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Summer 2019 ASAM Newsletter

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10th Anniversary MCOY Awards
Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park — October 17, 2019

MCOY recognizes Michigan’s general contractors and construction managers with a track record of best practices, professionalism, and collaboration within the subcontracting community. Since the inception of MCOY, participation has grown exponentially, with an astounding 500 guests in attendance at last year’s celebration.
Congrats to this year’s nominees:
• The Christman Company
• Dan Vos Construction Company
• First Companies
• Elzinga & Volkers
• Erhardt Construction Company
• Owen-Ames-Kimball Co.
• Pioneer Construction
• Rockford Construction

Starting August 5, members will vote to determine which of these nominees will take home the coveted award. Nominees will be scored on: bid ethics & practices, safety, job site supervision, communication, schedule coordination, project relations, administrative procedures, payment terms, and quality workmanship. We have removed the Lien Process category this year, based on feedback from previous years.

Please provide thoughtful comments when voting (comments remain anonymous) as this feedback is vitally important to the Nominees.

We welcome John Ratzenberger as the Keynote speaker this year. You may know John from the 1980s television sitcom Cheers, where he played the mailman Cliff Clavin; to a younger generation, John is known as the only actor to voice a character in every Pixar movie. John is also an outspoken advocate for manufacturing and skilled labor, working tirelessly to shine a light on the importance of the trades, and working with legislators to bring back trades training in schools and build apprentice programs. 

 Ratzenberger BRJacket Hi CMYK

For more information on MCOY, sponsorships, or voting information, visit the MCOY Awards page on the ASAM website.
We hope to see you in October!


Continuing to elevate trade contractor standing

In celebration of our 10th MCOY anniversary, we are delighted to recognize and honor our founding members and those who invested their time and talents into launching ASAM. We are also grateful to those individuals throughout the last ten years who have helped mold ASAM into what it is today! While some organizations struggle to survive, ASAM has successfully grown, thanks to the consistent efforts of many.

As newly elected President, the thought of serving more than 80 company members in a meaningful way feels like a lofty goal. However, I believe that if we collectively connect and collaborate—as a whole—ASAM will continue to be a key vehicle for elevating our trade contractor standing within the environments we work and the communities we serve.

Each year, Welch Tile & Marble Company selects an annual process improvement focus, which aligns with our mission and advances corporate strategies. Connecting the dots between vision and individual rewards is key to our success rate. In the same light, future ASAM efforts linking to real membership benefits will be supported at a higher level.

Over the last few years, I have been very passionate about the CM/trade
contractor relationship and its everchanging dynamics. It’s important to decode and understand what this evolution encompasses: increased project roles and reward levels, risk shifting, and relationships and teaming, to name a few. How attractive is our working environment to potential new recruits? Over the next month, you will hear more about our 2019/2020 focus and the impact it will have on our members.

As we network and learn from each other, here is a few things about my background that influence my views on the statements above. Throughout my 40 construction years, I have come full circle, from tradesman, CM, owner representative, and back to trade contractor. Much of my construction career has focused on healthcare design and construction leadership, mergers and acquisitions, and now the role of COO at Welch Tile & Marble Company. It’s my hope that, together, we will leverage past roles to aid in future conversations and to strengthen our trade contractor position.

I’m looking forward to serving ASAM this year!

Steven Coates, MSM
Welch Tile & Marble Company, COO
ASAM, Incoming President

Join us for a FREE Night at the Whitecaps!
Tuesday August 27 6 p.m.

Whitecaps 2018

To thank you for being an ASAM member, we’d like to treat you to a night of baseball, brews, brats, and fireworks—free of charge! We’ll cheer on the West Michigan Whitecaps against the Fort Wayne Tincaps!

Come network with MCOY nominees, fellow ASAM members, leadership, and founders. And, be sure to stick around for a fireworks display afterward. To learn more and to sign up, visit the Upcoming Programming page on the website.


‘I couldn’t be prouder’ of ASAM accomplishments this past year

Another year has come and gone, and along with that comes changes in ASAM executive leadership. That means, this will be my last report to you as President. I’m so pleased to end my term on such a positive note and couldn’t be prouder of all that ASAM accomplished this past year:

1. Continuing expansion of the ASAM Safety Committee, safety resources
As many of you are aware, we took on a challenge from our GC/CM partners a little over a year ago to improve safety standards of trade contractors in West Michigan. ASAM led that process by creating a safety committee with the purpose of providing information, guidance, and access to training resources to ensure that our trade contractors were up-to-speed on best practices.

To move our action plan forward, we signed an alliance agreement with MIOSHA (Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration), formalizing a mutual commitment to workplace safety and health. We are pleased to report that we have already held five onsite training events with MIOSHA. We are holding quarterly safety roundtables with safety experts and are excited to announce that Seth Werner will continue to raise the bar for our safety committee by chairing it for the upcoming year.

