It was with a mixture of joy and sadness that I retired from my role as President of the Arizona Builders Alliance. There is joy from knowing that my wife, Jacki, and I will have more time for travel, adventure and grand kids. There is sorrow since I know I will miss the great people and interesting challenges my career has afforded me. A sincere “thank you” to all my friends and colleagues with whom I have worked over the years to improve the commercial construction industry. Arizona has changed dramatically in that 40-year span and the industry has changed with it.
When I started in the 1970’s the construction and development industry was a vastly different entity than what we see today. There were half a dozen major general contractors who dominated the Arizona market. The subcontractor community was exemplified by small businesses with limited geographical scopes. Most of the generals and subs were being run by the local founders, whose name was still on the front door. What a change to today! Billion dollar national and international firms with corporate structure, employee ownership and impressive financial and managerial capabilities dominate today’s market. These firms, collectively, are capable of building increasingly complex projects that their predecessors could only have dreamed of.
On the individual level the change has been just as dramatic. The construction industry has always been a career where a tradesman could make it and ultimately own their own profitable business. That is still true today. At the same time, colleges, universities, and the on-going efforts of groups like ABA, have produced a generation of managers up to the task of completing today’s mega-projects.
Thank you for the opportunity to serve this great organization and industry. Leading the ABA and representing you for over 40 years has been the most rewarding experience of my professional life. Your efforts truly help improve our society and peoples’ lives. In my daily travels, it is almost impossible to stop at an intersection and not see a building on which our members worked. Those buildings provide employment, health care, education and entertainment to our society. It could not happen without your talents and willingness to take risk.
I hope that over the years the efforts of myself and others have helped to raise the level of professionalism in the industry and diminish some of those risks. I also hope that along the way we have made the lives of individuals in the industry more productive and fulfilling. Each year the ABA graduates dozens of new future leaders. Our leadership classes, project manager programs and a myriad of other programs are producing the future leaders of the industry. Those leaders are being joined by the next crop of journey workers who have graduated from our apprenticeship programs. Together these great people are turning the plans and specs of an owner’s dream into the reality of a completed project.
In the political world the changes have been as dramatic and equally successful. The ABA has been the focal point for change in nearly every part of Arizona statutes that impact contractors. We have developed and improved the statutes affecting the lien law, prompt payment, labor and public works improvement. It is not unusual for other states to copy the legislative successes of the Arizona Builders Alliance.
Of course, the actual existence of the ABA is something of a success itself. We are one of only two states where chapters of the Associated General Contractors and the Associated Builders and Contractors have merged. A lot of vision and leadership was necessary to make that merger happen. I am confident that skill set continues in the volunteer leaders of ABA and the great staff of the association.
Finally, a task force from the ABA’s board of directors has directed a succession plan to identify my successor. We conducted a nation-wide search that produced nearly 60 resumes. We received many resumes from talented people interested in filling the President’s role at ABA. I am pleased that we have hired Tom Dunn to be the next President of ABA. Tom has previously served as the Vice-President of ABA for Southern Arizona.
Mr. Dunn brings an impressive background of professional accomplishments, political involvement and community service to his new job. Along with the rest of the staff at ABA I am sure the organization, and the commercial construction industry, has its best years ahead of it.
Mark Minter retired on June 30 from his role as President of the Arizona Builders Alliance. Minter held that position for 40 years.