Hopes, Highlights and Holiday Happiness

It was an evening of celebration as the Associated Builders and Contractors of Maine gathered at Freeport’s Harraseeket Inn on December 3.

Dozens of ABC Maine members attended the gathering to kick off the holiday season, share annual highlights, distribute awards, announce new board members and set goals for 2022.

“Last year’s event was virtual, so it was great to have everyone back together for the Annual Meeting and Holiday Reception,” says ABC Maine’s Membership Director Tami Staples.

The organization’s leadership is fired up to support a slew of new initiatives, from expanding its apprenticeship program to starting the 2021/2022 Young Professionals program—all in an effort to promote Maine’s vibrant and growing construction industry.

“It’s an honor to serve this passionate group of contractors in our state,” says ABC Maine President and CEO Hope Pollard, who is celebrating 15 years in her leadership role within the organization. “There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t learn something new about the industry and grow professionally. My sincerest thanks to our members for granting me this opportunity.”

Meet Our Board

Each year, ABC Maine welcomes new leaders to its board of directors—and this year was no exception. ABC Maine’s board of directors works hard to establish policy and positioning statements to support Maine’s members in their lobbying efforts and keep the chapter aligned and in good standing with its accreditation requirements.

Charlie Zachau—the grandson of founding member Earle Zachau of Zachau Construction of Freeport—performed the oath of office Friday evening. Charlie is a 2020 graduate of ABC Maine’s Young Professionals Program and it came as a great surprise to the 100 plus members in attendance.

Members taking the oath of office to serve for the upcoming year include:

  • Glenn Adams, Sargent Corporation
  • Don Avery, Sheridan Corporation
  • Bruce Cates, Johnson & Jordan
  • Mitch DeBlois, DeBlois Electric (Chairman)
  • Janette Giles, N.S. Giles Foundations
  • Matt Greenleaf, Clark Insurance
  • Michelle Ibarguen, Cross Insurance
  • Stacey Morrison, Ganneston Construction Corp.
  • Mason Rowell, Landry/French Construction

Flaming Arrow Award Winner

In addition, Stacey Morrison, who has served on ABC Maine’s Board of Directors since 2005 (and was elected as its first female chairperson in 2008) is the recipient of the 2021 Flaming Arrow Award which recognizes a member for their achievements and commitment to defending the merit shop.

It’s the second time Morrison, owner of Ganneston Construction Corporation of Augusta, has been recognized. Stacey also won the award in 2012.

As an active ABC Maine member and busy mother to her teenage son Zach, Morrison is being recognized by the group for the time she spent testifying before the Maine Legislature on proposed bills impacting Maine’s construction community. In addition, she submitted op-ed pieces to area newspapers and was featured on a radio talk show. Stacey also produced a radio advertisement promoting ABC’s opposition to the controversial language in the PRO Act.

Strengthening Our Staff

Morrison’s effort is but one of many highlights ABC Maine celebrated in 2021.

ABC Maine finished the year with 184 member companies—including 17 new businesses. We now have our largest membership since 2009!

To support its latest endeavors, ABC Maine welcomed Shari Johnston to the team as Workforce Development Coordinator. Shari manages the apprenticeship program established earlier in the year. She gained a certification from the National Center for Construction Education Research’s master trainer program (NCCER) in November and will head up training and the chapter’s accreditation services.

“I understand how important workforce development is to the construction industry in our state,” Johnston says. “I am excited to grow our organization with our wonderful members at ABC Maine.”

Highlights & Achievements

Another major milestone at ABC Maine: the 2022 graduating class of the Young Professionals Program will increase its level of female representation from one woman out of 20 in 2019 to eight women out of 25 next year.

Blue Rock Industries General Manager Julie Wason says she’s proud of ABC Maine’s efforts statewide to bring young adults—including women—into the building trades.

“At Blue Rock we want to welcome youth into the construction industry,” Wason says. “ABC Maine is offering them opportunities while providing businesses with the necessary resources to make this happen—including help navigating COVID-19 with proactive solutions to combat any challenges.”

David Lamb, Outside Sales & Marketing Manager & Julie Wason, General Manager, Blue Rock Industries

Other highlights ABC Maine celebrated in 2021 include:

  • Raising $20,000 for its Career and Technical Education Program to grow the construction workforce in Maine’s high schools.
  • Having 23% of ABC Maine companies complete the Safety Training Evaluation Process Program to improve morale and jobsite safety. The goal is 30% completion in 2022.
  • Awarding $4,500 to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Maine through the ABC Maine Cornhole Tournament Fundraiser.
  • Raising $20,000 to support ABC Maine’s political action committee and the Free Enterprise Alliance.

“I look forward to providing support, resources, member events and growth opportunities next year for our remarkable group at ABC Maine,” Staples says.

Goals for 2022

To spur on additional growth in the construction industry, Pollard says ABC Maine is more motivated than ever to bring the latest construction industry information and programming to Maine.

To that end, ABC Maine is committed to recruiting 20 new apprentices for its programs next spring.

“More people in the pipeline will not only develop the construction industry but also stimulate growth of the workforce to curb our current labor shortage,” Pollard says.

ABC Maine also intends to be more vocal in expressing the needs and concerns of builders and contractors. Pollard encourages ABC Maine members to download its Action App on their phones as a fast way to reach lawmakers. With greater visibility, the organization hopes to make an impact on related workplace legislation.

“Let’s continue to lean in and get engaged,” ABC Maine Chairman of the Board of Directors Mitch DeBlois says. “It’s amazing the voice we have together. Let’s keep this going!”

A Salute to Our Sponsors

Of course, no celebratory event of this size and scope could occur without the support of our members.

We are grateful to the following companies for backing the event’s social hour:

  • Albin, Randall & Bennett
  • Berkley Surety Group
  • Blue Rock Industries
  • Cross Insurance
  • Helical Drilling
  • Metro Walls
  • Skillings Shaw & Associates

ABC Maine would also like to thank our annual sponsors for hosting the event:

  • Cianbro
  • Clark Insurance
  • Cross Insurance
  • DeBlois Electric
  • EnviroVantage
  • Machias Savings Bank
  • Metro Walls
  • N.S. Giles Foundations
  • Resource Options
  • Rowley Agency
  • Tradesmen International
  • Travelers

To learn more about ABC Maine membership and get involved, contact Staples at (207) 620-6561 or email her at tami@abcmaine.org.

“This was a marvelous event that has set a positive tone for the upcoming year,” Pollard says. “We have so much to be grateful for as an organization, and the future looks bright.”

To see more photos from the 2021 Annual Holiday Dinner Party, click here.