CAGC Continues Bridging Many Challenges for our Industry in the Carolinas

By Dave Simpson 
January 6, 2021
Dave Simpson

The late, great NC Senate leader Marc Basnight had a special fondness for bridges.

“Bridges bring people together. They never divide,” he wrote for a dedication in 2019 of a 2.8-mile, $254 million bridge over Oregon Inlet named for him. Sen. Basnight, who died last month after a long battle with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), was a big believer in infrastructure funding, particularly in connecting remote parts of his state with urban centers.

In much the same way, CAGC continues our focus on helping our members and the construction industry in the Carolinas bridge our challenges.

It hasn’t been easy.

But like your businesses, we remain committed to overcoming the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic and delivering to our member customers what they need. We are proud of what we did in 2020 and look forward to continuing bringing relevance and value to you.

Here are some highlights of 2020, our 100th Year Anniversary of CAGC:

  • Despite far-reaching COVID challenges, CAGC remained in solid financial shape as we closed out 2020 and we look forward to delivering again in 2021 and beyond. Special thanks to our CAGC Board of Directors, led by Chair Casey Schwager, for its excellent oversight work here.

  • Our member retention rate is 93.4% for 2020 for the largest bulk of our nearly 800-member companies whose memberships lapsed Oct. 1, 2020. Prospects look strong for our new members as well.

  • CAGC was able to secure funding totaling $3.75 million from the NC General Assembly for our CAGC Foundation for the NC Pandemic Grant for PPE and Media involving the COVID-19 outbreak. We are now putting the finishing touches on the program in which our CAGC Foundation made awards, less overhead, of $3 million for the construction industry to offset COVID expenses and $750,000 for a COVID relief media outreach program.

  • CAGC was successful in convincing our two Governors to make Construction an essential business in both NC and SC in March, shortly after the COVID outbreak.

  • In South Carolina, we helped lead efforts to launch our Be Pro Be Proud truck, with more than 90 visits scheduled to promote construction as a career in SC, as well as enactment of Business License Tax reform in SC following several years of work here.

  • At the onset of COVID restrictions, CAGC immediately pivoted to virtual meetings and events. Following an exceptional Winter Convention in Aruba with nearly 500 “live” attendees, we conducted a virtual Summer Summit that drew over 600 participants including the Governors of both states, state legislative and national political leaders, and economists. We also had a well-attended HR Safety Virtual Conference, a November Election Wrap and what it means for construction, a successful Young Leaders Annual Conference and an unforgettable virtual presentation last month by baseball legend Dale Murphy.

  • Excellent CAGC Staff work – as well as the same with AGCA and ARTBA in D.C. – in giving our members the info they need in these challenging times.

  • Ramping up our Build Your Career and Ambassadors efforts to draw promising young folks into great careers in construction.

  • Our biggest political challenge in both states has been the $2 billion NCDOT shortfall. CAGC was able to hopefully help turn around NC Senate Leader Phil Berger, who last year defeated a $3.1 billion bond referendum. At a recent CAGC virtual luncheon, he voiced support for a major bond issue this year for highway-heavy, building (including k-12 public schools) and utility work. Also, we estimate this year’s NCDOT lettings to be $1.5-$2 billion.

  • A record-setting 205 members in our Young Leaders Program and well-attended live/virtual education, training and safety meetings in both states.

  • We helped, though our PAC contributions and government relations programs, retain the legislative status quo in SC and NC as well as assisted with U.S. Senators Lindsey Graham and Thom Tillis winning in November along with new NC Labor Commissioner-elect Josh Dobson.

  • We provided continuing education required for many general contractors by the NC Licensing Board for General Contractors. We had 471 registrations here last year.

What’s ahead for 2021?

We are excited about the prospect of successful vaccines and vaccinations to help begin to put the pandemic in the rear-review mirror. We think the pent-up demand for construction as more businesses and people continue to want to move to the Carolinas will be solid. We look forward to proceeding with plans later this month for our Mini CAGC Convention in Nashville, Tennessee and in providing educational and networking meetings for you, hopefully more live ones as permitted, in coming weeks.

Stay safe and thank you so much for your CAGC support.

That means everything as we continue bridging our industry together.