Tag Archives: arizona builders alliance

Photo by Mike Mertes, Az Big Media

ABA: Commercial Construction Poised for Rebound

By Mark Minter, executive director, Arizona Builders Alliance
Joe DuVall, president, ABA, project executive, Kitchell

Sometimes, it looked like the Great Recession was never going to end. Layoffs, shrinking or non-existent margins, projects that bid but never got built all seemed to be the order of the day in recent years.

It looks like the years of frustration may be over. Recent trends in Arizona indicate that construction job numbers are on the rebound and projects with real financing seem to be working their way back into the market. In the last year, Arizona experienced 2-percent growth in construction employment — the first real job growth experienced in construction in a number of years.

Additionally, there are a number of large projects that should be underway in the near future. Projects in hospitality, health care and speculative office/retail are poised to start later this year or in early 2016.

Contractors are reporting healthy rebounds in backlog and prospective projects to bid. With that, the potential for labor shortages is around the corner. Many construction workers retired or left Arizona for greener pastures when the market collapsed in 2009. Contractors will be faced with the challenges of recruiting trade and professional workers to the industry. Once hired, those new employees will need to be trained and acculturated to the construction industry.

The Arizona Builders Alliance offers a variety of programs aimed at helping contractors with workforce training issues. ABA operates apprentice and training programs for electricians, mechanical workers and heavy equipment operators. The programs are offered at Gateway Community College, Central Arizona College and by online correspondence for students on remote or out-of-state projects.

New professional employees to the industry face the same level of need for training. The ABA has an entire series of training in legal, safety, financial and managerial areas. For a complete list of upcoming classes, visit azbuilders.org.


ABA Board of Directors gets new 1st Vice President

The Arizona Builders Alliance announced that Mike Epstein, Owner of Tucson’s Epstein Construction, was recently elected 1st Vice President for the ABA Board of Directors.  This means Mike will serve as the ABA’s 2016 President.

In 1983, at the suggestion of two architecture  professors at the U of A, Mike Epstein sought a summer job as a laborer on a commercial construction project.  It was during this time, Mike decided to make Construction his career and  pursue owning his own construction company.

In 1990, having passed the exam 2 years prior, the dream became a reality. The original business plan was to build custom homes and work from home. In 1993 Epstein Construction built out their first tenant improvement and the rest is history. The company has logged more than 2,500 various projects ranging from small office tenant improvement to new government facilities.

In 2013 Epstein Construction began performing work in the State of California. Throughout the many changes to the economy and the construction industry, the company has maintained its original mission; to provide high quality construction and unprecedented customer service. Throughout the last 25 years, Epstein Construction has seen dramatic changes in the market and has managed to retain a majority of their original clients.

Mike has been an ABA member since its inception in 1994. He has been on the State Board of Directors for the past 3-years and served as a Chariman of Southern Arizona in 2004.  He is a 2013 graduate of the ABA’s Senior Executive Program (SEP).


John Nyman elected to ABA Board of Directors

The Arizona Builders Alliance has welcomed John Nyman, Tucson President for Concord General Contracting, as a newly elected board member of the ABA’s statewide board at the May 29, 2015 board meeting.

John has 38 years of general contracting experience.  John consistently raises the bar on defining the delivery of excellence as indicated by Concord receiving the 2006 and 2010 Cornerstone Award, General Contractor of the Year. In addition, John received the 2011 Construction Industry’s Good Scout Award presented by the Boy Scouts of America and the 2012 Jerry Wyatt Community Service Award presented by the Cornerstone Building Foundation.

John has been actively involved in the ABA since its formation in 1994 and was a Tucson member of the Associated General Contractors since 1984.  He graduated in 1989 from the AGC’s Advanced Management Program.  He served as Southern Arizona Chairman for the ABA from 2005-2006.

Eric Buchholz

Eric Buchholz named regional ABA chairman

Arizona Builders Alliance installed Eric Buchholz, of Sun Mechanical Contracting, as Southern Arizona Chairman.  The new leadership team also includes CORE Construction’s Fred Knapp.  The two were sworn in at the 21st annual ABA Installation Dinner on Friday, April 17th, at the Tucson Country Club.  More than 200 attended the event, including Tucson Mayor Jonathon Rothschild and Marana Mayor Ed Honea.  Outgoing Chairman Brad Lloyd, Lloyd Construction was honored along with the leadership team that included committee chairs and industry advisors.

Mr. Buchholz is the Director of Operations with Sun Mechanical Contracting.  Sun Mechanical Contracting fabricates, installs and maintains mechanical systems for commercial construction, including hospitals, laboratories, universities, hotels, manufacturers, public utilities, defense contractors and others.  Mechanical systems include: plumbing, piping, HVAC, fabricated sheet metal, and fire protection.

Chairman Buchholz recognized Jamie Olding, owner of Building Excellence, LLC, as the 2015 ABA Volunteer of the Year.  Olding led the efforts at last year’s 20th annual Volunteer Day at Faith Lutheran School in Tucson, which included more than $175,000 in renovations.

Buchholz also announced the recipient of the 21st annual ABA Volunteer Day as Tucson Arizona Boys Chorus!  The scope of work and planning will be lead by Volunteer Day Co-Chairs Mark Riggi, Millwork by Design, and Mike Johnson, Chestnut Building and Design.  This year’s event will culminate on Saturday, December 5.