2. CWDA workforce training
Our second accomplishment this year has to do with workforce training. It’s no secret we’re all experiencing manpower shortages. Many of our companies are seeing growth cycles of 10 to 30% and planning for more in the coming years. The CWDA (Construction Workforce Development Alliance), with the support of ASAM, is aiding in this need by training young individuals to join our ranks by marketing construction as a life career of choice.

At this year’s March CWDA Rally fundraiser, commercial and residential construction professionals (and even attorneys!) competed in outrageously fun, construction-themed games. We’re proud to announce that we raised over $25,000, which provided 18 Jump Start Scholarships. ASAM and CWDA are playing pivotal roles in both short-term and long-term strategies in moving our construction industry forward.

3. Another successful MCOY
Last year’s MCOY was presented to Pioneer Construction—their first time winning the award! There were eight 2018-2019 MCOY nominees in total; the 1st Runner Up Award was given to Dan Vos Construction Company and the 2nd Runner Up Award to Elzinga & Volkers. Planning has begun for our 10-year anniversary, to be held October 17, 2019. It’s going to be bigger and better than ever, so don’t miss out!

4. Increased ASAM membership
We added seven new members this year!
• Byron Plumbing, Inc.
• CJ Masonry, LLC
• Republic Services
• Sunbelt Rentals
• PlanGrid
• West Michigan Dirtworks
None of this could have been done without the dedication of our board as well as all of the many people that commit so much to the success of ASAM. Because of that, I want to say thank you to everyone who took the time to lead a group, present, volunteer, provide feedback, or show up at any of our events. ASAM would cease to exist without an active membership, and I appreciate every one of you.

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 October 17, 2019!

Tony Vermaas
Sobie Company
ASAM (Outgoing President)

ASAM 2019-2020 Board Members Announced


  • Steven Coates, President  
    Welch Tile & Marble 

  • James Bockheim, Vice President
    Alternative Mechanical LLC 

  • Jon Lunderberg, Secretary
    Buiten & Associates LLC 

  • Ann Plummer, Treasurer 
    Beene Garter LLP

  • Tony Vermaas, Past President 
    Sobie Company Inc. 


  • Brian Strick, D&D Building 
  • Carrie Osborn, Pleune Service Company
  • Chris Fennema, Kent Companies
  • Dan Hall, Zeeland Lumber & Supply
  • John Turner, Vos Glass
  • Mark Rysberg, Hilger Hammond, PC
  • Matt DeVries, Buist Electric
  • Matt VanHekken, The Bouma Corporation
  • Mike Martinchek, Andy J. Egan Co., Inc. 
  • Travis Koetje, Burgess Concrete Construction


 Welcome Seth Wehner — New Safety Committee Chair

Seth Wehner is President of SW MGT, one of ASAM’s newest members, providing leadership and oversight to commercial construction companies as Director of Safety. He has 15 years of experience in positions of safety leadership at both branch and corporate levels, as a Subcontractor and General Contractor Construction Manager. Seth is an OSHA-Authorized 10- and 30-hour instructor, level-one MIOSHA certified, and is a member of the American Society of Safety Engineers (ASSE).
Next Job Site Walkthrough
The next Job Site Walkthrough with MIOSHA and Pioneer Construction will be held on August 20. For more information about our Safety Committee, upcoming events, or if you have interest in joining, visit the Safety page on the ASAM website.

Whitecaps 2018

General Membership Meeting Recap: Panel Discussion on Legalization of Marijuana in Michigan

As laws change regarding marijuana use, they present a host of complex issues, especially for the construction industry. During this moderator-guided event, we discussed what the new law means for our industry and how marijuana can negatively affect jobsites. Four key takeaways from our discussion worth noting:
• You can and should maintain a drug-free workforce—e.g., you don’t need to accommodate marijuana use (medical or otherwise). Safety should be first and foremost for your employees, customers, trade contractors, and anyone your employees come in contact with.
• Drug testing is important (pre-employment, post-accident, and random).
• Company drug policies should be laid out in the employee handbook and communicated clearly to employees.
• It’s important to have a safety committee comprised of employees from differing roles within the company to discuss drug issues and company policies.

A big thank you to our panelists:
• Brent Brinks, Co-President at Buist Electric
• Ken Misiewicz, President and CEO at Pleune Service Company
• Seth Wehner, President at SWMGT
• Moderated by Steve Hilger, Attorney at Hilger Hammond

Travis Koetje, ASAM Director
Burgess Concrete Construction, Inc.

CWDA Update: Moving construction into forefront as a viable career path

The CWDA (Construction Work-force Development Alliance) team has been moving construction into the forefront as a viable career path for newcomers into the workforce. This is something we can all agree on as a worthy investment.
Thanks to your efforts and that of the CWDA, the dial is moving as evidenced by the increasing trade program applicants and decreasing college enrollment default push. In the last four years, over 30,000 area MS and HS youth have walked through our construction zones and booths at MICareer Quest.

Starting in July, Dan Hall and Carrie Osborn will formally take over leadership roles from Steve Coates, Welch Tile & Marble, to represent ASAM on the CWDA team. If you have any questions about upcoming events, or how to become involved, please email Carrie.
Carrie: cosborn@pleuneservice.com

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