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Two of my personal core values are lifelong learning and giving back to our industry, and I am motivated to fulfill both simultaneously when a cause allows. This is why I joined the Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) Middle Tennessee board four years ago and stepped into the role of president in 2021.
The AGC has played a vital role in my personal development and the growth of our company Hardaway Construction, a leading commercial general contractor building for almost 100 years in Nashville, Tenn. We have seen firsthand the AGC’s impact on the industry for over a century. As president, I can share an inside look into how we lead the organization today and why construction companies will see numerous advantages to investing in the AGC.
The AGC is the leading association for the construction industry and represents more than 27,000 firms. We represent general contractors, joint ventures, specialty contractors, emerging contractors and associate firms. Compromised of qualified construction contractors and industry- related companies dedicated to skill, integrity, and responsibility, the organization has 89 local chapters, fulfilling the specific needs of their communities.
As president of the AGC of Middle Tennessee, I work with our executive director, who oversees many day-to-day activities of the organization. With the board, I lead monthly meetings where we discuss any local policies that may need to be addressed to meet the needs of our members. I also lead the review of our finances and monitor the management of dues.
This leadership opportunity has given me insight into the inner workings of building and new business in Nashville, which is flourishing with growth. About 200,000 new residents are expected to move to the area over the next five years, with an estimated 109 people moving here daily. This consistent stream of new residents has spurred a major construction boom throughout my hometown of Nashville. Through the AGC, I have been able to keep a pulse on the status of the industry and how others are handling this influx, particularly amid supply chain issues. This insight comes from the networking and professional development opportunities the AGC provides its members.
Hardaway Construction’s team members have taken advantage of many of these opportunities, especially the Construction Leadership Program for young professionals. This program educates young leaders on all facets of how to run a business and help shape a company’s future. We have sent ten of our employees through this program in the past four years, and I would highly recommend that others do as well.
The AGC is a powerful voice of the construction industry because it improves the quality of construction, protects the public interest and shapes future industry leaders by providing excellent training programs and dynamic networking opportunities. These member perks help retain employees, positively impact members’ bottom lines and give members influence over the future of the industry.
Most importantly, the AGC offers its members protection in the legal and lawmaking processes. In Middle Tennessee, we work through our staff lobbyist to support legislation in the best interests of the construction industry and consumers alike. Members benefit from active participation in the legislative process at the local, state and federal levels affecting economic and infrastructure development. A specific example is our yearly Day on the Hill, where AGC members in Tennessee are encouraged to meet at the state capital building to speak with decision-makers in the state legislature.
The AGC also advocates for its members by reviewing proposed legislation and agency regulations, coordinating members’ responses to proposed rules and developing proactive policy statements on major industry issues. For example, if we need to work through something with metro codes, we can call the AGC directly, and its legal team will work with the city to determine a solution that benefits both sides.
Working in Nashville, the AGC has helped develop impactful solutions for builders that also consider the best interests of city residents.
The AGC is a premier educational resource for the construction industry, providing a wealth of educational opportunities and discounted Safety Services from one of the AGC’s full-time safety directors. The AGC helps reduce injuries and illnesses, reduce industrial-insurance premiums, create a safe working environment, promote job site safety within the industry and the public, prevent regulatory violations and represent industry viewpoints to safety regulators.
The organization offers in-person and virtual safety training and certifications, which most of Hardaway’s employees have completed. They offer classes in CPR/First Aid/AED, excavation training, rigging, signaling for cranes and more. They also provide job site safety inspections, which Hardaway has utilized on many of our sites to ensure the team’s welfare and the building’s integrity.
The AGC offers two training programs, the Supervisory Training Program and the Construction Leadership Program, which I recommend for any leaders in the industry. The programs have proven to be highly beneficial to our employees because the knowledge and experience gained make them better managers and leaders, which trickles down to the rest of the team.
The Supervisory Training Program is a six-course comprehensive training that focuses on the knowledge and skills that every supervisor must have to manage people, time, equipment and materials effectively. The Construction Leadership Program educates young leaders on the inner workings of a business and how they can shape the future of their companies. It also provides leadership training and networking opportunities broken out into 13 classes with focuses ranging from Conflict Management to Bonding and Construction Law.
Arguably the most significant impact that the AGC has had on construction companies happened during the early months of COVID-19. The industry did not have experience with a crisis of that magnitude, and it was impossible to predict what would happen over the next two years. The industry needed a place to come together and determine the best way to move forward with a unified effort. In response, the AGC released a set of standardized guidelines and procedures that contractors could follow to best protect their businesses during the pandemic. Many companies shut down during this time, but knowing the necessity of continued building, the AGC’s advocacy allowed construction to proceed safely.
My experience leading the AGC of Middle Tennessee on the board and as president has significantly impacted our team at Hardaway Construction. Through our membership, our company has grown professionally, networked with other businesses and utilized the safest building practices. This experience ensures that we can provide excellent, transparent and collaborative service to our customers. We also have peace of mind knowing that we have an advocate protecting and uplifting our company and the construction industry as we move forward into the next 100 years.
About the Author:
David Frazier is the CEO and owner of Hardaway Construction. In 2018, Frazier bought Hardaway Construction after serving as president and operations manager in 2017. David is committed to preserving the company’s legacy and forging the future with a motivated leadership team, a straightforward yet flexible approach and a genuine, company-wide commitment to collaboration and transparency in client relationships. Frazier graduated from Vanderbilt University with a master’s in construction/engineering management in 2009.
He also served in the U.S. Navy as a pilot for seven years and graduated from the United States Naval Academy in 1996 with his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.