Sweeping changes for contractor tax classifications

The Arizona construction industry is bracing for sweeping changes to the prime contracting tax law in January of 2015. The legislature has enacted changes that range from who must have a tax license to a major switch creating a difference between service and prime contracting. The Arizona Builders Alliance is working with the Department of Revenue and industry allies to understand these changes disseminate information to the industry and prepare needed amendments to the law.

In 2011, the Legislature attempted to create a study committee to address concerns in the prime contracting area. That bill failed, but the governor appointed a study committee in 2012 that looked at prime contracting, service work, tax evasion in prime contracting and enforcement issues in the construction industry.

The study committee recommended that the legislature terminate the prime contracting category and switch to taxing material at its point of sale. That provision was torpedoed by Arizona cities that feared a shifting of taxes payments from where work is being done to where materials are being purchased. However, the efforts of the legislature and the governor’s office had created an impetus for change. The momentum of that effort caused the folks in politics to want to make some changes — and changes they did make!

The pending changes include dual tax treatment for contractors purchasing material for new construction versus service and repair work. Under this proposal, a contractor purchasing material for service work would pay tax on the material at the point of sale.  The same exact material purchased for new construction would be tax exempt until incorporated into a project; where it would be taxed under the prime contracting scheme.  This assumes the contractor would know the intended use of material at the time it was purchased.

Other changes include:

• Removing from prime contracting work done under maintenance, repair, replacement and alteration of existing facilities, so called “MRRA” activities.

• MRRA activities must be done under a contract for the “property owner.” It is unclear whether work contracted with a property manager or tenant is covered or whether multi-tiered work of a subcontractor is included.

• Change orders will be treated as separate contracts.

• Contractors who only do MRRA work only will no longer be required to have a TPT license with the Department of Revenue.

• Projects with elements of prime contracting and MRRA will be considered as MRRA projects as long as the prime contracting element remains less than 15 percent of receipts.

The Arizona Builders Alliance plans to introduce legislation to address several of these areas. One of the proposed changes would address contractors doing both prime contracting and MRRA work. The change would allow those contractors to purchase all material tax exempt and then treat the material to the tax status of the project in which the material is incorporated. The ABA is working with the League of Cities, Associated General Contractors, Construction Financial Managers Association and others to develop legislation for next year’s session.





Mark Minter
Executive director
Arizona Builders Alliance

Duval_Joe (2)

Joe Duvall of Kitchell installed as ABA president

The Arizona Builders Alliance (ABA), a statewide construction trade association formed as an alliance of the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) and the Associated General Contractors (AGC), welcomed Joe Duvall as the 2015 ABA President.

Duvall, Project Executive of Kitchell Construction, has been in the commercial building industry since 1985.

Duvall joined Kitchell right out of college 30 years ago. Since his early days as an estimator and project engineer, he has played a key role on many of Kitchell’s flagship projects including Howard Hughes Parkway Office, Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, Flagstaff Medical Center, Motorola, Peccole Nevada Association, and Mountainview Hospital, plus scores of others representing hundreds of millions of dollars of work. From the very beginning, he has embodied the firm’s purpose and values of honesty and integrity, quality of work, and customer satisfaction. These qualities have made him the consummate internal operations auditor for the company as he travels from jobsite to jobsite sharing his know-how and providing counsel. Born and raised in Texas, Joe’s construction journey has taken him all over the country, from Arizona to Nevada (where he spent 15 years, seven of which running Kitchell’s Nevada office) to California to Colorado to Kansas to Tennessee and, full circle back to his roots, to Texas.

Today, as Project Executive, he continues to beat the drum as an advocate for Kitchell’s clients and for corporate fiscal responsibility.

Joe was installed as the ABA’s President at a February installation dinner held in Phoenix.  He is a 2002 Graduate of the Arizona Builders Alliance’s Leadership Development Forum (LDF) and has sat on the Board of Directors for over 4-years.

The ABA exists for the purpose of advancing the productivity and profitability of our members and the construction industry.   Celebrating its 21st year in 2015, the ABA is proud to service the construction industry through advocacy, education, and networking opportunities in the state of Arizona. 

ABA logo

Nelson Brown elected to ABA Board of Directors

Nelson Brown

Nelson Brown

The Arizona Builders Alliance welcomed Nelson Brown, president of J.B. Steel, as a newly elected board member of the ABA’s statewide board at the January 2015 board meeting.  J.B. Steel is an AISC certified fabricator and erector of structural and miscellaneous steel servicing Arizona.

Nelson earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Prior to purchasing J.B. Steel in 2004, he spent over twenty years in a variety of engineering and general management positions with Corning, Inc., Honeywell and Fisher Scientific including assignments in the U.S.A., Germany, Belgium and the U.K.

Nelson has been actively involved in the ABA since 2004 and is a former board chairman of the ABA’s Southern Arizona Division.  In addition to serving on the Southern Arizona Advisory Board, Nelson participates in the annual Southern Arizona Volunteer Day, where approximately 40 J.B. Steel employees come together to help ABA give back to the community.

Justin Kelton promoted at McCarthy Building Companies


Justin Kelton

Justin Kelton

McCarthy Building Companies Inc. recently promoted Justin Kelton to executive vice president of Arizona construction in the Southwest Division.

In his new role, Kelton will oversee operations and business development in airport, municipal, healthcare, commercial development, solar and renewable energy, parking, higher-education, K-12 and job order contracting construction projects in Arizona. He is also responsible for new market sector expansion in the state. The Arizona team that Kelton leads includes approximately 100 employees.

