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Top Talked-About Tech at the 2023 ABC Joint Tech Summit

The 2nd annual ABC Joint Tech Summit was held on Thursday, April 27, in Tysons, VA. This event, hosted by the ABC chapters of Chesapeake Shores, Greater Baltimore, Metro Washington and Virginia, brought together over 200 construction professionals to learn and talk about cutting-edge construction technology and safety. Construction Executive featured the event and summarized the full-day experience perfectly:

Read below or view the article on Construction Executive’s website.

At the 2023 ABC Joint Tech Summit in Tysons Corner, Virginia, on April 27, there was talk, of course, of various construction technologies, including AI, VR, autonomous vehicles, impairment detection, digital twins, blockchains and Spot the Robot Dog. All this different tech, however, was discussed for the same two reasons: safety and efficiency.

While some companies are just discovering the vast uses for and benefits of smart technology in construction, other companies are already well into adoption and implementation. Here is a breakdown of some of the contech showcased at the Joint Tech Summit, which was presented by four ABC chapters: Chesapeake Shores, Greater Baltimore, Metro Washington and Virginia.

AUTONOMOUS MACHINES 
The talk of the Tech Summit was Spot the Robot Dog from Boston Dynamics. Spot can walk, run, crawl, climb stairs and tortuous terrain, right itself from a fall, return to its charging port when its battery runs low and is compatible with a variety of add-ons, like 360 cameras. Spot is controlled via tablet and can be programmed to run on its own, allowing for increased worker and jobsite safety and productivity.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE
Even if you aren’t using ChatGPT to forge full-length documents, you probably still use artificial intelligence daily. If you’ve ever googled anything, you know the search engine will generate the rest of your search and offer suggestions; if you’ve ever typed an email, you know it will offer to fill in the rest of your sentence. That is generated by AI.

If you wear a smart watch, you have had your steps, heart rate, temperature, decibel exposure and overall health score monitored by AI. Beyond sending emails and reminding you to stand up every hour, simple, everyday AI such as ChatGPT and wearables are great tools to implement in construction.

For example, text-based AI is a great tool for organizing data: filing reports, ensuring those reports actually get completed and filed and that the data within them is consistent. AI of this nature can also help mitigate risk before it even exists by conducting a risk analysis and producing predictive analytics based on reports collected.

Wearable AI is also a great tool for directly monitoring and mitigating worker safety. In addition to performing a predictive analysis, wearables analyze physical scenarios, which can be anything from high heat exposure to falling to near-accidents. AI knows when a worker was, is and could be at risk and how to intercept, diminish or avoid that risk for optimal worker safety and jobsite efficiency.

VIRTUAL REALITY
There are more uses for virtual reality than playing video games—although some of them can feel very much like a video game. VR together with AI is being used in parts of the construction industry to run training scenarios. This allows for data to predict problems and generate solutions for trainees to test within a controlled environment. With tools like reality capture from OpenSpace, contractors can also surveil jobsites remotely when a virtual workspace is created from the digital capture of the real workspace, allowing work to be done whenever and from wherever, optimizing productivity and eliminating variable risk factors.

IMPAIRMENT DETECTION
One piece of tech drew more attention and questions than the others at the summit. As cannabis becomes legalized for recreational and medical use in more states, impairment detection was the popular product of the day. The DRUID app, founded by Impairment Science Inc., is a portable cognitive behavioral assessment tool that is run not unlike a concussion test: A worker takes an initial test to produce a baseline measurement of cognitive and motor functions. Then that baseline is measured against future testing. This simple, noninvasive, privacy-protecting product can not only mitigate safety risks by measuring physical impairment, but can also pinpoint potential mental health risks.

Impairment Science COO Chris Bensley also argued that in some states, DRUID might increase productivity and an employee candidate pool by negating the need for cumbersome drug-testing procedures.

Of course, there is even more contech to be talked about—and maybe even discovered—such as 3D printing, BIM, NFTs. Some of this technology has been around for years already, yet is only now starting to gain popularity within the industry. While some people fear a tech takeover, losing their jobs to robots and machines and computers, if the construction industry embraces it, technology might actually teach more than it takes. In the end, the technological revolution is not simply about specific technologies and their specifically designed purposes.

“It is about technology innovation that is happening across the globe,” said Tech Summit speaker Kris Lengieza, vice president of global partnerships and alliances for Procore, “and how we can put some of those things to work for us in our industry.”

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Peter Rowland of Smartapp.com demonstrates his company’s smartboard technology

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Circle of Winners: Multiple ABC-VA Member Companies Receive Awards at the 2023 ABC National Convention

ABC Virginia today announced multiple member companies won national awards presented during the 33rd annual Excellence in Construction Awards during ABC Convention 2023 in Orlando, Florida, on March 16. Categories include the Excellence in Construction Awards, National Safety Excellence Awards and IDE (Inclusion, Diversity & Equity) Awards, with some members identifying with other chapters.

