Executive Director's Message

Having a good time while growing our own

You are probably familiar with the various events AGC holds throughout the year and what we’ve been doing for years to grow a well-trained workforce in the construction industry. These topics may sound unrelated, but there is a direct connection between them.

The summer golf tournaments in Anchorage and Fairbanks are some of our more popular events. These tournaments sell out every year and provide a day of golf and comradery, some bug bites and sunburns if we’re lucky. They culminate with a filling meal and awards.

In August, AGC presents the popular annual Sporting Clays Shoot. This sport is described by some as “like golf with shotguns.” As in golf, shooters are part of a team of five and take turns shooting at a variety of targets. There is a lot of time for conversing with teammates and members of other teams. AGC Sporting Clays gets better every year.

To ease the winter doldrums, we host events indoors during the colder months. In Anchorage in late February, we present Casino Night. The event features a scrumptious dinner, games of chance, member celebrity dealers and special entertainment. In Fairbanks, we hold the annual Bowl-A-Thon in late January, when more than 150 people typically come out for a day of bowling, food and refreshments, friendly competition and great prizes.

Members’ expectations don’t stop there. This past April, the Spring Train Ride was back by popular demand. And in October, the Chili Cook-off, going on its 10th year, continues to stir up fiery competition and great-tasting chili.

Not just a good time, these events are great opportunities to network. They allow AGC members to get together and meet other AGC members and build business and personal relationships. These events take considerable time, effort and expense for AGC staff to put on, and they require sponsorships and donations from many of our member companies and registration fees from the participants.

Just as importantly, these events provide AGC a way to invest in Alaska’s workforce through a variety of scholarships and sponsorships.

From the proceeds of many years of events, AGC of Alaska recently contributed a $100,000 gift in support of scholarships to the University of Alaska Fairbanks in celebration of its centennial year. You’ll read more about this later in this issue. Including this year’s centennial gift, AGC’s philanthropic support of UAF has totaled more than $250,000 over the past two decades.

AGC’s endowed scholarships at UAF have provided 70 students with over $90,000 in financial assistance since 1998. Looking through the list of recipients during the past 20 years, I see many students who have become leaders in Alaska’s construction industry, working for construction companies, A/E firms and owner agencies.

Each year at our golf reception in Anchorage, we have awarded $20,000 in academic scholarships to students pursuing a range of construction-related careers and at a variety of institutions. The governing criteria is that they plan to make a career in Alaska. A few years ago, we increased the individual scholarship amount, offering fewer but larger scholarships. Interest ballooned, and the number of applications almost tripled. Recipients are some of the best of the best.

It’s not just scholarships that we support. There are many state and national competitions that Alaskans take part in that hone their skills and show we can compete at the highest levels.

The UAF Steel Bridge Team has an impressive history of performance, consecutively placing first in the Pacific Northwest and in the Top 10 at the national competition. This competition is one of the more challenging ones. Design criteria change every year.

The Concrete Canoe competition is a new one for UAF. The team puts in hundreds of hours designing and constructing a lightweight four-person concrete canoe to race in the Idaho competition. Last year the team placed fourth against schools that have been participating in the competition for over 30 years. When the team lost its campus shop space this year, it built the canoe in the garage area of our Fairbanks office. We’ll make a place for them next year.

The Construction Industry Progress Fund — CIPF — supports Alaskans in the SkillsUSA competitions. SkillsUSA is a national partnership of education and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled workforce in trade and technical occupations. CIPF also supports the University of Alaska Anchorage Construction Management Team at the Associated Schools of Construction competition — the most prestigious event for construction management students in the country. This year, the UAA team beat 12 other teams in the grueling three-day competition and took first place in the heavy-civil category.

For more than 20 years, AGC of Alaska has been committed to developing Alaska’s workforce and the next generation of the construction industry. That commitment is even stronger today. Each year, more than $50,000 in scholarships and sponsorships is made possible by your support of AGC and the various AGC events we hold throughout the year. The golf tournaments, the Bowl-A-Thon, the Spring Train Ride, Casino Night, the Sporting Clays Shoot — as you see these are not just fun times and great networking events.

Your participation and support are an investment in the future of our industry and Alaska.