“Justin’s business development savvy, community focus, and drive has helped McCarthy forge numerous valuable new relationships over the course of his career, particularly in the education and commercial development sectors,” said Bo Calbert, president of McCarthy’s Southwest Division. “He is a proven leader who personally demonstrates that we go “all in” for our clients, which sets a great example for everyone on the team.”

Kelton’s career in construction began as a laborer. He joined McCarthy in 2001 after serving as a U.S. Marine, and he has received several promotions over the past decade. He earned a Civil and Environmental Certificate from Vermont Technical College.

Kelton serves as a board member for the Arizona Builders’ Alliance and is on the American Heart Association of Arizona’s Executive Leadership Team. He is a member of the American Society of Civil Engineers and actively participates in McCarthy Heart Hats, the volunteer-based community outreach arm of McCarthy Building Companies.

Mike Specht elected to ABA board

Mike Specht, Courtesy of Arizona Builders' Alliance

Mike Specht, Courtesy of Arizona Builders’ Alliance

The Arizona Builders’ Alliance (ABA), a statewide construction trade association, formed as an alliance of the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) and the Associated General Contractors (AGC) welcomed Mike Specht as a newly elected board member at the September board meeting.

Specht joined Minard-Ames Insurance Services LLC in 1999. He is a vice president in charge of the Fidelity & Surety Bond Department.  Mike earned his undergraduate degree in business administration and then obtained his MBA. He has been active in the surety industry since 1984. Specht’s focus is on bid, performance and payment bonds for contractors.

Specht has been long-time ABA member. He is a 2002 graduate of the ABA’s Leadership Development Forum (LDF), has participated on the Education Committee for years and has served on the judging panel for the LDF program’s final case study presentation for 10 years. “The ABA feels fortunate to have a such a tremendous new addition to the board,” says Assistant Executive Director Erica Lange.

Kortman Electric Takes ABA Leadership Into Boardroom

From left to right: Fran Martin, Ken Kortman, Kerwin Kortman and Karl Kortman. Photo by Shavon Rose.

From left to right: Fran Martin, Ken Kortman, Kerwin Kortman and
Karl Kortman. Photo by Shavon Rose.

The Arizona Builders’ Alliance represents the collective knowledge of more than 350 contractors, suppliers and professional service firms who work in the commercial construction industry. Membership means the ability to tap into and grow with fellow leaders in the industry. For one Arizona company, ABA’s leadership classes are a family affair.

The four owners of Kortman Electric (KEI) are three brothers — Ken, Kerwin and Karl Kortman — and their brother-in-law Fran Martin. They have worked in the industry between 19 and 32 years each and have been members of the ABA since October 1995. The co-owners have made an example of enrolling in ABA’s educational opportunities to the benefit of their company as well as their leadership roles in the ABA.

KEI’s owners and several employees have been through ABA’s management education classes — the year-long Leadership Development Forum (LDF) and quarterly Senior Executive Program (SEP) and attended numerous seminars and webinars. Several of KEI’s field employees have also participated in ABA’s electrical apprenticeship training program.

ABA membership, the Kortman brothers say, has contributed to the success of the company due to employee involvement in leadership and apprenticeship programs. The networking events and the association’s commitment to advocating for members through legislation are additional benefits, they say.

classes“I had heard about the LDF program for many years, but when I attended the first graduation luncheon back in 2007 and saw how many alumni there were, and the impact it was having on their companies, I knew we needed to get involved in the program,” says President and CEO Ken Kortman.

The LDF is a 12-week course that meets on the first Friday of every month. Enrollment is limited to 30 registrants and only one person per firm may be enrolled per year. The class is designed to prepare industry professionals for future leadership roles within their companies and the ABA. It addresses topics such as public speaking, construction finance, dealing with difficult people and legislative and political process. Karl Kortman, CFO of KEI, is currently enrolled in LDF and the only one in the family who hasn’t completed the program.

Ken has worked in commercial construction for 32 years. As the most-experienced brother, he has completed the LDF and SEP programs and is a current ABA board member. “The 2013 SEP class provided some great insight into visionary thinking, communication, delegation, leadership and succession planning,” he says. Familial competition “never” comes up. “Except bragging rights for winners of the LDF presentation!” says Ken. Kerwin Kortman, vice president and director of business development, is quick to add that he and Martin were on the winning team.

“I suppose that there may be a little unspoken competition,” Karl says. “I know that both Kerwin and Fran were in the winning groups for the LDF case project. Ken’s group didn’t win, so I know win or lose, I won’t be alone.”

Kerwin, who has 29 years of experience in commercial construction, completed the LDF classes in 2011 and has plans to attend the SEP program. He also served on the ABA Legislative Committee and Community Services Board. Similar to Ken, Kerwin found the LDF class most useful. “The subject matter that was presented throughout the year-long class was presented in such a way that you could apply it to your own career regardless of the size or your position within your company,” he says.

Martin, director of safety for KEI and member of ABA’s Safety Committee, has been in commercial construction for 19 years. He completed his LDF class in 2013 and plans to attend and SEP session. “So far, the LDF class has been the most useful,” Martin says. “It helped me understand how different personalities can shape and mold a business in their own unique way.” “KEI is much more involved in the ABA after going through the leadership class,” Kerwin says. “We recognize the more you participate serving on different boards and committees, the more you gain. Being involved in the ABA has been a great way to build long-lasting, valuable relationships with other members and we continue to benefit each year.”


Ready For The Rebound!

As the U.S. and Arizona markets improve, commercial contractors remain optimistic about the pending rebound. In anticipation of that growth, the Arizona Builders’ Alliance (ABA) has retooled its strategic plan to focus on a more modern, streamlined approach to membership services.

