With the new year upon us, we look forward to the opportunities 2021 will bring. With that, we were happy to (virtually) attend the General Building Contractors Association (GBCA) 2021 Annual Meeting on Monday, Jan. 25 to reflect on and celebrate what was accomplished in 2020 and look ahead at 2021.
Philadelphia Business Journal’s Natalie Kostelni opened the meeting by providing a synopsis of Philadelphia’s construction market. She reported that while the demand for warehouse and distribution and outdoor spaces is up (with 25,000 million square feet planned for warehouse and distribution construction), the demand for traditional office space is down. The bright spot, however, is the demand for office and laboratory space for life science firms. The combination office/lab spaces are in high demand but are short in supply.
GBCA President and CEO Benjamin Connors provided a recap of the pandemic shutdown and discussed GBCA’s focus to work with industry leaders to promote a more diverse and inclusive workforce. Connors also introduced the GBCA’s officers and board of directors, which includes Madison’s president Jim Dolente, Jr.
Immediate Past Chairman of the Board Joseph Clearkin discussed how the unprecedented collaboration among project owners, general contractors, subcontractors and suppliers to develop realistic safety protocols and procedures allowed the construction industry to endure the pandemic while strengthening ties with labor unions. He also highlighted how GBCA promoted COVID-19 safety protocols through Toolbox Talks which were shared nationally by OSHA and the Mask-Up Philly campaign which urged everyone in the construction industry to do their part to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and keep the industry working.
Cultivating the next generation of leaders in the construction industry was the topic of incoming GBCA Chairman Michael Armento’s presentation. Armento, who has served on the board since 2012, noted that GBCA is focused on workforce development with strong education and advocacy programs, including college tuition reimbursement and working directly with junior high and high schools. He indicated that GBCA’s Construction Leadership Council, an organization of all young leaders in member companies, is a bright spot in developing young leaders in the industry.
As we begin the new year, we look forward to working with you on your next project!