Log in

gcbx news

  • 09 Jan 2018 1:27 PM | Anonymous

    Florida Chief Financial Officer to Speak in Sarasota

    Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis will speak at the annual awards dinner of the Gulf Coast Builders Xchange, which takes place 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Hyatt Regency, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota. Tickets are $100-$225. In addition to Patronis’ keynote speech, the event will honor the organization’s lifetime achievement award recipient, the recipient of the group’s chairman’s award and the top volunteer of the year.

    https://www.941ceo.com/articles/2018/1/9/florida-chief-financial-officer-to-speak-in-sarasota-in-february

  • 06 Jan 2018 1:48 PM | Anonymous

    It’s that time of year when people are reflecting on the past and making resolutions for change in the future. In Sarasota County, as we move forward into 2018, we have a lot to look forward to, including a continued strong economy. A robust economy equals more jobs and a thriving and sustained quality of life in our region. As the executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, I am humbled by and proud of the many ways our organizations have helped further these goals year after year since inception.

    In 1952, a small group formed an organization to serve the needs of local contractors. That small group quickly grew into a larger organization, and in 2018, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange will continue its mission and a recurring resolution to address the needs of our members and this amazing community.

    Throughout 2017, our Sarasota County lawmakers made progress in many significant areas, such as the Unified Development Code and Land Development Regulations. The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange members will continue to assist on these critical construction-industry topics. While there has been progress, there are also problems that we must address. One of those problems is the persistent labor shortage in the construction industry.

    According to a new analysis by the Associated General Contractors of America, construction employment increased by 30,000 jobs in December to the highest level since September 2008. Florida alone added 35,800 construction jobs between August 2016 and August 2017.

    As construction projects rise, we will see an increase in prices and jobs may be delayed, hindering progress if this labor shortage continues. With this shortage, firms cannot bid on certain jobs simply because they do not have the manpower. Finding a solution to this is an ongoing goal for us in 2018.

    In 2017, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange hosted the first Construction Rodeo, where GCBX members hired more than 15 students from that event alone. On March 20, we will hold our second to teach graduating seniors who are not college bound about construction-related career opportunities.

    In fact, 75 percent of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2018, said the AGC, but more than half of those firms are having difficulty filling their hourly craft and salaried openings.

    In order to truly address this issue, we must acknowledge the elephant in the room. A lack of affordable housing is a major barrier to overcoming the labor shortage. Unfortunately, in this area, we continually take two steps forward and three steps back. This multifaceted problem will need a multifaceted approach. It’s one that our area has been struggling with for some time, it’s not a problem that we can solve overnight, but it is a problem we must solve.

    We have some of the best and brightest minds here in Sarasota, and if anyone can solve this issue, it will be done here. The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange is committed to collaborating on this issue and listening to various ideas on how to tackle it.

    On Feb. 1, our members will gather to discuss important topics like this at our 66th Annual Installation and Award Dinner. Guests will hear from Keynote Speaker Jimmy Patronis, Chief Financial Officer of Florida, on the financial health of Florida. After all, Sarasota and Manatee Counties’ financial health is intertwined with the financial condition of the State of Florida.

    We look forward to serving the members of GCBX and the community and are committed to a collaborative approach to resolve the pressing issues facing the construction industry and the community and to finding creative solutions for our most pressing challenges now and for years to come.

    Mary Dougherty is executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange.

    http://www.srqmagazine.com/srq-daily/2018-01-06

  • 03 Jan 2018 6:27 PM | Anonymous

    Construction firms in Florida expect to keep growing in 2018, but they will continue to struggle to find workers.

    A survey of state contractors found that 85 percent anticipate increasing their payrolls by up to 10 percent this year, the Associated General Contractors of America reported Wednesday.

    And nearly 70 percent said they are having a “hard time” filling both salaried and craft workers positions right now.

    That’s no surprise in the Sarasota-Manatee region, where residential and commercial builders have lamented for several years that they can’t find enough labor for their projects.

