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Summer 2018 ASAM Newsletter

Click here to download a PDF version of the newsletter.


Looking Back at Year’s Challenges Met, New Partnership, Members’ Contributions

At the onset of my journey as ASAM President, I asked our members to share feedback on what they valued most from ASAM. Thank you to those of you who took the time to reach out. You asked us to focus on safety and the quality of programming we produced, and over the year we worked to strengthen these benefits.

James Bockheim, Programming Committee Chair, and the rest of the committee worked hard to cover some of our members’ most challenging topics: contract language, scheduling, fabrication, technology and safety. Thank you, James and team, for securing presenters and other logistics. We also appreciate Reagan Marketing + Design, LLC for putting the polish on our events and making each one shine.

This year, our inaugural Safety Committee brought us a new partnership – the MIOSHA Safety Alliance. Thank you to Brian Gall, Safety Committee Chair, for spearheading this initiative; and to Brian Potter for leading the team to bring it all together. Through this partnership, our members can access best practices that will strengthen their own safety programs.

As outgoing ASAM President, my next duties will include recruiting members to fill future board positions. Currently, we are looking for members who are passionate about legislative advocacy. This will be an area of emphasis for our association in the future, so please consider stepping into a committee member role for this topic. A big thank you to Matt Fennema for a job well done on forming a complete and dynamic board for years to come.

In addition to Matt, Brian, and James, many other leaders within our association contributed to a successful year – too many to list here. If you took the time to lead a group, present, volunteer, provide feedback or show up at any of our events, thank you. ASAM would cease to exist without an active membership, and I appreciate every one of you. In part, because of the engagement of our members, our chapter was a finalist for ASA’s Chapter of the Year Award in 2018. Congratulations on this exciting accomplishment! We have set our sights on winning this prestigious award in the near future.

In the meantime, I want to thank you for the opportunity to serve as President to our outstanding membership. I wish you all a fantastic summer and hope to see you at the MCOY Awards on September 20th!
Chris Weaver, ASAM Past President
Andy J Egan Co. Inc.

2018-2019 Board Members Effective July 1, 2018

Tony Vermaas, President
Sobie Company Inc.

Steven Coates, Vice President
Welch Tile & Marble

Jon Lunderberg, Secretary
Buiten & Associates LLC

Ann Plummer, Treasurer
Beene Garter LLP

Chris Weaver, Past President
Andy J. Egan Co., Inc.

Brian Strick, D&D Building
Carrie Parcher, Pleune Service Company
Dan Hall, Zeeland Lumber & Supply
James Bockheim, Alternative Mechanical LLC
Jeff Moomey, Kent Companies
John Turner, Vos Glass
Mark Rysberg, Hilger Hammond, PC
Matt DeVries, Buist Electric
Matt VanHekken, The Bouma Corporation
Tim Burgess, Burgess Concrete Construction

2nd ASAM Job Site Training with MIOSHA Provides Valuable Safety Information for Smaller Contractors

Jobsite Training2ASAM hosted its second free Safety Alliance Job Site Training with MIOSHA on June 5, 2018. Thank you to A. J. Veneklasen, Inc., general contractor for the job site, who participated. MIOSHA Construction Safety Consultant Phu Nguyen, CSP, conducted the training, which included a group walkthrough at the job site and discussion on how to identify hazards or potential hazards. Nguyen made recommendations for safe procedures and protections for the purpose of reducing accidents and injuries in the workplace.

What’s the Point?

Consistency and Strength that Contractors Find Together Is Infinitely More Powerful than the Voice We Use Alone

What’s the point?
I think that question can be asked at times when it comes to membership and participation in ASA of Michigan.
What’s the point?
I’m busy. I have more work than I know how to handle. I can barely take advantage of the learning opportunities, the networking, the comradery with my fellow trade contractors and the value that I know is there with ASAM, so…
What’s the point?
Here’s what I think the point is: consistency and strength.

For those of you who may not know, ASA of Michigan is celebrating 12 years of operation this year. In an article that was posted on our 10-year anniversary, the following words were written about what ASA of Michigan was hoping to achieve when it was founded all those years ago:

“At the time the standard business practices regarding contracts and subcontracts within the Michigan construction environment lacked a transparency that we currently have today. Indemnification and hold harmless agreements were getting stronger and stronger, subcontractors were being required to sign subcontracts without access to all of the encompassing documents and had very little leverage to negotiate fair payment terms, recourse, etc. In that environment, subcontractors as a whole were oper-ating as islands to themselves in trying to protect not only their business but the people whose livelihoods depended on longstanding well-run companies as they were further dragged out by the tide of a disconnected industry.”

I think we forget some of that. We forget how unfair it COULD be, how difficult it CAN be when we try to go at it alone, and how much better it SHOULD be when we band together.

That’s the point. The point that the consistency and strength we find together is infinitely more powerful than the voice we use alone, and that our collective chorus will always rise above and help us thrive. Hopefully we can always remember that.
Tony Vermaas, ASAM President
Sobie Company, President & CEO

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CWDA Jump Start Training Program Overview: In the Business of Developing Career Pathways

One of the ways ASAM is addressing manpower shortage and promoting the construction industry is through the Construction Workforce Development Alliance (CWDA) programs. The CWDA does more than construction career awareness; we are in the business of developing career pathways.

The Jump Start training program was developed by the CWDA in 2014 for young adults aged 18-25 to receive entry-level construction training and secure employment in the construction industry. In order to remove barriers for enrolling, the CWDA provides full-tuition scholarships to all students enrolled in the program each year. These scholarships are funded through the event proceeds from the annual CWDA Rally and other generous donations to the CWDA.

Teaching Basic Skills for Success

Based on the National Center for Con-struction Education and Research (NCCER) Construction Core Curriculum, Jump Start teaches the basic skills to be successful in the construction industry. These skills include:

  • basic construction math
  • introduction to blueprint reading
  • how to use hand and power tools
  • how to work safely
  • teamwork & communication skills

Additionally, students graduate with the following:

  • OSHA 10-hour card
  • rough terrain forklift license
  • aerial lift license
  • first aid/CPR card

The Jump Start training program runs throughout the month of June. Students identify a career path that they think will be a good fit (electrician, carpenter, mason, project manager, etc.), then, based on this re-search, the CWDA invites employers in these trades to provide job shadow experiences and interview students at the conclusion of the program.

In 2017, 88% of students attending Jump Start were immediately em-ployed in the construction industry. For additional information or to donate to this program, visit the CWDA web-site at webuildmi.com.
Steven Coates, ASAM Vice President
Welch Tile & Marble

Support Kidstruction Zone at Grand Rapids Children’s Museum

From June through October the Grand Rapids Children’s Museum will feature its construction-themed exhibit. You can support construction trades education for children through a donation or gift-in-kind to the Museum. Each year more than 80,000 guests explore this exhibit. If interested, please contact Leslie Griswold at 616.217.4875 or lgriswold@grcm.org.

Some examples of items needed:
-Four traffic cones
-Stop/slow paddle plastic hand-held sign
-Paint brushes, rollers, frames and trays (new)
-Toy dump trucks, bulldozers, etc. (about 12” or more in size)
-12 child-sized leather tool belts
-Renderings with blueprints
-Flashlights (no batteries)
-Small buckets
For the full list of needs please click here.

Whitecaps 2018Play ball! A great time was had by all May 24 at the West Michigan Whitecaps game. ASAM members enjoyed networking with past MCOY Award nominees. 

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