Mark Minter

Mark Minter

Rob Caylor

Rob Caylor

Founded in 1994, by the merger of the Building Chapter of the Associated General Contractors and the Associated Builders and Contractors, ABA has focused on management education, craft training and government relations since its inception. Last year, the ABA’s board of directors spent six months developing a more modern approached to services. While the core of services has not changed, the delivery system, approach and coordination of programs and events has undergone a radical transformation.

Recognizing the need for a more effective system of delivering educational programs the ABA is now using webinars for programs on a monthly basis. The webinar format allows presenters and attendees to be located anywhere and still able to participate in a program. Employees on remote job sites, offices in other towns and anybody not wanting to fight cross town traffic can now participate in events. Attendance at events is up and more members and different levels in firms are involved.

Craft training is on the rebound as specialty contractors rebuild their workforce. More emphasis is now being placed on recruitment and retention. An open house last fall at GateWay Community College exposed more than two dozen contractors to the classroom training efforts of ABA.

Individual visits with contractors are getting the word out on craft training. ABA has begun to coordinate workforce development efforts with its member firms. Individual ABA members are “adopting” neighborhood high schools and spending time there in the classroom, lecturing students or taking students on tours of nearby job sites.

In the government relations arena, ABA recently hired one of Arizona’s top lobbying firms to represent it with state and local government. Triadvocates is now representing ABA and the timing of its hiring turned out to be perfect. Triadvocates helped pass legislation in the 2014 session that will assure Arizona retains control of OSHA inspections and not lose that authority to the federal government.

With all the new activities and approach also comes a new look: The ABA’s website has been retooled and brought up to date. There is now more information in a more presentable format. The new website allows members to register and pay for events, download old webinars, research legal issues and follow trends. Follow the commercial construction industry by visiting http://azbuilders.org

Sundt’s Marty Hedlund elected to ABA board of directors

Marty Hedlund

Marty Hedlund

The Arizona Builders’ Alliance (ABA), a statewide construction trade association, formed as an alliance of the Associated Builders & Contractors (ABC) and the Associated General Contractors (AGC) welcomed Martin R. (Marty) Hedlund, P.E., DBIA as a newly elected board member.  Hedlund joined Sundt Construction, Inc. in 1984 and currently serves as the Profit Center Manager for the Southwest District responsible for all Sundt’s vertical construction in Arizona, New Mexico, West Texas and Colorado. Hedlund has served in the roles of field engineer, project engineer, project superintendent, project manager and project director for more than 30 years constructing offices, corporate headquarters, data centers, schools and other commercial projects.

A Registered Professional Civil Engineer in Arizona, Hedlund received his B.S. in Civil Engineering from the Stanford University. Hedlund has widely presented on several topics including Alternative Project Delivery, Lean Construction and Building Information Modeling (BIM).

His industry involvement includes six years on the Design Build Institute of America National Certification Board which is responsible for upholding the standards of the DBIA Certified Professional designation as well as the testing and application processes. In 2011, Hedlund served as Chair of that board. Hedlund has also been active in the Arizona Builder’s Alliance (ABA) for many years serving on the Legislative Committee and being active in building industry education and public affairs. He is a graduate of the ABA’s Leadership Development Forum (LDF) and the Senior Executive Program (SEP).

Hedlund is an avid golfer, husband of 25 years to wife, Ellen, proud father of two teenagers, and happy to be giving back to an industry that has given so much to him.

The ABA exists for the purpose of advancing the productivity and profitability of our members and the construction industry.   Celebrating its 20th year in 2014, the ABA is proud to service the construction industry through advocacy, education, and networking opportunities in the state of Arizona.

Jeff Hooper named ABA’s director of apprenticeship and training

Jeff Hooper, ABAJeff Hooper has been appointed the director of apprenticeship and training for the Arizona Builders’ Alliance, according to ABA Executive Director Mark Minter. Hooper will oversee the day-to-day operations of the ABA, AGC Education Fund and its programs in Phoenix, Tucson and Casa Grande.

Hooper comes to the ABA from Seattle Wash., by way of San Diego, Calif., where he has spent more than 15 years in the education industry serving as an administrator, classroom teacher and consultant. Hooper has worked extensively in online curriculum development, course design, staff development and instructional design. He also owned and operated ReignMaker LLC, a real estate development company specializing in home relocation, remodel, and new home construction. His passion is to show contractors how they can increase their bottom-line through employee training.

Hooper also has an extensive background in construction employee safety and is looking forward to helping construction become a safer and more profitable industry.  In addition to helping ABA expand its safety training, he has creative new approaches to the types of training available for workers on remote sites and in other states.