    “My members are still finding it difficult to fill jobs, not just skilled jobs,” said Jon Mast, CEO at the Manatee-Sarasota Building Industry Association. “This is a continuing saga.

    “Larger builders are finding relief by hiring ‘shell contractors’ that can build their product through the framing stage. This helps them keep up with closing schedules. Smaller builders and those that build custom homes still enjoy having consistent labor as they pay more for the service,” he said.

    Mary Dougherty, executive director at the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, said the labor shortage is a constant refrain among those in the local construction trades.

    “It is causing prices to increase and jobs to be delayed,” she said. “A lot of folks, with the labor shortage, aren’t bidding on certain jobs. They just don’t have the manpower to bid on them.”

    In Florida, nearly half of the companies surveyed by AGC said they had increased base pay to retain or recruit workers, while 62 percent said they provided new incentives or bonuses. Nearly a third said they paid more overtime.

    Mast said the labor squeeze also has impacted builders at the government level.

    “What has gotten worse is the shortage being felt by our local building departments,” he said. “They are short staff due to retirements and the additional workload due to the increased economy. Permits are increasing, which causes more inspections. Some of my members are months behind on getting closings completed due to the lack of building inspectors.”

    The regional construction workforce has been growing. In November, 24,600 workers were counted in the Sarasota-Manatee construction sector, a gain of 2,000, or nearly 9 percent, over the year, according to the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

    But that remains well off the peak of 31,800 in April 2006, which then plunged to 14,900 in 2011 during the economic downturn, when projects stalled and building all but ceased, forcing workers to find other ways to earn a living.

    Nationwide, 75 percent of construction firms plan to expand their payrolls in 2018 as contractors are optimistic that economic conditions will remain strong amid declining tax rates and regulatory burdens, according to the survey from AGC and Sage Construction and Real Estate. Despite that general optimism, many firms report they remain worried about workforce shortages and infrastructure funding.

    Locally, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange plans to hold its second “Construction Rodeo” this spring to teach the 25 percent of graduating seniors who are not college bound about construction-related career opportunities.

    “We’re trying to introduce them to what a career in the trades can mean for them now and to later become a business owner,” Dougherty said.

    The BIA is working with the Future Builders of America and the National Association of Home Builders’ Student Chapters to get local coursework designed for construction in local secondary and post-secondary schools, Mast said.

    http://www.heraldtribune.com/news/20180103/contractors-optimistic-about-growth-but-still-face-labor-woes

  • 02 Jan 2018 6:52 PM | Anonymous

    Gamma Xi Boule internship program aims to prepare youth for ‘real world’ work experiences

    SARASOTA — A local fraternity wants to give underserved Booker High School students the chance to work in real-world office settings through a paid internship program.

    In its second year, the Gamma Xi Boule internship program, sponsored by the Sarasota chapter of national black fraternity Sigma Pi Phi, allows a select group of Booker students to intern for a semester at a maximum of 10 hours a week for $10 an hour at local organizations such as the Sarasota Police Department, Westcoast Black Theatre Troupe and the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. The programs are paid for in part by the fraternity’s foundation and by the institutions.

    “It gives them what we think is invaluable work experience from the perspective of what goes on in a professional work setting,” said Gregory Matthews, one of the program’s founders. “How do people conduct themselves? How do they dress? What do they do? In addition to employment skills, they can pick up soft skills.”

    The program began to gain traction when Matthews met with Sarasota Police Chief Bernadette DiPino to discuss the idea. The chief was more than interested; she even suggested the $10 an hour wage, Matthews said. Booker High Principal Rachel Shelley vetted the program through the Florida Department of Education, and the first students were accepted in fall of 2016.

    Once the students apply through Booker for the program, they are taken through an interview process that mirrors what one might find in the “real world,” Matthews said.

