The Story of AGC of Connecticut, Through the Decades
AGC/CT Chapter Presidents Since 1947
The Early Years
- AGC of Connecticut was chartered in the fall of 1947 to become the 28th Chapter of the AGC of America. There were fourteen original members. The chapter leaders elected their first president, hired their first Executive Director, Cap Grisham, and established a new office in New Haven.
- In 1948, the chapter formed closer working relationship with city councils and the State of Connecticut to work on payment issues and single contractor-to-owner methods of contracting. They established a labor relations component to negotiate with the unions and work together on industry issues at both state and local levels.
- In 1950’s the chapter became even more active in providing benefits and training for union tradesmen. They formed the first multi-trade welfare fund in Connecticut, with joint trustees from both labor and management. And they decided to make monthly employer contributions of seven cents per hour for each tradesman on their payrolls to provide for some health insurance and pension savings to their skilled employees. They also formed jointly administered apprenticeship training programs for carpenters, brick masons, operating engineers, and ironworkers.
- Attempting to establish standards for fair dealing in the CT construction market, the chapter adopted a contractors' Code of Ethics in Construction.
- On the legislative front, AGC influenced the state to adopt a uniform payment statute which guaranteed prompt payment on public construction projects assuring that subcontractors would be paid on time.
- The 50’s also witnessed several important milestones for the construction industry in general, in particular, the growth of the state construction budget through a public works program during the latter years of the Eisenhower administration. The first education and training programs through a joint venture with the unions to bring journeymen trades into supervisory positions of foremen and superintendents were founded at this time. And the decade marked the initial usage of National Maintenance Agreements in certain industrial plants and power plant construction.
- The decade of the 60’s saw AGC’s committee structure expanded to include public relations, contracts, membership growth, and manpower and training committees, in addition to the already existing labor relations and education committees.
- In 1961, several new management training programs were introduced including construction cost accounting, marketing, and business and contracts law. Several subcontractor firms were brought into the association during this year.
- In 1962, the unions and contractors worked long and hard to ratify contract negotiations and a carpenter's strike was narrowly averted.
- 1963 saw the first contractor negotiating teams formed to focus on certain trades. Laborers, carpenters, and other trade-specific bargaining committees began working early for the expiration of two year agreements coming up in 1964.
- But in 1964, despite the best efforts of the newly found negotiating committees, a two-month strike delivered a powerful blow to the contractors, and new unprecedented wage gains were realized by the unions, in which more monies were being allocated from the growing pensions funds.
- By 1965, more of the trades had broken away for the statewide multi-trade fund and had formed their own funds with contractors and union representatives as trustees.
- In 1966, the association moved to Woodbridge, and the next year, 1967, Executive Director Cap Grisham retired after twenty years of service. AGC hired Frank White as its next Executive Director.
- In the 1970’s, the chapter archives seem to be a little thin, so we pick up the action in 1978, when the Association changed its bylaws to allow construction managers the same status as a general contractors, and Construction Management (CM) became an accepted term in the Connecticut industry in the northeast.
- Under the presidency of Jim Eacott, Jr. in 1980/81, the chapter kicked off the decade by moving its headquarters to 107 Oak Street in Hartford, two blocks from the State House. In terms of accomplishments during those years, AGC retained a public relations firm to enhance its public image, won the repeal of the "Pre-File Bidding" Law in Connecticut, and the hired Francis Mazza as the new Executive Vice President.
- In 1982 and 1983, under President Paul Morganti, AGC of Connecticut increased its membership by 41% to 71 Actives, 64 Associates, and 39 Affiliates and established the Joan “Bonvicini” Blancpain Memorial Scholarship Award.
- In 1984 and 1985, under President Frank Gillon, the chapter presented the first Building a Better Connecticut Award to Gov. William O’Neill, and received a National AGC Public Relations award.
- During the presidency of Michael Timura in 1985 and 1986, the Chapter relocated its office to 500 Main St., Yalesville, CT. AGC leased space to the carpenters and bricklayers unions for their Apprentice Training.
- Terry Wooding served as President in 1988/89 and Brian Nickerson was President in 1989/90.
- In 1990, (President Arthur J. Kelly, Jr.) the chapter filed a case against the City of New Haven for its set-aside program.
- In 1991, (President Charles G. Groves) John B. Farnham was hired as new Executive Director. A Steering Committee was formed to Plan the Future Course for the AGC of Connecticut and Mike Timura was named AGC Committee Chairman of the Year.
- 1992 was a watershed year for the Chapter. President James H. Eacott, III oversaw the affiliation with the Connecticut Construction Industries Association (CCIA) and the move from the Yalesville office (which was sold to the Carpenter’s Local 24) to 912 Silas Deane Highway in Wethersfield. The chapter also won the New Haven set-aside case at the District Court Level.
