Spring is an important time in our industry as we prepare for the construction season, submit bid packages, establish goals and objectives for the coming year, and develop relationships in a new legislative session.
The Associated General Contractors is no exception. The first quarter of 2019 has been a whirlwind.
On Jan. 4, we honored John MacKinnon, former executive director of AGC. We thanked John for his 11 years of service and leadership to this great organization. We will miss him, but we are excited for his new adventure as Alaska’s commissioner for the Department of Transportation & Public Facilities. We expect John will continue to make a positive impact in our state as our DOT&PF commissioner and will “pave the way” for a bright future for Alaskans. I am personally thankful for his guidance and support these past few months during our transition. We wish John well in his new career and endeavors. If you couldn’t attend John’s “retiring from AGC” party, please check out our tribute on Page 26.
On Jan. 30, the Construction Industry Progress Fund and the University of Alaska Anchorage Institute of Social and Economic Research released their 2019 Construction Spending Forecast. As many of you know first-hand, the construction industry has suffered immensely during the current recession. We were pleased to see that their report forecasts an increase in construction jobs. Although we are still in a recession, the recent CIPF/ISER study predicts a modest 7 to 10 percent increase in construction spending in 2019. Please see Page 40 to read more about this study and join me in looking forward to construction industry growth in the years ahead.
At AGC, the first quarter of the year was extremely busy with fundraisers, networking events, training seminars, meetings with members, setting operational priorities and preparing for the legislative season. A group of AGC members flew to Juneau and met with 40 legislators, the new Department of Labor Commissioner and Gov. Mike Dunleavy to convey our top legislative priorities for 2019. We successfully hosted casino night events in Anchorage and Fairbanks and held our popular bowl-a-thon fundraiser for University of Alaska Fairbanks construction program scholarships. We successfully negotiated four collective bargaining agreements that were up for renewal. AGC members had several “Lunch and Learn” opportunities.
We met with the mayor of Anchorage and staff to discuss challenges within the MOA building department. AGC members participated in and cheered on the “Contractors and Camo” tournament benefitting the Alaska Warriors Hockey team, the only sports and recreational program for Alaskan disabled veterans. Most importantly for me, we launched a member satisfaction survey to help us better understand the challenges and opportunities facing our members, learn where you find the value in your membership and find out where you’d like to see AGC focus our efforts in the future.
Although this season had me “drinking from a fire hose,” I am honored to work with and represent such a tremendous group of people who care about the economy, the workforce in Alaska and the future of our amazing state. I would love to come to your office, meet your team and learn about your projects. I also encourage all of you to consider attending an AGC event or educational opportunity. You will meet incredible people and learn something new every time. Check out our calendar on the AGC website or the weekly “News to Use” email — there is something available for everyone.
This season is a favorite time for many Alaskans because it means a new year and new opportunities. I was raised by parents who owned small businesses, and a new year always meant hope, excitement and optimism for a better future. Because I’ve spent more than 30 years having conversations at the dinner table about the importance of infrastructure and development in Alaska, I particularly look forward to this spring as it brings a renewed and powerful hope that our state and our industry will be vibrant in the coming years.
Thank you for the opportunity to represent and advocate for this vital industry. The long-term health and growth of the construction industry in Alaska is my No. 1 priority.