    “We’re more like the gatekeepers,” Matthews said. “We treat them like they’re applicants for a job. We don’t treat it as though it’s a given, because that’s not the way the real world works.”

    Some students have been surprised by the skills they bring to the table once they arrive in the work environment, Matthews said. One student who worked at the Sarasota Police Department found his talents with Microsoft and PCs to be an asset. He became someone other employees could turn to for help with spreadsheets or technical work.

    The organization is hosting a fundraiser on Feb. 10 with proceeds that will benefit underserved youth in Sarasota and Bradenton. Tickets are $250 per person. The event starts at 6 p.m. and goes until 11 p.m. on Feb. 10 at the Ritz-Carlton Sarasota, 1111 Ritz Carlton Drive.

    To purchase tickets, send a check made payable to Gamma Xi Boule Foundation, Inc., PO Box 20117, Bradenton, FL, 34204. Please include all attendees’ full names, your address and phone number. To buy tickets online at $257.50 per ticket, go to sites.google.com/site/gammaxiboule.

    And the inverse has been true as well. Some employers have taken it upon themselves to teach the students skills that aren’t necessarily a part of the workplace but are applicable. At one point, the Sarasota Police Department volunteer coordinator realized that some of the interns did not have a checking account to set up direct deposit payment. So she took them down to the bank and helped them set one up, Matthews said.

    “Some of us take these things for granted,” Matthews said. “But when they haven’t worked anywhere, why would they have a checking account?”

    Booker teacher Myndel Miller, who coordinates the program from the school standpoint, said the internships align well with Booker’s mission to have all of their students ready for college or a career.

    “This provides students an opportunity to see what it would actually be like in a particular field,” Miller said. “In many instances, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime type of opportunity. And it also happens to be a paid internship, which doesn’t always happen.”

    Eventually, Matthews hopes to expand the internship program to Manatee County and offer a variety of professions. They are in talks to work with the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange and have currently served 10 students. The organization is also hosting a fundraiser on Feb. 10 at the Ritz-Carlton with proceeds that will benefit underserved youth in Sarasota and Bradenton.


  • 15 Nov 2017 11:20 AM | Anonymous

    Gulf Coast Builders Exchange: 65 years of constructing community

    There’s a story Gulf Coast Builders Exchange executive director Mary Dougherty likes to tell about the longstanding importance of the construction industry to the southwest Florida community:

    “In 1973, there had been a discussion about a moratorium on construction,” she says. “Back then, in the days before ATM cards and direct deposit, everybody in the construction industry got together and said, ‘This week, we’re going to pay our employees in silver dollars.’” Turns out, there were a lot of silver dollars suddenly in circulation in southwest Florida, Dougherty explains. “Signs went up all over the county — grocery stores, etc. — that said, ‘No more silver dollars, please.’ Stores stopped accepting them because the impact they were having on their cash registers. But it shows how many people the construction industry employed, and the impact it had on the local economy.”

    Indeed, the nonprofit Gulf Coast Builders Exchange has been representing southwest Florida’s commercial contracting industry since 1952, when 20 Sarasota contractors got together to try to help steer the community in the right direction. This year, as the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange celebrates its 65th anniversary, the organization has more than 400 business members continuing to serve southwest Florida’s past, present and future.

    From the beginning, the organization’s impact was huge. In the 1950s, Gulf Coast Builders Exchange projects in partnership with the City of Sarasota included the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall, as well as plan to free up an iconic bit of downtown Sarasota real estate. “City Hall used to be where Marina Jack is,” Dougherty explains. “That’s prime commercial property. So one of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange suggestions was to relocate City Hall so that the Bayfront area could be used commercially. Otherwise, we wouldn’t have Marina Jack.”

    Over the years, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange has overseen a number of significant historical restorations, including Sarasota’s original 1920 pump station, Paul Rudolph’s famous Umbrella House on Lido Key and the Siesta Key Beach Pavilion. The organization was an early supporter of the creation of Nathan Benderson Park, which recently hosted the 2017 World Rowing Championships, as well as the new Atlanta Braves Spring Training facility currently under construction in North Port.

