A Word From AGCVA Chair, Don Sproul
After visiting The Greenbrier - America's Resort, I can't help but to feel not only recharged, but truly inspired by the members in our association. It was great to have time to connect and engage with each of you. The AGCVA Convention is a time to allow our teams to recharge and make new connections to move our organizations forward. Our 2022 Chair, Anthony Smith, along with the members of the Convention Committee did a fantastic job. AGCVA CEO, Brandon Robinson and the creative AGCVA staff worked diligently to ensure all details were presented to everyone. I hope you take this time to reflect back on the information given as well as relationships created and encourage others to get involved on your team to allow this association to continue to grow and excel in the future. We are very blessed to work with a group who is dedicated and enthusiastic about this association.
I have had the honor of attending this conference for the past 13 years; the impact it has made on my life professionally and personally has been very rewarding and I look forward to celebrating our 100th year with you all in 2024. This year’s headline speaker at our kick-off breakfast, Jake Thompson, motivated us to compete every day for success, demonstrated how we can teach our teams to build grit and hold them and ourselves accountable. Mr. Thompson left us with resources to continue to grow. I encourage you to follow him on Instagram, LinkedIn, or my personal favorite, listen to his podcast, Compete Every Day. Following his keynote, we had some great sessions with fellow members presenting on such topics as the Virginia BEST Program panel discussion, attracting and retaining Gen Z, a forecast for the construction industry, analyzing financial statements, IT in construction, and drones. Additionally, we hosted the Construction Workforce Summit, where our workforce partners joined us to present solutions to workforce challenges. We also had lots of fun with some Latin dance classes to get us warmed up for the Havana Nights reception, along with other fun events. Thank you to each of you for your time and talent. Networking at the convention can be one of the most important aspects. I hope you all were able to engage with fellow members and friends. Relationships at AGCVA are ones that will last a lifetime and will be rewarding for your teams as these opportunities to stay engaged come throughout the year!
During my induction speech as your 2023 AGCVA Chair, I encouraged everyone to get engaged at every level, and be involved in your districts and show the membership that we are working for them. We are members Advocating, Growing, and Connecting Virginia's construction industry with a vision to build a stronger community as the leading partner in this industry. I have included this speech below.
"I first want to take a moment and say thank you for giving me this opportunity for which I am truly grateful. I am looking forward to the next year of serving you.
I also want to thank the Board of Directors for selecting me as Chair. Thank you for your service this year and in years to come.
As previously mentioned, I would also like to thank the AGCVA staff as well. We have an amazing and dedicated staff to serve you. It has been a pleasure working with each of you. Thank you for keeping me straight at times.
If there are any district presidents here tonight, I would ask you to please stand and be recognized. So much of what we do starts at the district level. Our boots on the ground as we say. Thank you for serving.
My family, my beautiful wife of 38 years Lynda, my daughters Angela and Stephanie thank you for putting up with me as I traveled across this country working in this business. Thank you for sharing me during all my Coach Don days and now for the next year representing AGCVA.
I would like to share just a little bit about myself. I have been in the construction industry my whole life. As a boy in Pittsburgh, I used to work in my Dad’s glass and glazing shop helping to make storm doors. I have had the pleasure of working in many different sectors of this industry through the years as a general contractor. The first event I ever attended for the AGCVA was for this event at The Homestead back in 2010 when I was working on the casino here at The Greenbrier. Someone could not make the event from our organization at the last minute, and I was asked if Lynda and I could attend. I said sure and had no idea what this event was all about. I knew about AGCVA but never had the time to attend any events as I was involved in raising my kids and being a member of other associations. I showed up basically in a blue sport coat and khaki pants for this event. My wife and I sat in the back as we signed up late and I also figured since I was not a wine drinker and more a bourbon drinker that it would be easier for me to get up and get a drink during dinner. I recall thinking at the time that the chairman of this association had a lot of responsibility in trying to manage such a diverse group of members and trying to keep everyone satisfied and engaged. I told myself then that I could not see myself ever having the time to try and dedicate myself to such an impactful association. But as time moved on, I finished coaching and I got involved in the Peninsula District, I started to really see the value that AGCVA brings to our industry. After moving through all the chairs over the past 10 years I find myself here today, honored to be your chair.
As stated by Anthony, our association has three pillars to guide the work we do. AGCVA is comprised of members advocating, growing, and connecting Virginia’s construction industry. This is the foundation of everything we are doing as an association with a vision to build a stronger community as the leading partner in Virginia’s construction industry.
This is an election year. All 140 Virginia General Assembly seats are up for election this year.
The Political Action Committee (PAC) has set a goal to raise $200,000 this year to strengthen and grow our relationships with key policy makers. We will be promoting the PAC at all our events this year as well as in our marketing information.
Each of our districts has currently scheduled at least one legislative event during this year and there will be more to follow as the year progresses to include hard hat tours with legislators.
I also want to acknowledge all that are serving on AGCVA’s PAC committee and Legislative committees. During this time of the year while the General Assembly is in session there is a tremendous amount of time spent by these groups in support of our industry and trying to get bills crafted that support all our members.
Advocacy has become even more important to this association, which is why the board has decided to move convention next year to Feb. 22-25, 2024. The reason for this is because currently it is challenging to give full attention to the General Assembly while convention is taking place.
Please know that AGCVA is working for the good of the industry and all members. There has been a lot of legislation through the years and not all members agreed on the final bills or positions that the AGCVA has taken. Please know we are working to encourage business that is fair and open to everyone.
We are focusing on programs and services that grow member businesses and advance the industry.
As the Diversity Equity and Inclusion Taskforce continues to develop strategies focused on making inclusion a core value by 2024. Inclusion will allow us the opportunity to provide equal access to connections and resources for those who might be excluded or come from different backgrounds. One of the many ways this will be incorporated in the future will be through our listening sessions with SWAM firms in the industry.
In 2024, we will celebrate AGCVA’s 100th Anniversary and as you see tonight the Vice Chair, Arlene Lee is about to become the first female to chair our association.
Workforce development is something that we remain focused on. We will continue to promote our efforts at our events along with raising awareness of the Educational Foundation goals in order to secure sustainable funding that supports the various workforce initiatives. Last year we provided over $40,000 in scholarships and grants to various organizations. Some of these organizations are here this weekend presenting in our Workforce Construction Summit being held tomorrow afternoon.
We are pushing hard to partner with the state to provide sustainable funding for the Build Your Future program. There is some positive legislation that is being put forth this year that we think will help support workforce development.
As we move forward from COVID and our members re-engage, we are putting a focus on putting together more multi-district events.
We set a goal for this year to post all upcoming events on our website at least 60 days prior to the event taking place.
We have re-started the statewide award and recognition program; more information on this will be coming soon.
For the past two years, I have served as the chair of the District Officers Council (DOC); during this time, we updated the guidelines for district leadership to operate similarly across the state which has allowed us to continue to connect more and more effectively.
Before I close tonight, I encourage you all to get engaged over the next few days and beyond this event. We have over 500 companies in our association with just over 125 attending this weekend. I challenge each member at every level…ownership, executive management, field staff, and project management to get involved. We need to make sure that we are engaged and able to show our membership the value of being part of the AGCVA community. We need to show our fellow members that AGCVA is working for them.
I look forward to meeting many of you this year. I plan to travel to each of the districts the first half of this year to meet with executive committees, attend events to talk about what is going on across Virginia, and share the message of what is happening at the state level for all AGCVA members.
Thank you all, God Bless, and good night."