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  • 01 Jun 2020 10:59 AM | Albani Hogan (Administrator)

    I hope this column finds everyone doing well, social distancing and following all precautions to stay healthy. I can’t wait for the day when we say “remember the pandemic.”

    At the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange (GCBX), we are grateful that construction was deemed an essential business. We are grateful that this segment of the economy was able to continue to keep people working and families supported during these difficult times.

    As an association, GCBX provided free hand sanitizers to its members, is distributing free masks to GCBX members, provided our employees with the necessary tools to telecommute, ceased all “in person” networking events, held virtual events with proceeds going to provide meals to first responders, and worked tirelessly to keep GCBX members informed during this pandemic so they could focus on their businesses, their employees and their families.

    Since 1952, GCBX has represented the local commercial contracting industry. We have always realized the importance of supporting the local economy by working with local businesses, the ones who raise their families here, are invested in the community and support the local area.

    GCBX illustrated the importance of the local construction industry on the local economy in 1973 when it conducted what it called a “Silver Dollar Campaign.” GCBX Members paid their employees in silver dollars to illustrate how those dollars permeated the local economy. So many silver dollars went out into the community that legend has it that stores had signs in their windows that said “No More Silver Dollars”.

    That was then and this is now. GCBX wants to show its support for the local economy with a new “Work Local, Eat Local” campaign. We are working with Visit Sarasota to support “Savor Sarasota” and the Venice Chamber to support their “Shop Local – Win Local” campaigns.

    We are encouraging GCBX members to get out (responsibly – while following all the rules) and go out to dinner or pick up takeout from a local restaurant as often as possible. Plan a “staycation” at a local hotel. If your plans take you out of town, fly out of SRQ — our local airport is an important component of our local economy. When is the last time you visited Selby Gardens? Visit local attractions!

    Remember, we live in paradise, so live the dream and reacquaint yourself and your family with why this is such a special place and why so many people want to visit where we are lucky enough to live.

    We have all had and continue to have different experiences during this pandemic. We mourn those who were lost, we feel for those who have had to endure this illness and we worry about the workers and businesses that have been hit hardest. We are grateful to those who continued to make sure there was food on grocery store shelves, health care workers, first responders, postal workers and — particularly for GCBX members — those in county government who work in the building department. We have a different perspective and different priorities.

    I hope we all make supporting our local economy and local community a priority. I know at GCBX this has always been important to the organization and its membership and now more than ever we are planning to give back.

  • 06 Apr 2020 10:57 AM | Albani Hogan (Administrator)

    As I sit here today, telecommuting from my home to help flatten the coronavirus curve, the whole situation is still surreal. My heart goes out to those directly impacted by the virus and their families. My heart is heavy for those businesses forced to close and employees whose livelihoods have been adversely impacted by the effects of the coronavirus on our community, country and the world. Yet, my heart is full of gratitude for the first responders and medical staff who put their wellbeing on the line to keep us all safe and healthy. They are America at its best.

    The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange is a local Trade Association representing Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. Our priority has always been and always will be the local economy. Once we are past this crisis (AND WE WILL GET PAST THIS!), supporting local businesses and the local economy will be more important than ever! In the meantime, we need to keep open and functioning whatever segments of the economy that can be kept open safely, with workers’ health being the first and foremost consideration.

    That is why we have spoken to County Commissioners and written to Governor DeSantis, Congressman Buchanan and Congressman Steube to help stabilize the construction industry in the near term, by asking them to designate commercial construction as an “essential infrastructure business” in Florida.

    When making this request, we encouraged them to consider four main factors:

    • Recognize that construction is essential and should be allowed to continue under any potential remain-in-place order;

    • Government functions related to the building and development process, such as inspections, permitting and plan review services can be modified to protect the public health, but fundamentally should continue and serve the construction industry (For example, allow qualified private third-party inspections in case of government shutdown.);

    • Suppliers necessary to serve the construction, repair and maintenance should be allowed to operate;

    • Those working in building trades must be allowed to continue operating businesses.

    The construction industry continues to adhere to public health guidelines set forth by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

    According to OSHA, “Lower exposure risk (caution) jobs are those that do not require contact with people known to be, or suspected of being, infected with SARS-CoV-2 nor frequent close contact with (i.e., within 6 feet of) the general public. Workers in this category have minimal occupational contact with the public and other coworkers.”

    A large majority of, if not all, land development and commercial construction job tasks fall within OSHA’s Lower Exposure Risk jobs. Obviously, working on new commercial construction sites occurs primarily outdoors and does not involve going onto a location occupied by residents or a public location, and there is minimal (if any) physical or transactional contact with customers compared to other customer/client relationships. We understand any construction projects at nursing homes are not low risk and have already ceased.

    Commercial contracting is highly regulated and therefore cannot occur without support from the locality where it occurs. Builders require governmental approvals and permits to begin a project and they are needed through project completion. Therefore, governmental inspections occur along the entire process, from land development to final certificate of occupancy.