    Rather than being the local chapter of a larger trade organization, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange is unique in its direct ties to the community. “This was really a local effort,” says Dougherty. “It was those 20 contractors that started the organization, and we remember our roots. Local businesses, members doing business with members, and being here regionally and locally — that’s a part of who we are.”

    And the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange is investing in the future, too. In addition to its recent work with the county on the 10-year comprehensive plan and current work on

    land development regulations and the unified development code, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange this year hosted a Construction Rodeo to introduce recent high school graduates to careers in the trade. “So they could stay here locally and have a good career, without incurring huge amounts of student debt,” says Dougherty. As a generation of construction workers nears retirement, the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange is working to ensure that the legacy continues within our region.

    “We have pictures out in the hallway of our past leaders, and when I look at that wall, I realize that they’re all leaders in the community, too,” says Dougherty. “It’s not just about their business, and it’s not just about the commercial contracting industry. They’re also leaders in the philanthropic community and leaders in the community in general. It’s a really proud legacy to be a part of.


  • 31 Aug 2017 7:41 PM | Anonymous

    J.E. Charlotte Awarded PGT Contract

    J.E. Charlotte Construction Corp. has been awarded the contract to construct the child care center for PGT Custom Windows and Doors.Now under construction, the over 8,000-square-foot facility will offer affordable, convenient child care services to PGT families with young children, as well as parents who work in the Triple Diamond Commerce Park in North Venice. The $1.8 million project is scheduled for completion in first quarter of 2018.Located at 101 Triple Diamond Blvd., the PGT-owned facility will be operated by the Venice branch of the SKY Family YMCA, a licensed Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK) provider. The center will have the capacity to accommodate just under 100 children aged six weeks to five years old and will offer curriculum-based programs, healthy meals and an outdoor playground


  • 13 Jul 2017 11:13 AM | Anonymous

    Gulf Coast Builders Exchange connects subcontractors and the construction community at Reverse Trade Show

    Over 250 attendees connected with the area’s largest general contractors and development firms with subcontractors at the 8th annual Reverse Trade Show, an event hosted by the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, a not-for-profit trade organization.

    On June 22, over 20 general contractors showcased information on the construction industry. Those involved in the building community discovered how to bid on projects and build relationships with the finest design and construction firms in the region.

    “This event always attracts a crowd within the construction community, and we were really pleased with the number of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange members and the area’s general contractors that came out to connect with subcontractors, building departments, government officials and attendees,” said Mary Dougherty, executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange.

    Participants browsed 35 vendor booths at the Polo Grill and Bar. Government officials and the building departments from Sarasota and Manatee Counties were also in attendance.

    http://www.threesixohpr.com/gulf-coast-builders-exchange-connects-subcontractors-and-the-construction-community-at-reverse-trade-show/?utm_source=News+from+ThreeSixOh_7-12-2017&utm_campaign=July+12%2C+2017+E-Newsletter&utm_medium=email


  • 12 Jul 2017 11:14 AM | Anonymous

    Construction Rodeo ropes jobs for several students

    By Candice McElyea (Patch.com) - Updated July 12, 2017

    Several students have been hired within the construction community after the recent Construction Rodeo, an inaugural event that showcased information on careers in construction hosted by the Gulf Coast Builder’s Exchange, a not-for-profit trade organization.

    Steve Panagiotakis, the vice president of operations for Bright Future Electric, hired an impressive 18 students as interns from the event. Once the students finish their various programs, the four-office company plans to hire them all as full-time employees.

    Chuck Jacobson, chair of the subcontractor’s council for Gulf Coast Builders Exchange and a board member, has a number of applicants for Sarasota-based Aqua Plumbing, and Mike Corbett from Piper Fire Protection, with offices in Sarasota, Clearwater and Tampa, also confirmed their company is in the hiring process.