A Leader by Example: Carol McMullen, ABA

Screen Shot 2013-07-26 at 12.01.41 PMBy Mark Minter

Carol McMullen became part of the construction industry in February 1983 when she was hired by the Building Chapter of AGC, the predecessor of the Arizona Builders’ Alliance. She has announced her retirement from ABA at year’s end.
The association was looking for a new staff person to assist with existing services and to expand the area of management education in the early 1980’s. Management education was a new concept 30 years ago for a trade association that had previously focused on collective bargaining, safety and lobbying. Carol’s background in education appeared to be a great fit.
Today, Carol’s imprint is on every aspect of the ABA’s education efforts. There are hundreds of employees whose careers have been advanced and companies served by the educational programs that Carol has fostered. The most notable of these efforts has been the Leadership Development Forum (LDF) begun more than 20 years ago.
The LDF was created to help operations and technical personnel advance into management and executive positions. The construction industry attracts and produces technically proficient people. Producing great managers is a challenge.
Contractors were recognizing that the old mentor-protégé approach to advancing careers wouldn’t produce enough new leaders. LDF was created to produce a stream of new leaders proficient in the areas of financial management, strategic planning, understanding human resources, business development and public speaking.
Over the years Carol has developed, nurtured and improved the program. Enrollment demand is so great that companies are limited to one employee per year. Both the AGC and the Associated Builders and Contractors have recognized LDF as the country’s outstanding management education program.
Wink Ames (Minard Ames INSURICA) has been involved with ABA for more than 30 years.
“The LDF program is the best management training program that the ABA has,” he says. “We have been doing this for 20 years and, as a result of Carol’s efforts and leadership, many of today’s construction industry leaders came though her program.”
Carol’s personal touch has been evident in other aspects of the ABA’s programs as well. Conventions used to be a rather dull series of reports and updates on internal aspects of the association. Carol and the ABA’s convention committee converted the convention to an educational event with outstanding speakers, spouse involvement and interactive challenges for participants.
As ABA Executive Director, I have witnessed  Carol’s impact.
It goes beyond just the quality of the programs. Carol has brought a personal touch to everything she does and all the people with whom she deals. She genuinely enjoys the folks in ABA and they can tell that she does. Our membership is going to miss her, but not nearly as much as I will.
Barry Chasse of Chasse Building Team has known Carol since the early 1990’s.
“I don’t know how or why, but because she is so passionate about the ABA, Carol convinced me to dress as Marilyn Monroe and sing ‘Happy Birthday Mr. President’ to incoming president Eric Hedlund.”
The search continues for photographs of that event.
“Many people in the construction industry, me included, can attribute our personal success to programs we’ve taken at ABA,” says Randy Eskelson of Schuff Steel Southwest. “Those programs were developed, refined and promoted by Carol. I don’t remember a time she hasn’t been part of our industry. What will we do without her?”
Carol has never been content to rest on previous successes. In the past two years she helped the industry implement a test preparation program for individuals seeking to pass the Certified Professional Constructor exam given by the American Institute of Constructors (AIC). As a result of those efforts Arizona had more than 100 individuals taking and passing that exam; more than any other state in the country. She was awarded the inaugural Stephen B. Byrne Industry Achievement Award recognizing her contributions to that success.
Carol’s retirement won’t be all leisure and relaxation. There are lots of friends, family, church and community events that will need her attention. She and her husband, Bob, have two grown daughters and six grandchildren living close by. The six grand kids, ages 2-8, are all looking forward to seeing more of grandma.

Erica Lange

Arizona Builders' Alliance Hires Erica Lange As Assistant Executive Director


The Arizona Builders’ Alliance has hired Erica Lange as assistant executive director, replacing Carol McMullen, who will be retiring at the end of 2013 and has been with the association for more than 30 years.

The ABA is a trade association that exists for the purpose of advancing the productivity and profitability of its members and the construction industry.

Lange will be responsible for advancing the recruitment and retention of association members, enhancing the ABA’s social media and branding programs, and working on  public relations efforts. She will also be working on events, seminars, and educational programs offered by the association.

Lange spent 16 years with McGraw-Hill Construction, providing clients with marketing solutions through advertising, events, and online options with Engineering News Record in a 4-state region.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in marketing from the University of Wisconsin- Whitewater and a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the University of Phoenix.

The Arizona Builders’ Alliance is a non-profit trade assoiation representing approximately 350 construction companies. Membership includes contractors, subcontractors, and affiliates.

The association’s efforts help members stay abreast of current legislation and provides advocacy for legislation. It also provides members with networking opportunities, educational programs, and craft training.


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Arizona Builders' Alliance Backpack Drive

Remember the excitement you felt when you went back-to-school shopping and got a new ruler, pencil, crayons, pencil box, paper and backpack? With your support the Arizona Builders’ Alliance Community can provide children with that same feeling. You can help these children and their families by giving them the tools they need to learn and grow.

Collect donated items at your office in a “Back to School” collection box in a common area like the lobby. To request signage for a collection box, email Nita (nornelas@azbuilders.org) or Debbie (dcarlson@azbuilders.org). Donations will be accepted at both ABA offices through Friday, July 19, 2013. If necessary, you may also call ABA at 602-274-8222 for them to pick up the collected supplies at your location.

Your donations will go to those who need it most.

Suggested Back-to-School items:

Glue Sticks
Hand Sanitizer

Deliver donations by July 19 to:

1825 W. Adams
Phoenix, AZ 85007


1661 N. Swan, #144
Tucson, AZ 85712


ABA's Mark Minter Receives Distinguished Alumni Award


The Construction Management Department at Northern Arizona University presented Mark Minter, Executive Director of the Arizona Builders’ Alliance, with its Distinguished Alumni of the Year Award.

The award was presented at the Annual Demolition Ball in April.

A 1975 N.A.U. graduate, Minter was recognized for outstanding contributions to the industry, community and the university.

Over the years Minter has helped to develop curriculum, connect interns with employers, develop funding for competitions and extra-curricular activities, serve on faculty interview committees and supported the growth and development of the CM Department at NAU. He has served on the Industry Advisory Board of the Department since the early 1990’s.

In presenting the award the Department Chairman, Stephen Mead, noted that Minter and the Arizona Builders’ Alliance were instrumental in saving the CM program in the late 1990’s. Budget cuts had caused the university to consider “axing” the program.

