January 9, 2017
Last Chance to Register for the Networking Event of the Year, the AGC-GM Annual Meeting!
Tuesday, January 17th, 2017 in the Grand Ballroom of the Wisconsin Club

All AGC Members are invited to join us on Tuesday, January 17th at the Grand Ballroom of the Wisconsin Club to celebrate another outstanding year in construction in the Greater Milwaukee Area, meet the 2017 Board of Directors, and enjoy the fellowship of our Member colleagues and friends.  This event is one of the most valuable networking opportunities we present all year.  With upwards of half the attendees representing one of our 40 General Contractor Members, you are bound to make some valuable connections!  We have repeatedly heard of lasting professional relationships which have been developed during the reception hour and dinner.

Don't delay, register today!  You must RSVP by this Thursday, January 12th to attend!  Please contact Kim Jalalian at kjalalian@agc-gm.org or 414-778-4100.

Share this article: Twitter Facebook LinkedIn
Return to Top
Reminder: CLC Kick-Off Feb. 9th; Registration & Sponsorships Opening Soon!

Don't forget to mark your calendars for Thursday, February 9th, when the AGC Construction Leadership Council will be hosting our Annual Kick-Off  Event!

This year, we are changing venues to the new Mitchell Park Conservatory Domes Greenhouse Annex , where we will be hearing from Keith Hawk , father of former Green Bay linebacker, A.J. Hawk.  What lessons in leadership did he teach his son to drive his success?  How did he demonstrate being a leader as his son took what some parents might consider a hobby or after-school activity, and turned it into his career?  Keith will share his perspectives as a man of business and a father in his keynote, "Being a Leader is a Lot Like Being a Great Dad."

Keep a sharp eye out for the registration form coming soon!  We have put together some great Sponsorship packages for you to take advantage of as well!

About the speaker: Keith Hawk is a 37-year veteran business leader.  Over the course of his career he has developed a rich understanding of what it takes to be a successful in the corporate world.  For over 15 years he's led one of America's greatest sales organizations, at LexisNexis.  He continues in a customer focused role to this day at that global organization, speaking to customer groups around the world on the topic of solving business problems with the solutions offered by his firm.  In addition, he continues to lecture regularly on topics such as leadership, consultative selling, selling to executives, and the true role of the sales professional. 

Keith enjoys spending quality time with his family, which includes his youngest son AJ Hawk who spent 11 seasons as an NFL linebacker, highlighted by his 9 years as a Green Bay Packer.

Share this article: Twitter Facebook LinkedIn
Return to Top
New Year, New Education Calendar


January-February 2017

For a complete list of this semester's classes visit www.agc-gm.org/events
To Register for any classes, contact our Education Director, Kim Jalalian at
kjalalian@agc-gm.org or (414) 778-4100, or register online


STP 3: Planning and Scheduling
January 9th, 11th, 16th & 18th
4:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Corp. GC/CM - $175, Associate - $270, *CBA’s - $300, Non-Affiliated IAP - $450

This course will help construction supervisors understand ways in which planning and scheduling saves time and money, while increasing quality in the construction process.

Unit 3 Explores:

• Preparing the project plan
• Communicating the plan
• The critical path
• Computer use in scheduling
• Using the schedule on the jobsite
• Updating the construction schedule
• The schedule as documentation
• Using planning and scheduling


Basic First Aid/CPR/AED Training
January 24th & 26th
4:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Corp. GC/CM - $60, Associate - $70, *CBA’s - $85,
Non-Affiliated IAP - $125
Gert Grohmann, AGC of Greater Milwaukee

Medic First Aid, CPR and AED training is designed specifically for the occupational first aid provider.  This extremely valuable program will help employers comply with OSHA and other federal and state regulatory requirements for training employees on how to respond and care for medical emergencies at work.  Two-year certification cards are issued upon completion of this course. 
Intended Audience:  This course is for any adult who wishes to become certified in First Aid/CPR/AED, especially those charged with the responsibility to respond in an emergency.