- In 1993/94, during the presidency of Gregory Oneglia, AGC, with CCIA’s leadership and guidance, helped pass workers compensation reform. The chapter also stepped up its efforts to provide industry supervisory training through the Supervisory Training Program (STP).
- In 1994/95, (President Pat Centore) the CT construction industry experienced a reduction in workers compensation rates of 20%, largely as a result of the new Workers Compensation Reform Act, passed in the previous year. In a major boost for the building side of the construction industry, the General Assembly passed the $1.1 billion UCONN 2000 construction program. At this time, the chapter operated its well-received safety van program, “Operation Safe Site,” and established a new workers compensation program with Atlantic Mutual.
- In 1995/96, (President Vincent Giordano), AGC finally won the New Haven Set-Aside Case in the 2nd Circuit Federal Court, forcing the City of New Haven to dismantle its set-aside ordinances. On the legislative front, the chapter helped win passage of Self-Insured Workers Compensation Insurance Model Act. The chapter also participated in the establishment of the UConn contractor pre-qualification system, and in a portentous sign of things to come, the construction internet web site, “Construction Corner,” was launched at this time.
- In 1996/97, under President Robert Sullivan, AGC/CT received the settlement amount on legal fees from the City of New Haven as a result of the Set Aside case. During this time, the Connecticut Construction Labor Management Council was established, and the new AGC Quarterly Newsletter AGC Insights was launched.
- During the presidency of David Yoder in 1997/98, the chapter celebrated its 50th Anniversary. The Scholarship Program increased to $10,000 per year for two students. The chapter also worked with the CT Subcontractors Association on several legislative initiatives.
- In 1998/99, under President Damien Davis, AGC/CT introduced the first Build-Up Kits (A Tool Kit for Learning) into the public schools. The chapter continued to offer discount insurance programs to members through the workers compensation program with Atlantic Mutual, in its fourth year, and a new all-lines insurance program with R.C. Knox/Travelers.
The New Millennium
- In 1999/2000, under President Jonathan Miller, AGC/CT established the Build Connecticut Awards Program. At this time, the chapter built a close working relationship with Minority Contractors groups in Hartford & New Haven and offered several training courses in Blueprint Reading and Estimating.
- In 2001/2002, under President Gregory Raucci, the chapter changed the terms of office for officers to two-full year terms. Other notable accomplishments include the introduction of strategic planning as the chapter conducted a planning session the result of which was the chapter’s first Strategic Plan. AGC/CT also amended bylaws to equalize role of subcontractors with that of general contractors.
- In 2003/04, under President Steve Kononchik, the chapter helped pass a major contractor prequalification law and coordinated with the CT Subcontractors Association to amend the Fairness in Contract Financing law. During this time, the Young Contractors Forum (YCF) was established and there was an effort to upgrade the association’s use of technology.
- In 2005/06, President Joseph Milazzo was the first subcontractor member to be elected President under revised by-laws. This biennium marked significant legislative activity as the chapter worked to pass bills to prohibit the use of OCIP’s in Public Construction arena and to place liability on municipalities not using state law requiring payment bonds on municipal projects. The chapter also defeated a Contractor False Claims Act. These years saw the expansion of the Young Contractors Forum, and the replacement of the Mid-Year Meeting with the Industry Recognition Dinner.
- In 2007/08, under President Gary Timura, the chapter adopted a new Business Plan which focused on the future of the chapter. Part of that plan resulted in the hiring of Assistant Executive Director John Butts, and also included adopting a stronger focus on subcontractor issues and building the membership. On the legislative front, the chapter supported the passage of the OSHA 10-Hour bill and worked with DPW and UConn to allow CM at Risk on state building projects. During this time, the chapter stepped up its involvement in AGC of America activities, including the adoption of a goal of 100% Board participation in AGC PAC contributions, John Farnham serving as chair of AGC Executive Leadership Council (which included membership on the national Executive Board), and Terry Wooding serving as Chair of the AGC Marketing Committee.
- During the biennium of 2009/10, under President Bob Berkmoes, John Farnham, who had served the chapter as Executive Director, and was succeeded by John Butts. At this time, the chapter adopted a new Strategic Plan which focused on closer cooperation with other construction and designer trade associations, and simplifying the dues structure. For its efforts in training minority-owned businesses, the chapter received a U.S. Department of Commerce Leadership Award for its Small Contractor Training and Development Program, in cooperation with the Metropolitan District Commission (MD) and the Business Resource Corporation (BRC). In terms of legislative accomplishments, AGC and CCIA worked hard to modify the State False Claims Act to exclude construction, pass retainage legislation, and addressed proposals to improve the DAS prequalification program. And the chapter’s strong tradition of AGC of America involvement continued with the achievement of 100% Board participation in AGC of America PAC, and Terry Wooding being nominated Vice Chair of the AGC Building Division.