new realities.

Produced: July 13, 2020
Guest Speaker:
Edison Cassels, President & CEO, Edison Foard and Incoming Chair of the City Business Inclusion Advisory Committee (CBIAC)
BuilderCast Series Host:
Betsy Bailey, Director of Government Relations, NC
BuilderCast Co-Host and Producer:
Sharon Walters, Director of Digital Operations

“These are truly unprecedented times… My approach is always just to address something head on. There’s very few conversations I am not willing to have very directly and openly. It’s important that we truly be considerate and consider how co-workers, associates, trade partners, our families are all digesting what’s happening in our world. It’s an uncertain and changing place which can be a little scary, but can also be good.”
Edison Cassels

In this week’s Buildercast, Betsy talks with Edison about communicating to create a more inclusive team environment and how he uncovered blind spots that may not otherwise have been discovered without the need for changes created by COVID-19. New communication strategies that involve all employees at every level have created a feeling of a level playing field, consistency and transparency. Edison is also spending more time really thinking about who is receiving the message and then how best to communicate it.

As a passionate advocate and leader in the community and incoming chair of the City Business Inclusion Advisory Committee, Edison is aware of the impact of COVID-19 on our Minority Businesses. Business have reported struggling during this crisis due to a slow-down of work, lack of financial support and access to assistance. He discusses possible avenues of support during crisis such as short term loans, financial support and access, government entities, private businesses and organizations could act as advocates with the process of getting through crisis. Additionally, continuing education is critical and could be funded by public-private partnerships.

And finally, Edison brings such honesty and thoughtfulness to the conversation about diversity and inclusion as a strategic cornerstone of their business. They are working very hard on this goal and strongly believe that leaders of organizations must set the tone through words and actions and really believe in the mission and beneficial outcomes. As the CEO of Edison Foard, he shares how he has promoted these efforts within his company and how we might all affect real change through our own commitments to these efforts of succeeding together.


Produced: July 6, 2020
Guest Speaker:
Patrice Gilmore, National Supplier Diversity Lead for DPR Construction and President of United Minority Contractors of North Carolina
BuilderCast Series Host:
Betsy Bailey, Director of Government Relations, NC
BuilderCast Co-Host and Producer:
Sharon Walters, Director of Digital Operations

Betsy talks to Patrice about her early fascination with all things "building" as a young girl, her parents confusion (and some concern) with her interest in this field, and discovering the Construction Management education path while attending North Carolina A & T University. 

Patrice discusses what connections and relationships can do to grow and strengthen minority-owned businesses. She talks about the importance of establishing those relationships now to prepare businesses to respond to crisis like COVID-19 in the future. 

Finally, we asked her advice on what our organizations can do to be a positive influence on diversity and inclusion in the industry. She discusses the opportunities for our organizations and member companies to work together in mentoring relationships- strengthening their firms, as well as the industry. 

Patrice on "the why" to implement diversity and inclusion in your firm - "Do it because you really want to do it for the right reasons, that you want to make investments in people, and help them be better and do better. That's a good reason why."  


Produced: June 22, 2020

Guest Speaker: Johnny Ortiz, Regional Vendor Diversity Manager, Skanska USA
BuilderCast Series Host:
Betsy Bailey, Director of Government Relations, NC
BuilderCast Co-Host and Producer:
Sharon Walters, Director of Digital Operations

Buildercast is back for our 2nd week diving in with our excellent Member Talk panel on ensuring inclusive workplaces and safety strategy communications. Johnny Ortiz, Regional Vendor Diversity Manager with Skanska USA is our guest this week and spoke from the heart about his experience in our industry and working now on behalf of small, women and minority owned firms on Skanska projects.

He talks openly with us about his early exposure to the industry, struggles as a young man, and ultimately the path to his fulfilling career in construction. With COVID-19 disproportionately affecting the Hispanic community, we asked Johnny how we can do a better job of communicating safety and health messages, bridge the language barrier and build that base of trust within a community that can sometimes fear speaking out or even seeking medical attention. Finally, Johnny talks with us about making our industry and our companies more diverse and inclusive and it starts by not just “checking the box”, so to speak but being authentic in our efforts. This practice is essential to attracting younger workers into our industry, brings opportunity for all involved and ultimately drives sustainability and profitability.