Lean Construction Unit 1: Variation in Production Systems
January 30th
10:00 am to 2:00 pm
Corp. GC/CM - $200, Associate - $250, CBA’s - $350, Non-Affiliated IAP - $450
Professor Mark Federle, Marquette University

Lean Construction challenges all project stakeholders to develop and apply better ways to manage the overall construction process.  Unit 1: Variations in Production Systems is a half-day course that introduces one of the fundamental concepts of Lean Construction: Variation.

In the construction process, the work we do is all connected, and variation in even one of those processes affects us all.  This course provides tools to help participants recognize sources of variation on their own projects, examine variation’s effect on operations and mitigate the effects of variation in their everyday work.  Following completion of this course, participants will have the ability to:

•    Define the different types of variation
•    Explain the concept of throughtput and distinguish it from productivity
•    Discuss the role of variation in production operations
•    List sources of variation in construction settings


Successfully Handling an OSHA Inspection
January 31st
4:30 pm to 6:30 pm
Corp. GC/CM - $25, Associate - $40, *CBA’s - $50, Non-Affiliated IAP - $80
Dan Burazin, AGC of Greater Milwaukee

Employers do have rights during the inspection process, but you must be aware of what they are if you hope to exercise them.  As OSHA continues to change the way it does business, it’s more likely your jobsite will be inspected.  The more you know about handling an OSHA inspection, the more likely your experience will be less painful and costly.  This course will help you find out what you might be doing that catches the eye of the trained OSHA inspector and how to successfully navigate your way through the inspection process.
Intended Audience: This course is designed for anyone who works on jobsites and is especially beneficial to field supervisors and their crews.


The Economics of Safety
February 1st
4:30 pm to 6:00 pm
Corp. GC/CM - $25, Associate - $40, *CBA’s - $50, Non-Affiliated IAP - $80
Dan Burazin, AGC of Greater Milwaukee

Today’s challenging economic climate is not the time to back off on safety, but instead to charge ahead with communicating the importance of an accident-free workplace.  Establishing safety objectives and defining responsibilities has never been as critical as it is today.  Holding people accountable for their actions and evaluating their performance can have a big impact on the bottom line.  At one organization, the average cost of a shoulder injury was $50,000, a back injury was $35,000, a knee injury was $30,000 and a hand injury was approximately $20,000.  Learn how to prevent these losses and protect your bottom line!

Intended Audience: This course is designed for anyone within the construction industry who is charged with the responsibility to manage jobsite safety.


STP 2: Communication
February 6th, 8th, 13th & 15th
4:30 pm to 7:30 pm
Corp. GC/CM - $175, Associate - $270, *CBA’s - $300, Non-Affiliated IAP - $450

This course presents a body of knowledge and skills that today’s construction supervisors need in order to be effective communicators on their jobsite.

Unit 2 Explores:

• Effective Communication
• Learn to Listen
• Carrying on Conversations
• Persuasion, Negotiation, and Confrontation
• Communicate with Your Crew
• Putting it in Writing
• Meetings that Work
• Electronic Communication
• Improving Communication

For a complete list of this semester's classes visit www.agc-gm.org/events
To Register for any classes, contact our Education Director, Kim Jalalian at
kjalalian@agc-gm.org or (414) 778-4100, or register online
Share this article: Twitter Facebook LinkedIn
Return to Top
In the News
Proposed BRT Line Could Help Catalyze more than $60M in Development

The proposed east-west bus rapid transit line has the potential to help spur more than $60 million in new development on parking lots and vacant buildings along the route, according to a report by University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee students.

Milwaukee County officials want to start construction in 2018 on the nine-mile BRT route between downtown Milwaukee and Wauwatosa. It is billed as a way to get workers to jobs downtown and at the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center. New developments have cropped up around similar rapid bus lines in other cities, and BRT supporters in Milwaukee expect the same thing to happen here.

Eleven students at UWM’s School of Architecture and Urban Planning made the BRT line the focus of a class project this past semester, and hosted guest lecturers including planners involved in the county BRT project.

“We are very interested in contributing to the community discussions of plans and projects that are happening today or in the near future,” said Robert Schneider, the UWM associate professor who led the class. “Students demand that of us, that they be relevant.”