Minter and others from industry met with the president of the university and convinced her that the CM program was needed and highly valued by contractors.



Building A Legacy: Wink Ames Reflects on Long Construction Career in Arizona


Danielle Feroleto, a regular contributor to azbigmedia.com, sat down with William “Wink” Ames shortly after Gov. Jan Brewer recognized and acknowledged the more than 40 years of service to the commercial construction industry he has contributed in a formal State Proclamation.

Ames, one of the founders of Minard-Ames Insurance Services/Insurica, was also the recent recipient of the Arizona Builders’ Alliance (ABA) prestigious “S.I.R. Award” last month. His exemplification of the qualities of Skill, Integrity and Responsibility made him the unanimous choice for AGC’s Distinguished Service Award.

The S.I.R. Award was first given in March 1976 to President Gerald Ford for his leadership in matters affecting construction.  Since that time AGC and its chapters have presented S.I.R. awards to highlight notable achievements related to construction.

rsz_wink_the_pilot>> You need to know: “I am not retiring. I would like to work as long as I can contribute and make a difference.  I think I am doing that, so retirement won’t be any time soon.”

>> Years in the business: “I started in the insurance and bonding business for contractors when I was 26, so 53 years.”

>> Have you always worked in Arizona? “No. I started working for a bond company as an intern in San Francisco and then moved to Lake Tahoe and Reno where we were the only firm in town for contractors. We then started in Arizona as Corroon & Black—Miller & Ames and the first accounts were Tanner Companies and Sundt.

“We built the business from there. I did move to Los Angeles for 9 months and met with my father to discuss my career path. After that conversation I recognized I needed to try this business on my own to really get somewhere. I moved back to Phoenix and started Minard-Ames with Steve Minard over 30 years ago. Our first account was Johnson Carlier. We got this account on a Saturday and the rest is history.

>> Share a favorite business story: “As I look back on the evolution of our firm, I am very proud to have been a part of how we have grown from a small little endeavor of almost just Steve Minard and me into what has evolved into a larger, more experienced insurance brokerage and bonding agency company.

“This goes back to bringing on Blake Johnson, in the very beginning, and adding Mike Specht as we were able to grow our bond department.  Now, as we progress into the next generation of young professionals, with Andrew Atkinson and Eric Pach, we have become a mature, competent construction industry specialist with the solid reputation of being the helpful resource that our customers and friends want and need.

” I am proud to have been a part of this and hope that, as people reflect on my participation, they will point to the organization that I helped build.”

>> What concerns you about the future of construction? “I am extremely concerned about highway funding nationally and in Arizona. It was predicted that “everything is going to get bigger” — and isn’t that true today — government is getting bigger, companies are getting bigger — that changes the landscape out there. The boutique firms will be able to exist but this trend is changing. It will be all right, it will just be different.

>> What excites you about the future? “We love the small emerging contractors.  Working with them really gets my juices flowing.  On the other hand, the firm is now working with larger contractors with more sophisticated needs.  We are doing things, now, that we would never have dreamed we would be doing, five years ago.”

>> Biggest mistake? “Early in the firm’s history a very talented young employee left his employer to start his own business.  We had been helping him get organized and situated for many months prior to him leaving his employer.  After he had started his business his former employer gave me the choice of either working with him or with the new business that was started by the employee.

“The mistake I made was bowing to this pressure and telling the new business that we had to withdraw as their insurance broker and bonding agent.  As I look back, what I should have done was tell the contactor that if I couldn’t do business with both of them, it would be okay for him to find another broker.”

>> Greatest success? “Teaching the finance in construction course, probably 250 times in the last 40 years, has changed how many contractors have done business.  Even though we use finance to teach this material, it really uses finance as a method for learning the operations systems used by contractors at the job level.  There are many contractors who have told me that the changes they have made, because of what they learned in this workshop, are a large part of their success.”

>> Who have been your mentors? “John Lamberson, he worked with my father and died about 6 months ago. He was knowledgeable and set expectations — challenged me to rise to the expectation. Also, Bill Badger, he puts perspective into the business — he also has the ability to act as a colonel and when he needs to act as a friend, he does.

>> Best business advice you can give? “The construction industry is a business, not a trade.  The entry barriers are almost nonexistent, which has made it necessary for successful contactors to also become successful business people, just like in other industries.

“Our industry has replaced the restaurant industry as having the highest failure rate.  Dr. Tom Schleifer says, wisely, that a good contractor needs to do three things, and they all need to be done well.  Tom’s 3 things are – get the work – build the work – and do the business of construction.  No one knows better than Tom Schleifer that most of the failures in our industry are a result of failures in the business of construction.  This is a business and we need to run it like we are running a business.”

>> Little known fact about you?: “My name is Wink because my name is William, a family name, but the nickname came from the old nursery rhyme ‘Wee Willie Winkie’… Runs through the town, upstairs and downstairs in his nightgown.”

>> Interesting fact?: “I was a fighter pilot in the Air Force in 1956 for 4 years.”

>> Hobbies or interests?: “Fly fishing.  I have been to Alaska, British Columbia, twice and Chile, twice.  I am also going to Wyoming in June of this year.  I, also, have two kids, one with a PhD and the other working on her dissertation for her PhD.


Lorraine Bergman, Justin Kelton & Danielle Feroleto

Arizona Builders' Alliance Announces 2013 President, New Board Members

The Arizona Builders’ Alliance (ABA) named a new president to lead the Board of Directors and welcomed two new members to join the board.

The entire board of the statewide organization was sworn in at an annual dinner banquet held recently in Tempe.