Excellence in Construction® (EIC) Awards
The EIC awards are the construction industry’s leading national competition that honors general and specialty contractors for world-class, safe and innovative construction projects from across the country.

Congratulations!
Hensel Phelps, Archer Hotel Tysons Corner—Eagle Winner
Hensel Phelps, Marriott International Headquarters Hotel and Office—Pyramid Winner
Harkins Builders, Inc., Brightview Columbia—Pyramid Winner, identifying with ABC Metro Washington
David Allen Company, Marriott HQ Hotel—Eagle Winner, identifying with ABC Metro Washington
Ruppert Landscape, A Washington DC Temple—Eagle Winner, identifying with ABC Metro Washington

National Safety Excellence Awards
The National Safety Excellence Award is given to members that have demonstrated remarkable achievements in leadership, safety and innovation. The awards were presented to 49 contractors across the country.

Congratulations!
LEEBCOR Services—Excellence Winner
Hourigan—Pinnacle Winner

Inclusion, Diversity & Equity (IDE) Awards
The National Inclusion, Diversity and Equity Excellence Awards recognize members that display exemplary IDE leadership in their company, workforce, supply chain and community with best-in-class recruitment policies, retention practices and training and mentoring programs.

Congratulations!
Hensel Phelps—Excellence Winner, identifying with ABC Rocky Mountain

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Archer Hotel HP Exterior 4

Excellence in Construction Eagle Award Winner – Archer Hotel Tysons Corner, Hensel Phelps

Forty-six ABC Virginia Members Named National, Top-Performing US Construction Contractors

2023 Top Performers LogoDulles, Virginia, March 7—Associated Builders and Contractors – Virginia (ABC-VA) today announced forty-six (46) member companies were named to Associated Builders and Contractors’ fifth annual Top Performers publication, which lists its contractor members that build the country’s most enduring, innovative, high-quality construction projects, ranked by work hours. The ABC-VA Chapter now holds the record for most Top Performers.

To be eligible, ABC-VA Top Performers achieved Gold status or higher in ABC’s STEP Safety Management System, which makes the top-performing contractors more than six times safer than the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics industry average, according to ABC’s Safety Performance Report. The majority of the honorees also must earn ABC’s Accredited Quality Contractor credential, which recognizes commitment to corporate responsibility in quality, safety, talent management—including inclusion, diversity and equity—education and community relations.

“This year’s ABC Top Performers agree that culture is key,” said Michael Bellaman, president and CEO of ABC. “Not only is a strong corporate culture an essential component of a thriving and vibrant workplace, but it helps retain top talent, create safe and healthy jobsites and build better communities. We honor these top-performing contractors at ABC-VA that are placing the highest importance on investing in their people, health and safety, and innovation.”

Through STEP, AQC and other robust programs, ABC-VA’s Top Performers demonstrate they:

  • Sustain and grow their businesses, financially and economically
  • Offer market-competitive compensation, benefit and retirement packages
  • Commit to world-class safety
  • Commit to workforce development, education and creating career opportunities
  • Commit to an inclusive and diverse work environment
  • Develop opportunities for their employees to achieve their career dreams
  • Cultivate committed leadership

ABC-VA’s 2023 Top Performers

ACECO, LLC

Allan Myers Balfour Beatty Branch Builds
Brite Electric Brothers Mechanical, Inc. Coakley & Williams Construction ColonialWebb Contractors
Comfort Systems of Virginia, Inc. DAVIS Construction Delaware Elevator, Inc. Donohoe Construction Company
Etolin Strait Development Group, LLC Forrester Construction GovSolutions, Inc. Heartland Construction, Inc.
Helix Electric Hensel Phelps Hoar Construction, LLC Hourigan
Howard Shockey & Sons, Inc. Hudgins Contracting Corp. JRC Mechanical Kwest Group, LLC
LEEBCOR Services, LLC Lithko Contracting LLC M.C. Dean, Inc. MIG GOV, LLC
Miller & Long Co., Inc. Power Design, Inc. Prospect Waterproofing Co. REW Corporation
S.W. Funk Industrial Contractors, Inc. SAW Contracting, Inc. Scott-Long Construction, Inc. Shapiro & Duncan, Inc.
Skanska Building, Inc. Tazewell Contracting Tecta America Zero Company Telligent Masonry, LLC
TST Construction TST Roofing W.M. Jordan Company Warfel Construction Company
Watson Electrical Construction WCS Construction, LLC

The ABC Top Performers lists identify the Top 250 Performers, Top General Contractors, Top Trade Contractors, Top Electrical Contractors, Top Plumbing/HVAC Contractors, Top Specialty Contractors and Top Performers by Market, all of which have earned the elite Accredited Quality Contractor credential. The Top Performers with Special Designations hold one or more special designations. The Top Performers were ranked by the number of hours worked in 2021, as reported in their 2022 STEP applications. The rankings also include lists of top-performing companies in 18 market segments, such as government, health care, infrastructure, military, retail, religious, high tech, airport and sports complexes.

View the 2023 Top Performers lists at abc.org/topperformers.

Associated Builders and Contractors is a national construction industry trade association established in 1950 that represents more than 22,000 members. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 68 chapters help members develop people, win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which ABC and its members work. Visit us at abc.org.   

ABC-VA’s Sherrie Dickerson Honored as Registered Apprenticeship Ambassador at DOLI’s 85th Anniversary Celebration

Sherrie Dickerson

Sherrie Dickerson, ABC-VA Education Coordinator

ABC-VA is proud to announce Education Coordinator, Sherrie Dickerson, has been honored as a Registered Apprenticeship Ambassador.

The Virginia Department of Labor and Industry celebrated 85 years of Registered Apprenticeship on Thursday, January 26, 2023. Included in the celebration were awards for Outstanding Apprentices, Apprenticeship Ambassadors, Service Awards, and High-Volume Sponsors.

ABC-VA’s own Apprenticeship Director, Sherrie Dickerson, was honored as a Registered Apprenticeship Ambassador. Sherrie was selected because of her passion and energies to help individuals, families, neighborhoods, towns, and the Commonwealth. Since her arrival with ABC-VA in March of 2020, Sherrie has been a pillar of strength and leadership of the programs in Richmond, managing related instruction for over 500 apprentices each year in Central Virginia. In a unique environment, Sherrie arrives before classes begin at 7 am each morning and does not stop until she knows that all of her students and instructors have been taken care of.

In 2022, Sherrie fielded two competitors in ABC National’s Craft Competition with the HVAC competitor bringing home the Silver Medal. In 2023, she will send five competitors to the NCC. Sherrie takes time each day to talk to students and instructors personally about their lives inside and outside of the classroom. She communicates with employers on a regular basis to keep them abreast of what is happening in the classroom to make sure their instruction there is reinforced on the job. She does it all with a smile because she is truly proud of them and wants everyone to succeed.

Several ABC-VA members were also recognized for their apprenticeship accomplishments and service awards. Honorees included were:

M.C. Dean, Inc., celebrating 71 years as a Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor and having the Largest Registered Apprenticeship Program in the Region (Loudoun County).  Additionally, Erin May was honored as a Registered Apprenticeship Ambassador
Carter Machinery, celebrating 57 years as a Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor
and having the Largest Registered Apprenticeship Program in the Region (Hanover County)
Atlantic Constructors, Inc.
, celebrating 67 years as a Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor. On hand to receive this award were Terrence Kerner, Heather Tippett, and Bill Cooper
Bay Electric Company, celebrating 54 years as a Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor
BUHL Electric Co., celebrating 51 years as a Registered Apprenticeship Sponsor

We thank Sherrie and these special ABC-VA members for their dedication and commitment to our workforce.

As Commissioner Gary Pan stated, “Registered Apprenticeship was first established in Virginia with the signing of the Virginia Apprenticeship Act in 1938. It has been a training system that produces highly skilled workers to meet the demands of employers competing in a global economy, through a combination of on-the-job training and related technical instruction.  It is a ‘win-win’ approach to workforce development for employers and employees, while rebuilding the Virginia Economy. Registered Apprenticeship is an ideal model for employers to develop their current and future workforce by providing on-the-job training and selecting occupation specific Related Technical Instruction.”

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Terrence Kerner Awarded Member of the Year (2022)

Member Of The Year Terrence Kerner, ACI Builds With Doug

Doug Peterson (left), 2022 ABC-VA Chairman with Terrence Kerner, 2022 ABC-VA Member of the Year

Associated Builders & Contractors – Virginia Chapter (ABC-VA), is pleased to announce our Member of the Year for 2022: Terrence Kerner, President of Atlantic Constructors, Inc. (ACI)!

This honor is bestowed upon a member each year that shows commitment to not only ABC-VA, but to the industry, throughout his/her career.

Terrence is the epitome of generosity when it comes to serving not only within his company but also the communities in and around where ACI builds. He has been actively involved with ABC for over 20 years, serving in a leadership role in Central Virginia committees and for the ABC-VA Board of Directors, where he currently serves on the Executive Committee as Second Vice Chair.

He has dedicated himself to developing future leaders in the industry, within his own company, and with other member companies – serving as a liaison and a recruiter in getting members engaged and involved.  He has been a champion for apprenticeship efforts in Richmond, never hesitating to make sure our classrooms are staffed with instructors and our lab stocked with special tools and supplies. He contributes to the ABC Political Action Committee (PAC) to help support the association’s merit-shop philosophy and pro-business endeavors. He has also dedicated countless resources to ABC networking and social events and encourages others within ACI to do the same.

He is supported in his efforts by his wife, Kelly, his children, and his friends, colleagues, and employees at ACI.

Outside of ABC, Terrence is equally as passionate about making the world a better place. He is heavily involved in many charitable and community ventures, including but certainly not limited to, Conexus for Children’s Vision and American Heart Association.

Member Of The Year Terrence Kerner, ACI Builds

L to R: JT East, Terrence Kerner, Evan Shriver, Hal Hamner (ACI team)