View from the President--April 2014

View from the President

by Jerry Huismann, Lacy Construction Co.

Greetings to all of my fellow Nebraska Builders! I don’t know about you, but this time of year is always exciting to me. The weather warming up is definitely a welcome change but the opportunities brought by Spring brings joy to everyone who is in the construction industry. Just by walking onto a jobsite, I am sure you will find a little spring in your step and a whistle on your lips!

Just as Spring brings us the joy of new building starts, the new year brings new beginnings for the Building Chapter and this year is no different.

One of the biggest challenges we face is a shortage of skilled crafts workers. Not only is it difficult today, it will only get worse in the future. That is the reason for the Building Chapter’s involvement in the development and formation of a Construction Industry Council. Folks at the Nebraska Department of Labor asked Jean Petsch to spearhead the formation and she in turn pulled together a great planning committee. In addition to Jean and I, the other members of the planning committee are Wes Oestreich—Cheever Construction; Dan Vokoun—Sampson Construction, Inc.; Becky Golden—formerly of Kiewit Building Group; Mark Pope—Hawkins Construction Co.; Matt Firestone—Commonwealth Electric Company of the Midwest and Gabe Ronk—Midlands Mechanical, Inc.

There will be no quick fix to this problem but you can count on this council and the Building Chapter to continue the effort necessary to bring quality solutions to our labor shortage issues.

Another interest of mine this year will be charitable event or community service effort for those in our state who need some help. Last year when a tornado ransacked Wayne, NE we stepped in with a small donation to help the community. The Board of Directors will be making a decision over the next few months on a Chapter-wide community service event and hope that everyone will be able to be involved.

As always, we will be good stewards of the assets and resources you have entrusted us with. The AGC Board always works hard to make the Building Chapter the best it can be! I would encourage you to thank those members that you know and if you need additional information or input, feel free to contact them. You can find your current board members at If you would like to talk to me, feel free to email me: or call me at 308-384-2866.

Finally, I would like to thank Greg Schwab for his leadership as the President of the Chapter. Greg did a great job as your President last year and he deserves your gratitude!