Lorraine Bergman, president, Caliente Construction was sworn in as the association’s President, serving a one-year term as an officer of the ABA.

The new members joining the ABA board of directors are: Justin Kelton, director, McCarthy Building Companies Inc. and Danielle Feroleto, president, Small Giants.

Additional officers of the 350-member association include: Rob Caylor, president, Caylor Construction as First Vice President; Rob Lafferty, president, RML Electric as Second Vice President; and Ken Kellaney, senior vice president, National Bank of Arizona as Treasurer.

“The Arizona Builders’ Alliance owes its continued success to the strength and leadership of our board of directors. This is an exceptional time for these leaders to provide new perspectives and guidance to serve Arizona’s construction industry.” Executive Director Mark Minter said.

Continuing ABA leadership are directors, serving three-year terms: Dave Elrod, DPR Construction; Preston Achilles, Achilles AC Systems; Ed White, TD Industries; Mark Fleming, Corbins Electric; Chris Watts, Sunstate Equipment; Russ Korcuska, Sundt Construction; Joe Duvall, Kitchell; Mike Epstein, Epstein Construction; Jim Kazal, Kazal Fire Protection; Wes McClure, Wilson Electric; Angie Ziegler, General Air Control; Ken Kortman, Kortman Electric; Ruth Brown, Hensel Phelps; and Michael Holden, Holden Willits PLC.

Life Directors are: Allison Lombard, LegalShield; John Krecek, JFK Electrical Contracting; Kate Rakoci, Jack of All Trades; Randy Eskelson, Schuff Steel Management SW; Wink Ames, Minard-Ames Insurance Services; Todd Scholer, Comfort Systems USA; John Murdough, Pittman & Murdough; and Joe Kelleher, FCI Constructors.



ABA Christmas Toy Drive to Benefit Sunshine Acres' Kids

It’s hard to believe that Christmas is just around the corner. As this festive time approaches, memories come alive, homes are filled with friends and family and holiday cheer.

However, did you know that there are hundreds of children and young adults around the Valley who have been abandoned, orphaned or removed from their homes due to domestic violence, neglect, parental drug abuse or encarceration?

This year the Arizona Builders’ Alliance Community Service Board is collecting toys to benefit the Sunshine Acres Community and Sunshine Group Homes organizations.

This year’s drive will provide goods and services to brighten the holidays of 330+ kids and young adults (ages 6 to 18).

The Sunshine Project helps to provide these 210 boys and 110 girls a safe and stable environment so that they can heal, grow, and eventually re-enter society as whole citizens.

Please help by donating new unwrapped toys or games. There is a need for items in all age groups; in English and Spanish; with the greatest need for those ranging from 4-18 years of age.

Donations will be accepted at the ABA office, 1825 W. Adams, Phoenix, through Dec. 17.

The Valley’s general contractors are also participating via a “Project Bid.”

Contact the ABA at cmcmullen@azbuilders.org for more information.





Metro Phoenix Ranks No. 3 Nationwide in Adding New Construction Jobs

Metro Phoenix added more new construction jobs during the past year than all but two other metro areas as employment in the local industry hit a 4-year high, according to an analysis released by the Associated General Contractors of America.

Association officials noted, however, that the local construction industry employs less than half the people it did six years ago, and that at current rates of growth, it would take over a decade to return to 2006 levels.

“For an areas that was once the poster child for the construction downturn, Phoenix is finally heading in the right direction,” said Brian Turmail, spokesman for the Associated General Contractors of America. “Make no mistake, though, this area’s construction workforce is still just a fraction of what it was six years ago.”

Turmail said that Metro Phoenix added 6,300 construction jobs between August 2011 and August 2012, a 7% increase. He added that, out of the 337 metro areas the association tracks, only the Los Angeles and Houston areas added more construction jobs during the same time. There are 90,800 people working in construction in Metro Phoenix today, up from 84,500 a year ago.

Even though Metro Phoenix is adding new construction jobs, however, the years-long construction downturn that hit the Valley and the rest of the state has still eliminated more than half the construction jobs that existed in the area in 2006.

Turmail noted that Phoenix has lost 94,000 construction jobs since August 2006, a 51% decline. He added that across Arizona, over half of the 244,300 construction jobs that existed in June 2006 have disappeared.

The spokesman said that Phoenix was not alone in adding construction jobs during the past year. He noted that Tucson added 300 construction jobs during the past year, a 2% increase, while Yuma added 100, a 5% increase.

Nationwide, 130 out of 337 metro areas added new construction jobs between August 2011 and August 2012. But he cautioned that 164 metro areas lost construction jobs during the same time period while employment levels were stagnant in another 43 areas.

Turmail announced the new employment figures during a visit to a local construction career fair, where firms are working to encourage residents to consider construction careers. The industry association spokesman noted that construction work is a skills-based profession that requires training and practice.

He said that was why the association was working with its statewide building chapter, the Arizona Builders’ Alliance, and other groups to push education officials to support skills-based education programs locally and across the country.

“These programs give students another path to success by allowing them to learn essential skills while using their hands,” Turmail noted. “And they prepare them for the high-paying construction jobs that local firms are working to fill.”


