Northern California Engineering Contractors Association

February 7, 2019

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John’s Soapbox

Recap of Installation Evening

ECA’s 42nd Annual Installation and Awards Dinner was Saturday, February 2, 2019. If you were there, thank you. If you missed it, here is some of what you missed.

I opened with welcoming remarks to the 230 attendees (it was a sold out event!). My comments addressed how the ECA Members, although fierce competitors, are bound together with common bonds that include trying to elevate our worker’s status through education, training, and fair labor practices. I also noted the original purposes which our Founders (Henry and Mario Ghilotti, Stephen Tyler, Art Siri, and Al Dalecio) wrote in 1976 that include membership in the ECA is an assurance to the public of the skill, integrity and responsibility of its members. The purposes stated by our Founders are still relevant and should strive to be achieved today.

The importance of hiring and buying locally was also stressed. To all of the Public Officials that read this Newsletter, the importance of hiring and supporting local workers and suppliers and contractors is without equal. When local dollars stay in the local economy, they “turn over” as many as seven times to stimulate our Communities. Look no further than the generous donations of ECA Members to build the Miracle League ballfield in Petaluma-three local Contractors donated over $200,000 each to build this “miracle” for kids with down syndrome and autism and other disabilities that limit them from playing on other ballfields. The Miracle League is a lasting benefit to the Community that was made possible by local workers and firms being utilized so they could give back to the less fortunate. The Miracle League opening Day is scheduled for April 14th, 12pm – 3pm See the link for info.

Walt Turner (North Bay Petroleum) was honored by our outgoing President Brett Wilmes (Soiland Company) as the 2018 Volunteer of the Year for the ECA. Walt was such a great helper that he brings his wife and daughters to the Car Show each year on Father’s Day. He has tirelessly helped with the planning of the show and making sure the attendees have a great day and we all thank Walt and congratulate him on being the Volunteer of the Year!

Brett also thanked outgoing Board of Directors Sharon Cutler of R & S Trucking and Dale Mahoney of Ghilotti Construction Company. Although both helped lead the ECA with their time and knowledge, Dale was a force and will always be appreciated for his dedication as a Board Member and President.

Doug Allard (Wattle Guys) was honored as the ECA 2018 Affiliate of the Year and gave a wonderful speak on how his team stepped up after the October fires to help fire victims as a result of a phone call from Paul Kieran of the North Coast Regional Water Quality Board. Paul asked Doug to assist with erosion control. Doug actually used his portable wattle maker in his burnt-out front yard off of Riebli Road to better assist fire victims. Doug was recognized as a four-time winner of the Affiliate Award and he also had received the “Eagle Trophy” when he as inducted into the Hermsmeyer Hall of Fame in 1997. Unfortunately, his Award had been burnt and lost in the Tubbs fire as his home was destroyed so the ECA presented him with a replacement trophy. Very poignant and Doug was sincerely touched.

The Contractor of the Year for 2018 was Mike Smith Jr. of Argonaut. Although Mike is well known for not seeking the spotlight and does not like public speaking, his talk was “off the charts” good. He gave credit to his team at Argo and thanked his beautiful wife who stood by his side through good and bad times. Special thanks to Marc Winters was very touching and heartfelt.

Erik Fowler (V Dolan Trucking) received the Hermsmeyer Hall of Fame Award and gave the audience insight into what makes him successful and fulfilled. Erik’s “love of his life” wife Kim, children Alyssa and Colby were all present to share in Erik’s big moment. Erik’s told us his faith was a guiding principle for him, and also his old pal Glen Ghilotti had been. Glen’s nickname for Erik was always “Cupcake”.

The obvious choice for the posthumous Hermsmeyer Hall of Fame Inductee for 2018 was Glen. Son Kevin had to give two speeches-one as incoming President and the other was a tribute to his dad-Glen Ghilotti. Kevin did his dad proud. He shared his early start operating excavators, and his inherited respect and consideration of his “team” at Team Ghilotti. One of my favorite stories was about Glen’s refusal to buy a fancy Cadillac that he liked because he did not want to be driving something his own employees could not afford to drive.

Our sponsors are listed here as well as our Sustaining Members, but special thanks to the generous sponsorships for the Installation Dinner of: Ghilotti Bros – Gold Sponsor; Kadon Trucking – Hermsmeyer Hall of Fame Sponsor; Team Ghilotti – President’s Reception Sponsor; The Wattle Guys – Hermsmeyer Hall of Fame Sponsor; Argonaut Constructors – Awards & Gifts Sponsor; VDolan Trucking – Awards & Gifts Sponsor. Please see below for the full list of sponsors.

It was a wonderful evening and I know the honorees were appreciative of being recognized. I cannot wait for next year. If you have some ideas on who should be considered for Contractor or Affiliate of the Year awards or Hall of Fame induction next year, please look at the link below for the complete list of past winners and then contact the head of our new Nominating Committee Brett Wilmes to share your possible honorees.

I had a great time and am very thankful to have been able to MC the event for my 10th year in a row. My how time flies—-

That’s All Folks!: