As the newly elected president of Associated General Contractors of Washington, Gary Smith, a 40-year construction industry veteran and president of Seattle firm Lease Crutcher Lewis, says while he is confident in the state of his organization, he will work to increase the number of younger members.
In an interview with the Seattle Daily Journal of Commerce, Smith said “outreach and education” should be the construction industry’s primary focus at this time.
Smith’s emphasis is certainly a timely one. The U.S. industry as a whole is in need of an infusion of younger blood as millions of workers either retired from the industry altogether or left for more stable jobs in oil and gas.
While 80 percent of U.S. firms surveyed by the AGC report they plan on making new hires this year, 83 percent say they have faced a shortage of skilled workers to choose from in the last year.
Smith said AGC of Washington is currently looking for younger workers to fill seats on its board of trustees and in various committees. The group is also working with the AGC Education Foundation to create more learning opportunities for younger workers.
In addition, the group works with labor groups, local governments and schools across Washington state to promote the industry to students and those considering a career.