Case Studies

Associated General Contractors of America

Helping Those Who Build America
  • Written by: Shelley Seyler
  • Produced by: Associated General Contractors of America

President Woodrow Wilson sowed the seeds for the creation of the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) in 1918 when he recognized the need in the construction industry for a partner; a partner to represent the industry’s interests to the government, discuss the issues and plan for the advancement of the nation. For the 90 subsequent years, ABC has been fulfilling this vision and then some.

Headquartered in the nation’s capital, AGC is today the oldest and largest national construction trade association in the United States and works in conjunction with its local chapters across the country, providing a range of services to address the needs and concerns of its 32,000 members. Of these members, 7,000 are leading general contractors, nearly 12,000 are specialty contractors and more than 13,000 are service providers and suppliers.

Considered one of the most prestigious and visible organizations in the industry, AGC members construct commercial and public buildings and structures that each person in the nation benefits from each day: airports, shopping centers, factories, schools, dams and flood control facilities, highways, roads and bridges, ports, public transit, multi-family housing projects, military and defense related facilities, site work for housing developments, and mining operations, among others.

Fulfilling a Vision

“ACG’s vision is to promote a better industry for the professionals who build America’s future.” The association is built on a foundation allows this vision to come true: to serve the “nation’s construction professionals by promoting the skill, integrity and responsibility of those who build America.

To fulfill this mission, AGC offers its members advocacy on a national level, industry-specific news and information, networking opportunities, nationally accredited education programs, products and services, industry publications and resources, and member discounts.

Just one block from the U.S. Capitol, there is a townhouse that employs a team of AGC advocacy professionals who work directly with federal officials and government agencies to lobby for AGC’s priority issues. Among these is investment in infrastructure, tax policies that promote investment, beneficial tort-reform, and immigration reform.

This advocacy team also monitors national legal cases that have the potential to pose threats or offer positive change for the construction industry. Also working to these same ends is the AGC Political Action Committee (PAC), a network of grassroots activists that gives AGC members the chance to let their opinions be heard at all levels of government. Tackling policy issues on all sides, each aspect of AGC’s advocacy program is vital to its successful implementation.

AGC is constantly monitoring and working on issues relating to contracts and construction law, safety and health, construction economics, labor and human resources, environment, construction risk management, project delivery, and technology, among others.

Internal Structure

In order to best fulfill the diverse needs of the different sectors in the construction industry, AGC is broken up into four divisions to represent these varying markets. The first is the building division which represents businesses that offer pre-construction, post-construction, and traditional construction services. With more than half of AGC’s members completing some form of construction as part of their business, this is necessarily an intrinsic aspect of the overall association.

AGC also has a federal and heavy division, highway and transportation division, and a municipal and utilities division, each catering to the unique needs of these important equally important sectors of the industry.

Strategic Plan

After conducting the most extensive research program in the history of the association, AGC drafted a strategic, three-year plan to improve the association’s services based on member preferences and recommendations. In addition to their pre-established services, AGC has resolved to improve the strategic focus of AGC’s Executive Board, work to attract the next generation of constructors, strengthen the national and chapter partnership, improve member recruitment and retention, and increase effectiveness of AGC meetings with pre-planned strategies to implement each of these objectives.

Guiding their members through this severely crippled economy, AGC acknowledges that its effects on the industry still remain somewhat of a mystery. AGC economist Ken Simonson, also a contributor to the association’s publication, Constructor Magazine, attributes much of this uncertainty to the unknown affects of local, state and federal investments in infrastructure and President Barack Obama’s massive stimulus package; however, he does not leave AGC members without hope.

With the cost of materials drastically lower today as compared to six months ago and new projects presenting themselves in energy and power, he puts faith in the “plenty of skilled general contractors, subcontractors and craft workers” to make 2009 a strong year for the industry. This certainly enlivens AGC members’ faith in the future, despite the negative predictions that dominate the headlines. This faith partnered with AGC’s services will see the industry and the association’s members, large and small, through this crisis and to a brighter horizon, regardless of how far off this may be.

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