In business, as in life, it’s nice “to belong.” A lot of good can come from associations with like-minded people and organizations. With membership, Tucker Paving Inc. belongs to several organizations, including chambers of commerce, economic development agencies, and trade groups. It also has a relationship — as a contractor of record on one or more past construction jobs — with almost every municipality in Polk County, the Polk County government, and the Florida Department of Transportation.

Among the company’s tie-ins is a membership with Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., or ABC for short. ABC is a national organization with affiliates in each state and chapters within each state. ABC of Florida has five chapters. Because we have a centralized base in Winter Haven and Polk County, and because our work takes us all over Central Florida (generally within an 80-mile radius of Winter Haven), Tucker Paving actually is a member of two ABC chapters, the Central Florida Chapter and the Florida Gulf Coast Chapter.

Founded in 1950 as a nonprofit trade association, ABC represents 22,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms nationwide. (ABC defines “merit shop” as a philosophy that encourages open competition and a free-enterprise approach that awards contracts based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.) ABC has three member categories — contractor, supplier, and associate members (professional service firms, such as lawyers, accountants, insurance agencies, and construction owners) — and members abide by an excellent eight-point code of ethics.

ABC is the only construction trade association that exclusively supports merit shop contractors, and it does engage in government lobbying on behalf of members at the national and state levels. As an example of that lobbying, in mid-February the national organization sent a letter urging appropriators in the U.S. House of Representatives to roll back several “job-killing government regulations.”

In addition to the major benefit of having the national and state organizations politically “watch our backs” in the construction industry, ABC provides members with many opportunities for education, political action, and business development. ABC membership also is an excellent way to expand business contacts, and ABC-hosted conventions, meetings, and seminars are almost always good for a good time amid the business- and trade-related activities. We do have some fun at these events.

ABC is a fine association. We at Tucker Paving have enjoyed our membership and have gotten a lot out of it — including a fair number of awards for our construction work. Those are always nice to receive.

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