Looking to Our History for Guidance

By Casey Schwager
CAGC Board Chair 2020 and 2021

Sloan Construction | Duncan, SC 
January 13, 2021
Casey Schwager

2020 and CAGC’s 100th anniversary are in the books.

I can honestly say that I am pleased we have moved on to 2021.  Clearly some difficult times have come upon our country in a myriad of different ways.  These difficult times have unfortunately brought out both the best and the worst in people.  What has it brought out in Carolinas AGC?  If you read Dave Simpson’s article last week, I hope that you would conclude that it brought out the very best in Carolinas AGC.  I feel confident that the events of 2020 have caused the organization to be more agile, sharp and relevant.

As I sit and try to decide the right words to express the current state of CAGC, on the heels of having to postpone our Nashville 2021 Winter Convention, I find that I have come upon a more difficult time as any to express that there is hope for the good things that 2021 might bring.  So, I look to our roots and history for guidance.

Woodrow Wilson once said, “You are not here merely to make a living, you are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.  You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”  This statement really hit home with me as I find it important to remind our employees to take pride in what they do.  Not only is it hard work, but the men and women who work in our organizations do amazing things and build amazing things that make other lives better.  As we move into 2021, I hope that everyone will take a moment to reflect on this statement and remember that not only do you provide hope for yourselves in the future, but others as well.

Woodrow Wilson has historical significance to the AGC as well as the Columbia, South Carolina area.  Not only did he seek out the establishment of an organization like the AGC to increase safety, efficiency and business ethics during his term as President of the United States, he also, prior to being elected President, laid the cornerstone for the original Downtown Columbia YMCA.  Also, of significance, CAGC was created in 1920, only one year earlier President Woodrow Wilson was himself stricken with the Spanish Flu which killed around 50 Million people worldwide. 

The United States of America and the contracting community survived the Spanish Flu pandemic, and we will survive this pandemic too.  Please do not misconstrue this statement as dismissive of the lives lost, that is not my intention as the loss of life is sobering.  However, we must continue to press forward for the people of the Carolinas and the fine men and women who work for our organizations.  In doing so we must rely on the same principles and values that CAGC was founded on and in which you all have exemplified over the past year:

Responsibility, Integrity, Safety, Hard work, Relationships, Common Sense, and a Pioneering Spirit!  Albert Einstein said, “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”  Currently, I am hoping for the continued rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and the subsiding of the pandemic this Spring.  We have a lot of exciting meetings planned for this year including our Summer Summit & Expo in Myrtle Beach, our delayed 100th Anniversary party in Charlotte, and a return to normalcy.  It has been a pleasure serving this organization in 2020 -- and I thank you for the opportunity to do so again in 2021!