    As part of the essential infrastructure, commercial construction requires that government building and zoning departments continue to operate, and they have been. The government employees in these positions have been going above and beyond in their roles and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude.

    The inspection process has benefited from modifications. For example, when possible, inspectors are working “off hours” to minimize any contact with the construction team. They are making other arrangements with the owner or general contractor to safeguard their health by ensuring nobody will be on site during an inspection. Furthermore, certain localities use third-party engineers to sign off on inspections. These innovations may be one of the silver linings to come out of this crisis.

    Construction is currently one of Florida’s major economic staples. Keeping the men and women of the industry building must be a priority. If construction is disrupted, it creates a domino effect leading to dire negative economic repercussions for an already-burdened economy. Keeping the construction industry going during this time, keeps people employed and supports families who support local businesses and, in the end, will help our community to bounce back stronger and better than ever.

  • 02 Jan 2020 1:18 PM | Anonymous

    Several members of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, a nonprofit trade organization, are providing $25,000 of free in-kind services to help renovate an existing 3,657-square-foot duplex for Prodigal Daughters, a Christ-centered rehabilitation ministry for women suffering from the bondage of addiction, human trafficking, abuse or any other life-controlling issues.

    The Prodigal Daughters Journey Home serves as the nonprofit’s only housing for its 18-month to 24-month residential rehabilitation program. The four-bedroom and two-bathroom duplex consists of a playroom, craft room, living room and dining room. The home’s occupancy can accommodate six people, but the nonprofit is currently working on a change-of-use permit to allow up to 23 people.

    During the two-month renovation, GCBX members and other community partners are rezoning for the property to take in more occupants, providing painting and project management services, replacing rotten wood throughout the building, making cash contributions and installing new sinks, countertops and windows.

    Members who are stepping up to help with the project include Aqua Plumbing & Air, Bright Future Electric, Buffalo Lodging, Colonial Precast Concrete LLC, Current Builders Constructors, Forristall Enterprises, Graber Cabinets, Habitat for Humanity Manatee County, Mullets Aluminum Products Inc., Office of J. Rameau, PGT Innovations, Service Contracting Services, Sharp Properties Inc., Tradesmen International, United States Awning Co. and Woodruff & Sons Inc.

    “I have four daughters, and I believe in what Prodigal Daughters does and what they provide for women is very special,” said Darrell Turner, marketing director of the west coast division for Current Builders Constructors and the GCBX member who led this initiative. “After meeting the staff, I just fell in love with their mission and the organization. Thank you to our GCBX members for lending a helping hand and contributing to our communities.”

    Click here for the article

  • 05 Nov 2019 4:35 PM | Anonymous

    The program model provides job training to local community members who want to learn a trade and earn credentials.

    Marie Selby Botanical Gardens’ 10-year, three-phase master site plan is estimated to support nearly 3,000 jobs, with priority given to businesses that employ City of Sarasota residents. As a further benefit to the community and to ensure that there is a trained job force available for Selby Gardens’ Master Plan project, Selby Gardens and its construction partner, Willis Smith, have announced a collaboration with the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce’s CareerEdge Funders Collaborative and the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. The program model provides job training to local community members who want to learn a trade and earn credentials, while also seeking to close the gaps in skills in the region by connecting local citizens to training programs in high-demand fields, such as plumbing, electrical, HVAC and machining. 

  • 02 Aug 2019 10:49 AM | Anonymous

    SARASOTA, Fla. – The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange (GCBX), a not-for-profit trade organization, recently wrapped up its Building the Community and the Industry membership drive, resulting in a $2,000 contribution to the Manatee County Habitat for Humanity by the first place winner – Darrell Turner, marketing director of the West Coast division for Current Builders.

    The successful membership drive, which began in February 2019, added 46 new members to the 400 companies already associated with the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte Counties. Turner recruited 26 of those new businesses. The second place winner was Jon Kleiber, the regional manager for High Associates.

    "Our team always tries to help and participate with projects for Habitat for Humanity in any way that we can,” said Turner. For this donation, we were able to pick out a family, and our team chose to help a single mom with a young daughter. The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange is a great group of people, and this is an example of that.”

    Located 2210 10th St. W. in Bradenton, the home is currently under construction for Manatee Habitat home buyer Robin Chacon-Primous and her daughter. The newest home will be the seventh house the nonprofit is building in a neighborhood near LECOM Park and Village of the Arts. The three-bedroom and two-bathroom home is scheduled to be complete in October 2019. 

    “We are so thankful to Current Builders for their generous gift to Manatee Habitat for Humanity on behalf of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange,” said Diana Shoemaker, executive director of the Manatee County Habitat for Humanity. “This donation will contribute to the construction costs of the 136 Habitat home and help Robin achieve the dream of home ownership.”

