Senior Vice President
Triangle Associates, Inc.
Grand Rapids, Mich.
Having been part of ABC for many years, we’ve gained many relationships with member firms around the country. One instance of help from another ABC firm stands out as a great example of the generosity of our members. I was working on a job with a small electrical contractor that was unprepared for the rigorous job-specific safety program of a large sophisticated project. It was a growing company, but the in-house training was very basic. The contractor’s ability to create its portion of the site-specific safety plan was weak, as was the level of its employees’ understanding of safety.
I reached out to a large electrical contractor that I knew through ABC and asked if it could help. In response, that contractor provided a copy of its safety program, some tracking tools and some video education resources for the smaller firm to use. We talked through the specific needs of this small electrical contractor’s safety program and how to improve it, and ended up with a very safe project and a lasting relationship.
The most important advice I followed was being asked to serve on the ABC Iowa Chapter Board of Directors. This started a chain reaction that would take my company from a business that was struggling to survive on a daily basis to a highly innovative and profitable industry leader, which in turn has given our employees opportunities that never would have existed without our involvement in ABC. By serving on the board, I learned that ABC was about more than apprenticeship training and services. I was surrounded by mentors and peers who could help answer my questions and give advice. I also was expected to serve as best I could, which required me to do things that I was uncomfortable doing, but that made me a better leader.
The second most important advice I followed was joining an ABC Peer Group, which gave me access to other business owners who had an understanding of what I was going through on a daily basis. These groups allow us to share best practices and work through common problems.
G. Allan Galbraith
Galbraith/Pre-Design, Inc. traces its roots back to the late 1960s, when my father, Gary Galbraith, returned from his final tour of duty in Vietnam and started his civilian career in the construction industry. One of the last pieces of advice Dad imparted to me before retiring in 2008—and by far the best advice I’ve ever received from an ABC member—was “Do not let your ABC membership lapse because you never know when you’ll need ABC!”
He recounted many instances during his career when ABC helped him through difficult times, such as combating vandalism and picketing on jobsites, dealing with onerous regulations and legislation, hiring and training skilled tradespersons, searching for like-minded free enterprise subcontractors and seeking guidance on safety issues.
We continue to battle some of these same challenges today. However, we know we can count on ABC to provide timely and accurate information about the construction industry and to assist us when called upon.