    “This is an extremely encouraging success, and our plan is to make this an annual event, alternating between the Manatee Technical College and the Suncoast Technical College,” said Mary Dougherty, the executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. “I would highly encourage the construction community, trades and business leaders to attend, volunteer, purchase a booth and recruit these students, who we can hopefully keep in the Sarasota and Manatee region. We look to leaders like those at Bright Futures Electric to ensure bright futures for career-ready students right here in Sarasota.”

    More than 350 high school students attended the Construction Rodeo, an event that showcased information on careers in construction. Students from Sarasota and Manatee Counties interested in jobs in the various trade industries were bused to the event at the Manatee Technical College. They learned from more than 35 local businesses, with speakers and hands-on activities to help unveil the different construction-related career opportunities.

    “The industry needs more participants, and the amount of students that showed up to the Construction Rodeo truly demonstrates the need for young people – in need of direction and choices – to find gainful employment,” said Panagiotakis.

    Over 50 Gulf Coast Builders Exchange members participated, volunteering their time and showcasing their businesses and giving students an opportunity to interact directly with employers.

    Corbett was also pleasantly surprised by the number that attended and the interest of the students, many of whom didn’t even know there were other industries besides air conditioning, plumbing and electric.

    “Over the years, this event will really open up the student’s eyes to all of the trades available, including fire sprinklers,” said Corbett.

    About The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange

    The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange was established in 1952 and is a not-for-profit corporation operating as a trade organization under the guidance of a volunteer board of directors as representatives of the industry. The not-for-profit organization represents a broad cross section of the building industry, including contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and others from affiliated industries.

    The GCBX membership is comprised of close to 400 companies in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. It includes some of the most respected contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, service providers and businesses in construction‑affiliated industries. GCBX’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the building industry are conducted in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties. For more information, visit www.GCBX.org.


  • 07 Jul 2017 11:16 AM | Anonymous

    CONSTRUCTION RODEO

    07 Jul 2017 3:08 PM | Anonymous

    The other day I received a call that I couldn’t have been happier to get. Steve Panagiotakis, the vice president of operations for Bright Future Electric, hired an impressive 18 students as interns from the recent Construction Rodeo. What a way to illustrate the return on investment from this one event. Once the students finish their various programs, the four-office company plans to hire them all as full-time employees. Aqua Plumbing’s Chuck Jacobson, chair of the subcontractor’s council for Gulf Coast Builders Exchange and a board member, has a number of applicants, and Mike Corbett from Piper Fire Protection also confirmed they are in the hiring process. So something is working.

    More than 350 high school students attended the Construction Rodeo, a Gulf Coast Builders Exchange event that showcased information on careers in construction. Students from Sarasota and Manatee Counties interested in jobs in the various trade industries were bused to the event at the Manatee Technical College. They learned from more than 35 local businesses, with speakers and hands-on activities to help unveil the different construction-related career opportunities.

    Huge congratulations are owed to the construction and business leaders who helped us spearhead this fantastic event. Over 50 Gulf Coast Builders Exchange members participated, volunteering their time and showcasing their businesses and giving our students an opportunity to interact directly with employers. There is so much opportunity in construction right now and so much talent in our schools. This is a perfect way to make sure our students know the career path to get into those vacancies that are right here in Sarasota and Manatee counties. Kudos the Sarasota and Manatee County Schools, too, for recognizing this as a worthy initiative and much-needed event for our students.

    This event is important because there’s a workforce crisis in the region. Jobs are being held up, and prices are rising because we don’t have an abundance of skilled workers in the region. After the economic downturn many skilled workers left the region for good. We looked at opportunities for young people in regards to internships or apprenticeships in construction. We want to start opening these prospects up for them to help solve this workforce crisis.

    A 2016 labor market analysis put out by CareerEdge Funders Collaborative showed that average annual pay for the construction field in Sarasota County grew between 10 percent and 15 percent between 2012 and 2015.