As part of their work, the UWM students analyzed the apartment and commercial development potential of vacant and under-used properties within a half-mile of the BRT’s envisioned stations. They concluded those sites along the BRT line could sprout $60 million to $97 million worth of private development. Those projects would generate more than $1.9 million in property taxes annually.

That development potential is among the selling points for the estimated $45 million BRT line, which could generate debate in 2017 as local officials contemplate eliminating driving lanes or street parking along the project route. Those dedicated lanes are a crucial component of making the BRT drive times competitive with cars.

The route would run mostly along Wisconsin Avenue and Blue Mound Road, between Lincoln Memorial Drive at the downtown lakefront and Swan Boulevard in Wauwatosa.

Milwaukee County will firm up the details of the east-west BRT plan in 2017. Engineers are studying the route to determine the best locations for stations. They also will present options to the public on station designs and costs, said Brendan Conway, Milwaukee County Transit System spokesman. Stations, for example, could each have their own features reflecting on the neighborhoods in which they are located, he said.

Engineers also will decide where it is feasible from an engineering standpoint to have dedicated BRT lanes along various areas along the route, Conway said. There are a range of road conditions along the nine-mile route, so while it may be possible in some areas to have dedicated lanes in the center of the street, for example, it won’t be in others.

Students in the UWM class dug into the question of dedicated BRT lanes, and present recommendations on where to have them along the route. Those recommendations include bike lanes, and how to make streets more pedestrian-friendly. The UWM students’ concepts are included in the attached slideshow.

Engineers on the actual project team in the coming months will study where it is possible for buses to run in dedicated center or curbside lanes. Different areas will pose different challenges for dedicated lanes, which will either remove on-street parking or take lanes away from cars. The narrow stretch of West Wisconsin Avenue between the Milwaukee River and Sixth Street in particular has raised questions.

Open houses are planned in spring at the earliest to get input on the station and lane options, Conway said. Elected officials in Milwaukee and Wauwatosa will ultimately decide where to put stations and dedicated lanes. Their respective common councils must vote on those issues before the BRT line can be built, he said.

“That could be something that could happen next year,” Conway said.

Original Article with Slideshow

Share this article: Twitter Facebook LinkedIn
Return to Top
The Transition to a New EPA and AGC's Priorities

President-elect Donald Trump has picked Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to head the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  His supporters are praising the decision, but environmental groups and prominent Democratic Party leaders have reacted differently.

Trump’s transition team called Pruitt “an expert in Constitutional law [with] a deep understanding of the impact of regulations on both the environment and the economy.”  Pruitt has tweeted his concerns about an “anti-energy agenda that has destroyed millions of jobs.”  His background signals that he would focus on putting more power in the hands of the states, while limiting the overreach of the federal government on key environmental priorities.

Of interest to AGC, Pruitt brought or led state challenges to a host of EPA rules, including ongoing litigation over the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule, the power plant greenhouse gas rules, and federal air quality standards for ozone.  He has also criticized EPA’s use of “sue and settle” tactics and questioned climate change science.

Pruitt must be confirmed by the U.S. Senate before he can take office.  In the absence of a confirmed EPA Administrator on Jan. 20, 2017, Inauguration Day, the new Administration can appoint someone to temporarily serve or follow EPA’s “Order of Succession.”  Additional political appointments will happen after the new Administrator.  EPA has 79 political appointees.  Of these, 14 positions require presidential appointment and Senate confirmation (e.g., Assistant Administrators).

EPA has designated Shannon Kenny, principal deputy associate administrator for the Office of Policy, as its senior career employee to oversee EPA’s transition. AGC worked closely with Kenny from mid-2003 through 2008 when the Association served as the construction industry partner in EPA’s Sector Strategies Program.  In early 2009, when President Obama took office, EPA ended that partnership and all other industry-recognition/award programs.  AGC plans to reach out to Kenny in the New Year.