Produced: June 16, 2020
Guest Speaker:
Lasenta Lewis-Ellis, GC, CM, CQM-C, MAHRD, is the President/CEO of LLE Construction Group, LLC.
BuilderCast Series Host:
Betsy Bailey, Director of Government Relations, NC
BuilderCast Co-Host and Producer:
Sharon Walters, Director of Digital Operations

Carolinas AGC is pleased to present our latest series of BuilderCast. 

Inspired by our Member Talk panelists from June 5th, we asked each individual to join us separately to continue this important conversation around how we can work to ensure inclusive workplaces and improve communications and safety strategies- especially during COVID-19.

Lasenta Lewis-Ellis, President/CEO of LLE Construction Group opened the series with a fantastic interview - and what a pleasure to speak with her again to get more insight from someone that pushed herself to pursue this career and gives back regularly to our industry.

Listen now to hear Lasenta talk more about what diversity and inclusion really means, how to reach out to disproportionately affected minority communities to better communicate safety messages, and how she is mentoring the new generation of women to pursue careers in construction.

Past Podcast Series


Produced: May 4, 2020
Guest Speaker: Dr. Rebecca Battle-Bryant, Ph.D., SHRM-CP, President and Owner, Battle Plan Consulting, LLC
Interviewed by: Tammy Ford, Director, Carolinas AGC Foundation’s “Build Your Career” workforce development initiative


Produced: April 27, 2020

Guest Speaker: Jacob Garmon, Sales Executive for Suppliers and Sponsorships and Chelsea Andujar, Director, Meetings & Events
Interviewed by: Sharon Walters, Director, Digital Strategy & Operations


Produced: April 20, 2020
Guest Speaker: Casey Schwager, Region Manager, Sloan Construction Company
Interviewed by: Leslie Clark, Vice President of Operations, SC Government Relations & Divisions, Carolinas AGC


Produced: April 13, 2020
Guest Speaker: Sonya Conner, VP, RN, BSN, CPHRM, McGriff Insurance Services
Interviewed by: Bill Stricker, CAGC Diector Utility Division & NCCER Administration


Produced: April 6, 2020
Guest Speaker: Charlie Wilson, President & CEO, C.T. Wilson Construction Company, Durham, NC
Interviewed by: Betsy Bailey, CAGC NC Government Relations & Building Division Director


Produced: March 30, 2020
Guest Speaker: Dawn Klug, MS/LCMHC/CEAP, Chief Operating Officer/President, Employee Assistance Network , Asheville, NC
Interviewed by: Betsy Bailey, CAGC NC Government Relations & Building Division Director


Produced: March 24, 2020
Guest Speaker: Tamera Edwards, VP Human Resources, MB Haynes Corporation & Chair of the CAGC Human Resources Committee
Interviewed by: Betsy Bailey, CAGC NC Government Relations & Building Division Director

Member Open Discussions & Webinars

Join live or view recorded Webinars that bring Industry Information directly to you and allow you to interact with our guest speakers.

NEW!  ARTBA: Return to the Office
Wednesday, July 8, 2020 | 1:00 - 2:00 p.m.
Free for ARTBA Members, $99 for nonmembers

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CAGC Member Talk Recording: A Conversation with CAGC Leadership about Planning for the Future

Recorded September 25, 2020


During this CAGC Member Talk, the discussion included a general status update on jobs, a project pipeline discussion and a discussion on preparedness/flexibility for possible COVID-19 recurrence.

View Recording   

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CAGC Member Talk Recording: Ask the Young Leader

Recorded June 25, 2020


During this CAGC Member Talk, our CAGC Young Leader Members gave us their perspectives on the current challenges, the future of our industry, and the new "normal" going forward.  

View Recording   

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CAGC Member Talk Recording: Construction Cares: Ensuring an Inclusive Workplace for Strong Safety and Communications Efforts

Recorded June 5, 2020


Panelists and members had a frank discussion about ways to improve construction safety at a time when minorities, particularly Hispanics, are experiencing relatively high rates of COVID-19. Our panel discussion, moderated by Dave Simpson, CAGC President & CEO, looked at ways to ensure strong communications throughout the construction industry ranks including a nationwide campaign headed by AGC of America to promote diversity and inclusion.  

View Recording   

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CAGC Member Talk Recording: Business Office Reopening

Recorded May 15, 2020

CAGC Leadership from NC and SC members discussed their current plans for reopening their business offices and offered helpful resources, policies, procedures and efficiencies that have worked for them. Members are encouraged to watch the recording and to join us for our next event live. 