    Panagiotakis agrees, too. He feels that the industry needs more participants and help with its high school students, and they are definitely doing their part. The amount of students that showed up to the Construction Rodeo truly demonstrates the need for young people—in need of direction and choices—to find gainful employment.

    Corbett was pleasantly surprised by the interest and number of the students that attended, many of who didn’t even know there were other industries besides air conditioning, plumbing and electronic. Over the years, this event will really open up the student’s eyes to all of the trades available, including fire sprinklers.

    This is extremely encouraging success, and our plan is to make this an annual event, alternating between the Manatee Technical College and the Suncoast Technical College. I would highly encourage the construction community, trades and business leaders to attend, volunteer, purchase a booth and recruit these students, who we can hopefully keep in the Sarasota and Manatee region. Look to leaders like those at Bright Futures Electric to ensure bright futures for career- ready students right here in Sarasota.

    Mary Dougherty is executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange.


  • 10 Mar 2017 11:17 AM | Anonymous

    Big League Development

    GCBX

    BY MARY DOUGHERTY SRQ DAILY SATURDAY PERSPECTIVES EDITION SATURDAY MAR 4, 2017

    We all know the words to that famous song, “Take me out to the ball game, take me out to the crowd.” And I can almost smell the peanuts and Cracker Jacks as Sarasota’s spring training season swings into high gear. As a New Yorker at heart, my loyalty lies with the Mets, but I must admit, it’s the Braves that have me becoming a raving fan these days.

    More recently, I have lived in South Sarasota County—since 1979 to be exact. Our area has seen steady growth since then and promises more to come. In fact, in 2008, North Port became the city with the largest population within Sarasota County. Some of the lowest impact fees and utility and land costs in Southwest Florida have undoubtedly contributed to this economic development.

    Even with the positive growth we’ve seen over the years in South County, the proposed project for the Atlanta Braves Spring Training and Academy Facilities may be one of the biggest game-changers our region has ever experienced. In 2019, we will hopefully see 70 acres of pastureland in the West Villages, an emerging master-planned community in South County, transformed into a multimillion-dollar facility.

    There are a number of players involved here. The Atlanta Braves, the primary lessee, are expected to contribute an estimated $7.5 million initial investment and another $5.6 million toward facility maintenance for the Major League baseball club's proposed project. The Braves would sign a 30-year initial lease with two 5-year options, with annual lease payments estimated between $2 million and $2.5 million. On top of that, the Atlanta Braves Academy is proposing a year-round sports rehabilitation and player development facility at around $8 million to $10 million and a Community Public Park and Plaza for entertainment, farmers market and events. A multi-purpose sports facility for community use is also being planned with the benefit of overflow parking for the stadium.

    Other partners on this project include Sarasota County, the ultimate facility owner and lessor; City of North Port, the local community funding partner and host city; West Villages Improvement District, the local funding conduit; and Manasota Beach Ranchlands, the private sector funding and development partner.

    Through this plan, the Tourism Bed Tax funds would be utilized, and the county’s contribution would equal around $22 million. The state, City of North Port and the West Villages also intend to provide funds to support the plan. Locally, Visit Sarasota County has endorsed the proposed budget model along with the county's Tourist Development Council.

    The West Villages, a Keystone member of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, has already committed to utilize local contractors whenever and wherever possible during this process. This is great news for the local economy and means more construction jobs for local contractors.

    This is a significant and an advantageous development for our region, one that could further bolster South County and set it on the path for future success. I applaud the elected officials for coming together on this exciting project, and I encourage them to stay the course through its successful completion. The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange endorses this economic development plan that we see as a home run for the region.

    Mary Doughtery is executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange.


Gulf Coast Builders Exchange is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. Copyright © 2016. All Rights Reserved
8433 Enterprise Circle, Suite 120
Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
Telephone (941) 907-7745
Fax (941) 907-3898
Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software