SEVERAL TUCKER PAVING representatives were among the participants Jan. 25 when the Central Florida Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., held its Sporting Clays activity for members. The members of our gang came back with a report that they had a “great time” at the event, held at Catfish Creek Sporting Clays near Haines City.

Fun events like Sporting Clays and the upcoming (March 10) Bass Fishing Tournament on the Butler Chain of Lakes in Orange County are just some of the benefits of membership in Central Florida ABC. The organization, one of five chapters of ABC of Florida, is Central Florida’s largest community of commercial contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, associates, and industry leaders, and it exists for many more reasons that just “fun.”

ABC members believe in the “merit shop philosophy” — one that encourages open competition and a free-enterprise approach that awards contracts solely based on merit, regardless of labor affiliation. ABC members believe that this philosophy improves opportunities for individuals and contractors throughout the nation.

ABC exists to connect member teams with customers and suppliers, peers, and industry leaders; to serve as the industry advocate in Tallahassee and Washington; and to help member organizations build a safe and skilled workforce.

ABC of Florida employs a full-time lobbying team to fight for the interests of the association and the construction industry at large during each session of the Florida Legislature. With the 2017 legislative session set to convene March 7, the ABC lobbyists are about to become really busy.

ABC of Florida has outlined five legislative priorities for 2017 on its website at Each is important, but here are three (written in the perspective of ABC of Florida) that stand out in particular:

Apprenticeship/Workforce Development Reform — Florida continues to suffer from one of the worst skilled worker shortages in recent history. As the largest single provider of apprenticeship training in the state, ABC of Florida is dedicated to identifying how we can better educate individuals on the industry, on the availability of good and high paying jobs, and to attract that next generation of workers to one of the top five revenue generators for the state. Legislative result: Job creation.

Building Regulation Reform — Construction does not operate in geographic silos and would be best served by uniform and predictable regulation. While we know that the Florida Building Code allows for variation not just by region but by individual municipality, we believe that there are areas where one and consistent standard would be best. This session we will work on establishing one, uniform process to determine permit fees. Our effort is not to dictate what the fee is, but instead, that everyone use the same equation for establishing their fees. Legislative result: Job creation and improved regulatory environment.

Open Competition — ABC was founded on the “Merit Shop Philosophy‚” which means we believe that with public construction, where taxpayers and their dollars are concerned, that a competitive and open process is best for all involved. Unfortunately however, we have seen efforts by local governments to whittle down the available talent pool by establishing a series of pre-bid mandates that can eliminate competitive processes. From employee hiring mandates to required wage and benefit packages, the private sector is being asked to allow local governments to dictate how they function as a company if they want to be considered on a bid. This legislation would address this “new normal” in public procurement. Legislative result: Job creation and improved regulatory environment.

Here at Tucker Paving, we like the fact that some of our employees can get away from the office occasionally and enjoy simply fun-time events like the Sporting Clays activity Central Florida ABC put on recently. On the more serious side, we’re pleased to belong to an organization that watches out for our best business interests and, overall, the best interests of the entire Florida construction industry.