View Recording  

Please note: this is a members only event. Your CAGC username and password.

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CAGC Member Talk Recording: A Conversation with CAGC Leadership About Planning for the Future

Recorded May 1, 2020

Carolinas AGC leadership hosted an open discussion about planning for the future. Leadership panel included: Casey Schwager, Region Manager, Sloan Construction Company; Charlie Wilson, President, CT Wilson Construction; Mark Johnnie, VP & SE Region Manager, Balfour Beatty; Dean Wilson, Vice President of Construction Management, Hood Construction Company, Inc.; Ron Brown, President, State Utility Contractors, Inc.; Dave Simpson, CEO Carolinas AGC, Inc.

View Recording

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Carolinas AGC Utility Division Roundtable Discussion - COVID-19

Recorded Thursday, April 22, 2020

Carolinas AGC's Bill Stricker hosted a discussion on COVID-19 for the CAGC Utility Division on Wednesday April 22, 2020 for CAGC members-only.

View Recording

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CAGC Member Talk Recording: Discussion & Q/A on the Tough Issues Facing the Construction Industry During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Recorded Thursday, April 17, 2020

Carolinas AGC hosted this open discussion, led by Lynn Hansen, President of Crowder Constructors, Inc. and Claudia Dodgen, VP Employee Services with Crowder Constructors, Inc. on Friday April 17, 2020 for CAGC members-only.

View Recording

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COVID-19 Roundtable Recording: CAGC Safety Committee Conducts Roundtable on Safety Standdown

Recorded Thursday, April 9, 2020

The Carolinas AGC Safety Committee held a roundtable discussion on April 9, 2020 as a part of the  COVID-19 issue and national standdown.

View Recording

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AGC of America: Ask the Experts: Impact of Coronavirus on Union Contractors

A Conversation with Experts on the Labor and Employment Law Considerations for Union Construction Contractors

Friday, April 3, 2020 | 2:00 - 3:30pm EDT

This 90-minute webinar will include a panel of experts answering legal and labor relations questions that particularly affect union construction contractors during the coronavirus outbreak. Participants will learn how to navigate new paid sick and family leave mandates, expiring collective bargaining agreements, and layoffs and furloughs while staying compliant with the National Labor Relations Act, the WARN Act, labor contracts (including benefit fund), and more. The webinar will also address what Congress is considering for future relief and how union contractors might be impacted.

*Members: Recording/Slides are available. Email to request.

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Carolinas AGC: Frequently Asked Questions for Construction Companies as a Result of the Families First and CARES legislation

Live broadcast and recorded on April 2, 2020.

View Recording     View Webinar Slides 

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AGC of America & ConstructConnect: COVID-19 and Construction: Current overview, outlook and the long-run implications

Thursday, April 2, 2020
2:00pm - 3:00pm EDT

Ken Simonson and Alex Carrick will be co-presenting on the topic: COVID-19 and Construction: Current overview, outlook and the long-run implications.

View Webinar Slides 

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AGC of America: An Overview of the Latest Economic, Legislative & Regulatory COVID-19 Related Impacts on Construction

Live Broadcast and Recorded on March 30, 2020
Members: FREE | Non-members: $499
*Members: Recording/Slides are available. Email to request.

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AGC of America: Navigating the Outbreak:
An Eight-Part Webinar Series on the Factors that Construction Companies Need to Consider, as They Strive for Business Continuity

Beginning Monday, March 23, 2020 - Wednesday, April 1, 2020
*Members: Recording/Slides are available. Email to request.

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Carolinas AGC: COVID-19: Jobsite Impacts

Live Broadcast and Recorded on March 18, 2020

View Recording View Webinar Slides   

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Questions? We are here to help.

Bill Stricker
Safety & Health/ Utility Division
704-372-1450 x5724 
Bill Stricker Photo

Betsy Bailey
NC Building Div.
704-372-1450 x5725
Betsy Bailey Photo

Victor Barbour
NC Highway-Heavy Div.
704-372-1450 x5723
Victor Barbour Photo

Leslie B. Clark
SC Bldg. & Hwy Div.
Leslie Clark

Dave Simpson
CAGC President & CEO
704-372-1450 x5724 
Dave Simpson Photo

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