By Nate Wright, Kitty Lovell, Kevin Brooks, and Sam Esquivel
May 1, 2022

The 2022 AGC Annual Convention

After receiving the national Resilient Student Chapter Award, we (UMass AGC) were invited to the 2022 Annual AGC Convention in Grapevine, Texas to present our chapter’s work and receive the award. Here’s a summary and reflection on the trip!

The convention was hosted at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center which offered large exhibition halls and meeting rooms for the extensive list of activities and speakers that AGC members could attend during the conference. 

Over the course of the two days that we attended the convention we…

  • Learned about the construction industry
  • Met industry leaders and professionals
  • Presented our work as a student chapter to over 100 other students
  • Talked with students from other AGC chapters and learned how they run their chapters

The first event we attended at the convention was the opening general session. We were impressed by the speakers. Among those who presented was Neil Pasricha, who shared a powerful story and his life’s research on happiness. He told us about a routine he recommends (in the morning, before we look at our phones) in order to have a great day: write down and complete the sentence stems “I will let go of…”, “I am grateful for…”, and “I will focus on…”. He also reminded us to never forget how lucky we are and how good we have it.

When we set up our trifold board in the exhibition hall, we were impressed by the other students who all work tirelessly to provide enriching opportunities for their peers. We also noticed that most of the students at the convention were construction management and building technology majors. A lot of the schools had established construction programs that pay for some of their students to attend the conference year after year. 

The opening general session

The UMass trifold board, organized by Kitty
The expo hall
Sam in the expo hall

The second day of the convention we split up and attended different events: 

Sam attended the presentation “Navigating the Supply Chain Pandemic: Assessing and Forecasting the Impact of Supply Chain Disruptions, and Developing Tools and Strategies for Mitigating and Managing the Associated Risks.” He heard about how global supply chain issues hit the construction industry particularly hard. Supply chain delays and disruptions, the unavailability of materials, equipment and labor, impending economic inflation, and the lingering effects of COVID-19 have dramatically impacted today’s construction market. Internationally, these issues are creating significant new and growing risks for contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, owners, sureties, and all industry participants. This presentation reasserted the resilient nature of the industry and the positions that companies have taken during this time period to adapt accordingly. Emphasized was communication lines, interpersonal skills, and the understanding to be flexible on schedules since we are not ‘out of the woods’ yet in the industry.

The four AGC officers who attended from left to right: Nate Wright, Sam Esquivel, Kitty Lovell, and Kevin Brooks

Kitty next to a tree in Dallas

Kevin and Nate attended Tracy Timm’s “Sustainable Success: The Secret to Mastering Work-Life Balance” workshop. Tracy spoke about an executive who had taken the time every year to go over the values and commitments felt by each member of his family, and by his family as a whole. Part of that was his family’s commitment to remaining in one location until his children had finished high school. When a competitor offered him double his current salary to relocate halfway across the country, he easily turned them down as the offer was against his family values. More broadly, Tracy demonstrated that taking the time to refine our values, and the things we’ll commit to in order to uphold them, makes our everyday lives easier. By knowing what we stand for and what we’ll do to maintain that, we remove much of the uncertainty surrounding the decisions we make. The presentation was extremely insightful and several of us have adopted some of the commitments we set out during the workshop!

Kitty attended the session of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the workplace. A panel of women construction industry workers answered questions like “what is the most memorable moment in your career?” And “as a woman, do you feel like you can be your authentic self at work?” and many more. Their answers taught and demonstrated that if you feel like you can be YOU on the first day of work, then you probably work for the right people, and if you knowledgeable people will listen to you. Some of the panelists explained how they weren’t satisfied with their careers and so they took initiative, and through a strong relationship with their employers, made roles that fit their talents, even if the jobs didn’t previously exist. Overall, the panelists made it a point to remind the audience that the workplace can be an environment to build each other up. 

CLC Session – Sustainable Success: The Secret to Mastering Work-Life Balance

That afternoon, we also had the opportunity to present our work as the resilient student chapter to a room full of other AGC student groups from around the country. After the presentations finished, we got into groups and discussed ways to increase member involvement and retention at the student level. 

We hope that in the future more UMass students can have the opportunity to attend the conference, especially BCT students. We are all extremely grateful for the opportunity that the convention gave us to grow as aspiring construction professionals. It would not have been possible without support from the UMass CEE Department, AGCA, AGC MA, and our members in the club.

Thanks for reading!
Sam, Kitty, Kevin, and Nate

Receiving the plaque from an AGC student chapter coordinator
Nate, Kitty, Kevin, and Sam get a photo with Bob Lanham, President of AGC of America
UMass AGC president Nate Wright with advisors Professors Civjan (CEE) and Romero (BCT)

UMass AGC officers and advisors posing with the plaque!

And some more fun photos:

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