AZRE Newsmakers

Newsmakers: AZRE Magazine May-June 2012

Find out about Arizona’s newsmakers for May/June 2012

newsmakers - canada, oconnell, poulin» McCarthy Building Companies has appointed Scott Canada to the merit review committee for the SunShot Concentrating Solar Power R&D funding opportunity solicitation in Phoenix. The initiative is an aggressive research and development plan led by the U.S. Department of Energy and aimed at developing solar technologies to meet a levelized cost of energy target of 6 cents/kWh without subsidy by 2020. McCarthy also promoted two associates to project directors. They are Lee O’Connell in Albuquerque and Steve Poulin in Tempe.

newsmakers - morrow» Voit Real Estate Services appointed Donald Morrow as managing director of the firm’s Phoenix operations. Morrow will oversee all aspects of Voit’s operations in the Phoenix market, including brokerage, asset and property management. Prior to joining Voit, Morrow served as a partner at Biltmore Holdings.

» Sundt Construction chairman and former CEO J. Doug Pruitt was named among the recipients of the prestigious 2012 Golden Beaver Award. Pruitt received the Management Award from The Beavers, a heavy civil engineering construction association. He retired as CEO of Sundt in September 2011, but remains involved with the company serving as chairman. Sundt also added Tom Auay-Fuay to serve as project manager in the Southwest. He will concentrate his efforts on preconstruction activities relating to mining and industrial construction projects.

» Commercial Properties Inc. (CPI) hired John B. Daley, who brings 30 years of commercial, retail, office and industrial real estate experience. Daley has coordinated some of the largest commercial real estate deals in Arizona. CPI also was selected by CoStar Group as recipient of a CoStar Power Broker Award. In addition, four brokers won individual awards as Top Industrial Leasing Brokers. They include Leroy Breinholt, Darin Edwards, Cal Johnson and Eric Jones.

» The Arizona Builders’ Alliance was honored by the Associated General Contractors of America as a 2011 Community Award recipient, one of 13 organizations recognized as the construction industry’s best charitable work. The ABA Community Board supported four projects in 2011.

newsmaker - byrd» Lincoln Property Company hired Tina Byrd as property manager in the Desert West Region office in Phoenix. Byrd is responsible for managing the newly renamed and remodeled Camelback Square.

» CBRE announced that Ike Isaacson has been named the new leader for its Tucson office and the Southern Arizona market. Isaacson has nearly 15 years of commercial real estate experience in the Tucson market, specializing in the leasing and sale of office, medical and R&D buildings.

» Erin Harper joined Alliance Project Advisors as senior project manager in Phoenix. Prior to joining Alliance Project Advisors, Harper worked with CBRE Global Corporate Services on site at American Express’ TRS Division since 1996. She has more than 20 years of project management experience.

newsmakers - gaylord, hawks, bladine» Jennings, Haug & Cunningham expanded its legal services with the addition of a prominent Arizona environmental law practice group. The three attorneys include senior partner Karen Gaylord, Ronnie Hawks and Janis Bladine. They have been representing clients in environmental law.

» Scottsdale-based MC Companies has announced the new joint venture with Phoenix-based Clark-Wayland Construction. This venture will focus mainly on development and construction of new multi-family projects in Phoenix and Tucson. The combined company has more than 75 years construction experience and has built more than 25,000 units in Arizona.

newspaper - plapp» Colliers International announced that senior associate Danny Plapp joined the office properties team of Charles Miscio, Greg McMillian and Niki Ward. Plapp will focus on procuring new tenants for property owners, while working with the specific needs of users. He joins Colliers from LevRose Commercial Real Estate in Scottsdale. Plapp has more than four years of commercial real estate experience, specializing in office properties.

» Carlyle Development Group announced a leasing and management team for the newly acquired Metrocenter in Phoenix. This team includes the addition of Brent Meszaros as general manager, real estate veteran Anita Blackford as senior VP of leasing, and locally based Phoenix Commercial Advisors as Metrocenter’s exclusive retail broker representative.

» Gensler added three new associates to its Phoenix staff. They include Jennifer Gozzi, interior designer; Lori Stenguist Johnson, project coordinator; and Stephanie Gomez, marketing manager.

AZRE Magazine May/June 2012

July/August 2012 - AZRE Magazine

AZRE Magazine July/August 2012

AZRE Magazine July/August 2012

Looking down on an industry that is finally starting to look up

Peter MadridI flew out of Sky Harbor International Airport recently and my bird’s eye view of construction cranes reaching to the sky around the Valley offered further proof that the industry is making a comeback.

Work is moving along on a new student housing project for ASU students attending school in Downtown Phoenix. Although the Kimpton Palomar Hotel opened in June at CityScape, a remaining crane stands guard, ready to spring back into action. (My guess is that upscale residences could be next).

And as the airplane made a turn to head south, workmen on the ground in Chandler resembled industrious ants at the new Phoenix Premium Outlets next to Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino.

These projects are not only crucial to the major general contractors in the state. They are also the lifeblood of the many Arizona subcontractors, some of which are featured in our annual Arizona Builders’ Alliance supplement.

The July/August issue of AZRE also profiles Arizona Commercial Real Estate Women, better known as AZCREW. Formed in 1985, AZCREW “promotes the advancement of professionals in commercial real estate by providing high-level networking opportunities, connections and access to decision-makers within the Phoenix market.” The local chapter also does a wonderful job giving back to the community.

Finally, our annual statewide real estate update focuses on Tucson.

As my return flight began its descent, I challenged the passenger sitting in the window seat across the aisle to a spirited game of “Name That Property Type.” Four points for medical office; 3 for multi-family, 2 for a retail center and 1 for industrial.

I skunked him, 21-0. After all, if the editor of a commercial real estate magazine can’t identify a medical office building or industrial warehouse from the air, who can?

Editors Letter Signature

Peter Madrid, Editor

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