AGC also has a strong and longstanding working relationship with the career leaders who will likely serve acting roles until new appointed leaders are in place.  If the past serves as a guide, it will be at least summer 2017 until EPA has its new leadership team assembled.  AGC is already strategizing possible opportunities for a new path forward, with initial plans to focus on the following much-needed environmental reforms:

- Curtail the public’s ease of access to company-specific compliance and enforcement-related data that fuels citizen suits.
- Bring back cooperative Industry-Agency partnership and recognition programs that encourage prompt discover/correction of environmental problems and lead to enhanced environmental performance.
- Stop the federal government’s regulatory overreach of water and other environmental resources.  A glaring example is EPA’s and Corps’ land- and water-grab through the “Waters of the United States” (WOTUS) rule.  An overbroad application of laws spanning from the Clean Water Act’s permitting programs to the Endangered Species Act tramples property rights and poses obstacles to meeting our nation’s dire infrastructure needs.

For more information, please contact Leah Pilconis, AGC’s senior environmental advisor, at pilconisl@agc.org.

Share this article: Twitter Facebook LinkedIn
Return to Top
Virtual Reality: How 3D Computing is Already Changing Construction


In the past 30 years, the construction industry has experienced a digital transformation. Computers are used in every aspect of the business from design to management to communications. It’s nearly impossible to be a contractor these days without at least basic digital literacy.

But technology is constantly evolving. You’re more likely to use a smartphone or a tablet today than a fax machine, let alone a typewriter. This technology has helped make construction more efficient and adaptable. And the next technological evolution will bring further change to the construction industry. For the first time ever, contractors and customers alike will be able to interact with digital versions of buildings, parts and equipment, as if they were real.

That’s right — construction is about to go virtual.


Virtual reality is a technology that convinces your brain on a fundamental level that you are in a simulated environment. This is usually done with a virtual reality headset that tracks the motion of your head and body and transforms the image on the screen in such a way that it feels like you’re looking around a digital environment.

The power of this technology is in the digital environment itself. Because the headset is doing the work of convincing your brain that the environment is real, anything you put in that environment feels real as well, including other people. Advanced virtual reality systems also allow you to reach out and interact with the environment, enhancing the sense of immersion. The combined effect is that you can essentially do anything, with anyone, anywhere you can imagine.

It’s easy to see the implications of this type of technology for entertainment, but how does it impact business? By adding that one one crucial aspect of virtual reality that distinguishes it from previous computing paradigms — the third dimension.

In virtual reality, the objects and environment appear in full 3D. You can look under, around and behind objects in the same way you would in the real world. This allows for digital interaction to more closely mimic real life.


A number of companies in construction and real estate are already using virtual reality. And this makes sense. Buildings are large, tangible objects that are hard to conceptualize before they’re done and impossible to move once they are. Virtual reality solves both problems.

One of the most popular applications of virtual reality is using it to view and edit CAD files. Virtual reality allows architects to constantly iterate on a design while also being able to see how it will look in the real world. It’s often easy to spot mistakes or necessary changes while virtually walking around inside the building itself.

This technology can also be used throughout the design process to make sure the entire team is on board. Customers and managers can see how the building evolves and make changes before construction begins.

Virtual reality is also being used extensively after construction has finished. 3D mapping technology allows any building to be scanned in extensive detail and converted into a 3D model. This means real estate agents can use virtual reality to walk potential buyers through buildings even if they’re on the other side of the world. With the globalization of the real estate market, this kind of edge is necessary to target the much larger pool of potential buyers.


But in many ways, the changes that virtual reality will bring to the construction industry are just beginning. 3D interaction, design and communications will only accelerate as the technology improves.

There are a number of early 3D communication systems that allow people to talk and interact with virtual versions of each other. In a few short years, these interactions will be nearly indistinguishable from real life. These 3D communication systems are already fantastic for collaboration and sales in virtual reality. Soon they could be the most common way people communicate across distance.

We’re also seeing the advent of augmented reality technology, which allows you to see virtual objects in the real world around you. This is incredibly useful in an industry where it’s often necessary to have both hands available. A virtual version of the design schematics built to scale can be pulled up at any time to check for issues or inconsistencies. If there are ever any questions, it’s easy to bring in another set of virtual eyes to take a look.

In many ways, virtual reality allows people to use the power of computers in a far more natural and intuitive way. Rather than having to interact with a screen when working with a 3D model or talking to another person, it can seem like that 3D model or person is in the same room. This fundamentally reduces distance and size as factors in many aspects of the construction process. And in a short time, a virtual or augmented reality headset will seem as crucial to the construction business as a computer.

Matthias McCoy-Thompson is chief operating officer and co-founder of Agora VR, a software company specializing in tools that allow organizations to communicate and collaborate in virtual reality. He also consults for companies looking to use virtual reality in their business, organizes the DC Virtual Reality Meetup Group, and writes for The Metaverse Muse. He can be reached at matthias.m@agoravr.com.
Share this article: Twitter Facebook LinkedIn
Return to Top
Looking to Increase Your Firm's Profitability?
5 Steps to Help Your Construction Business Be More Profitable in 2017

Construction economists’ expectations for 2017 are shaping up to be a mixed bag. As such, it’s important to set yourself up for success no matter what scenario your business encounters in the New Year. Here are some steps to get you started:

1. Understand the costs of doing business

This may seem like a no-brainer but you’d be surprised how many business owners/managers have limited knowledge of what it actually takes to run their operation. It’s crucial to have a clear picture of what the different segments of your business (equipment, staff, etc.) actually cost and why. If you haven’t done so already, sit down with an experienced construction accountant/financial manager to go over annual operating expenses, then identify and formulate a strategy to address any excess costs that may be eating into your profits.

2. Evaluate your equipment acquisition strategy

Many industry analysts see the growth in rental as the “new normal” for equipment acquisition. Certainly, rental makes financial sense in a range of circumstances. But with interest rates still low and rental rates on the rise, it’s important to crunch the numbers to ensure the benefits of rental still outweigh the costs of ownership for the various equipment used on your sites. Where possible, take advantage of telematics systems to get accurate utilization data. Telematics can also help you identify inefficiencies in logistics management that can result in unnecessary rentals on a project.

3. Get educated on the latest technology

Speaking of telematics, most manufacturers offer systems as standard on certain size classes of machines. The data generated can be invaluable, but only if you can interpret what it means. Work with the manufacturer, dealer or third-party telematics supplier to obtain training on how to analyze the data generated. Where available, take advantage of programs that automatically sort and collate the data into practical “dashboards” for easy reference.

As for other technology, it’s important to look past the “wow factor” to identify the specific benefits to your operation. Educate yourself to ensure you understand all of the costs, any potential obstacles and the training level required.

4. Calculate the risks before you bid

It can be tempting to bid every project that comes your way to ensure sufficient work in the pipeline. But before you do, think back to the struggles the construction industry had in 2016 finding workers. With the labor shortage expected to continue, determine if you have the ability to meet a project’s workforce demands before submitting the bid. If there’s any doubt, assess whether the payoff is truly sufficient to offset the costs of project delays (e.g., late penalties) you may incur.

5. Promote training and education

As competition for skilled workers gets more intense, labor costs will move upward. Consequently, you may actually save money by investing more in worker retention efforts. Training and education should be a key part of this. By helping workers obtain new skills, they become more valuable to your operation, you save the costs of new hires and your current workers gain a chance to move into higher paying roles. It’s a win-win in which both parties have an opportunity to walk away with more profit in their pockets.

Share this article: Twitter Facebook LinkedIn
Return to Top
In This Issue
Last Chance to Register for the Networking Event of the Year, the AGC-GM Annual Meeting!
Reminder: CLC Kick-Off Feb. 9th; Registration & Sponsorships Opening Soon!
New Year, New Education Calendar
In the News
Proposed BRT Line Could Help Catalyze more than $60M in Development
The Transition to a New EPA and AGC's Priorities
Virtual Reality: How 3D Computing is Already Changing Construction
Looking to Increase Your Firm's Profitability?
Contact Us
Email the Editor
AGC-GM Website
AGC of America Website
Newsletter Tools
Search Past Issues
Print-Friendly Issue
Forward to a Friend
Subscribe via RSS
1243 N. 10th Street, Suite 175, Milwaukee, WI 53205