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Are We Being Proactive or Reactive?
Each stance has a role; AGC excels at both
By Sarah Lefebvre

ach Associated General Contractors, or AGC, of Alaska president becomes deeply involved on a nearly daily basis with the key tenets of AGC’s core mission: Advocate, Educate, and Promote. As I have worked with Alicia, staff, committees, and members on old issues, new projects, and unfolding events, I have begun to think about our efforts in two key ways—are we being reactive or proactive? This has been followed up by thoughts about what we should be in each instance and why.

As an organization, AGC has to be both reactive and proactive, as both roles define the services that AGC provides to you. Our association devotes significant ongoing resources to strategic efforts that work toward improving the industry, our markets, the business environment, and our future. Many times those efforts have to happen concurrently while reacting to immediate issues affecting those same areas.

The last few years have provided a plethora of challenges and opportunities, causing AGC to be on point on a nearly constant basis, while still providing the basic services that are the foundations of membership. We moved from significant state budget woes and a constrained state economy to COVID-19, to canceled events, to virtual formats, to various financial windfalls from Congress, to workforce challenges, to supply chain issues, to more financial opportunities, to high fuel prices, to ongoing state budget wars, to high oil prices, to a budget surplus— and more.

Many, if not most, of you have experienced similar challenges as we work to keep our ships righted and on course with so many environmental factors storming around us. As a means to assist with course corrections and focusing AGC resources, the AGC Executive Board determined that it was time to update our pre-COVID strategic plan this spring. By the time that you read this you will be starting to see the outcomes of that effort. This will assist us in planning AGC’s proactive strategies, while leaving operational space for the inevitable urgencies.

You have only to filter your emails by AGC for a great overview of AGC in action. AGC’s proactive efforts recently and currently include:

  • addressing price escalation issues at both the state and federal level;
  • advocating for passage of Construction Manager/General Contractor, or CMGC legislation;
  • working through Alaska Department of Transportation & Public Facilities subcommittee in many areas, including specification rewrites, procurement processes, and more;
  • co-sponsoring Congressional Candidate Forum;
  • pushing back on Pro Act, or Protecting the Right to Organize Act, legislation in Congress;
  • working with the Fairbanks North Star Borough to address workforce issues and deflect bad procurement ordinances; and
  • weighing in on the federal Department of Labor Davis-Bacon Act proposed update.

At the same time AGC has been responsive as the following issues have emerged:

  • fighting the Municipality of Anchorage and Anchorage School District project labor agreement requirements;
  • ensuring construction was determined to be an essential industry during COVID-19; and
  • addressing certification needs through either alternate means of training or deferment with agencies.

Sometimes the needle moves while we are strategically addressing our position or needs, causing us to be both proactive and reactive simultaneously. These efforts include:

  • advocating to the Alaska Legislature through the Legislative Action Committee, AGC’s lobbyist and the AGC Legislative Fly-In;
  • ensuring we are part of the conversation regarding Federal Infrastructure spending; and
  • addressing the challenges related to workforce development as they have evolved in the last two years.

Your decision to be an AGC member is indicative of a proactive business strategy. How you use your AGC membership can be a mix of both proactive and reactive efforts, but AGC works for you regardless. Our efforts are significantly affected by those two business strategies and by how much our membership engages with our organization, as it requires resources and input regardless of action or reaction. We work hard to look at the map ahead so we can be prepared, but we have an excellent team in place to address any rough waters we suddenly encounter.

We can’t always avoid being reactive, but one of the keys to AGC being able to be proactive is member engagement. While it will be midsummer when you read this and you are rowing hard, the AGC staff is busy working on the details for the IN-PERSON annual conference November 9-12, 2022 in Anchorage. Please plan to join us and fully engage your crews in the experience so that we can all be fully engaged in taking control of our destinies. I look forward to seeing you there!