    Manatee County Habitat for Humanity (MCHFH) a nonprofit, nondenominational, Christian ecumenical housing ministry that bring people together to build homes, communities and hope. 

    The Manatee County Habitat for Humanity is a nondenominational, Christian ecumenical housing ministry that brings people together to build homes, communities and hope. The nonprofit began operation in 1994, and to date, has built 129 homes in Manatee County. Working alongside qualified partner families, the affiliate has successfully built two communities – Washington Park with 12 homes and Village of the Palms with 34 homes.

    About the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange

    The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange (GCBX) was established in 1952 and is a not-for-profit corporation operating as a trade organization under the guidance of a volunteer board of directors as representatives of the industry. The not-for-profit organization represents a broad cross section of the building industry, including contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and others from affiliated industries. The GCBX membership is comprised of close to 400 companies in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. It includes some of the most respected contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, service providers and businesses in construction-affiliated industries. GCBX’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the building industry are conducted in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. For more information, visit www.GCBX.org.


  • 07 Jun 2019 10:45 AM | Anonymous

    SARASOTA, Fla. – The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange (GCBX), a not-for-profit trade organization, is launching a summer initiative focused on the health and wellness of its members.

    Called GCBX Cares, the summer-long program will offer health and fitness opportunities for its members. The healthy living options include a free 45-minute lunch-and-burn workout class at Orangetheory Fitness, cycling classes with Off the Handle! cycling studio, specialty yoga classes, healthy cooking classes, at- home workouts and one-on-one guidance and nutritional counseling by Positively Diesel, lunch-and-learn workshops with Longevity Wellness Clinic and heart score testing at the Manatee Diagnostic Center, among other movement and healthy living happenings.

    “With this summer initiative, we want to put our members on the right track and help them strike the elusive work-life balance,” said Mary Dougherty, executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. “Our members work in a highly competitive industry. They are focused on growing their businesses, engaging with the community and taking care of their employees, and typically, their own well-being falls to the wayside. With this initiative, we want to show them that GCBX truly cares. Our members are the foundation for our organization and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is critically important to keeping that foundation solid."

    As part of this initiative, GCBX is introducing the Transformation Challenge, a workout challenge with Orangetheory Fitness from July 7 through August 17.

    For more information, visit www.GCBX.org or call 941-907-7745.

    About the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange

    The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange (GCBX) was established in 1952 and is a not-for-profit corporation operating as a trade organization under the guidance of a volunteer board of directors as representatives of the industry. The not-for-profit organization represents a broad cross section of the building industry, including contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and others from affiliated industries. The GCBX membership is comprised of close to 400 companies in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. It includes some of the most respected contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, service providers and businesses in construction-affiliated industries. GCBX’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the building industry are conducted in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. For more information, visit www.GCBX.org.


  • 28 Mar 2019 9:10 AM | Anonymous

    About 400 students learned about the construction industry at MTC

    Christopher Emigdio, a junior at Lakewood Ranch High, was impressed with what he saw.

    In front of him, Electrical Technology students Joseph Zagorski and Christian Perez were explaining to Emigdio and other high school students some of what they had learned in their time at Manatee Technical College.

    Emigdio was one of about 400 high school students that came from Sarasota and Manatee counties to the Construction Rodeo, which is a hands-on introduction to the construction industry for high school students. The students explored the industry through electricity, HVAC, carpentry and plumbing programs, among others.

    Mary Dougherty, executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, said the event is to interest high schoolers as well as a way to bring more people to the workforce.

    “A big problem in the industry is the labor shortage,” Dougherty said, noting an oncoming “retirement tsunami.” This event, she said, “was kind of a match made in heaven.”

    The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange sponsored the event, which alternates between Manatee Technical College and Suncoast Technical College in Sarasota.

    Dougherty said this year’s event was the biggest in terms of attendance.

    “The young people are coming prepared with better questions,” she said.

    Aside from the hands-on-experience students received, they were also educated on details like resumes, how to apply for jobs, salaries and benefits. Nick Ninos, safety director for Bright Future electricity, provided more personal advice to the students.

    “Believe in yourselves,” he said. “The rest will take care of itself.”

    Chuck Jacobson, who owns Aqua Plumbing and is chair of the subcontractor’s council with the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, appreciated the event shined a light on opportunities besides college.

    “This is where I came from, 40 years ago,” he said. “College isn’t for everybody.”

    He said seeing all of the students engaged and learning gives him hope for the future of the construction industry.

    Isaiah Greenwald, a freshman at Braden River High School, found the event engaging.

    “It’s really cool to learn about all the different places I can go into,” he said.

    Eric Sanders, college and career adviser at Braden River, said he noticed students responding well to the event.

    “It opens the kids’ eyes,” he said. “This is a good thing for our kids.”

    Mark Fulwood, a junior at Lakewood Ranch High School, said he was interested in the event specifically to learn more about the Electrical Technology program.

    “My grandpa, he was an electrician,” he said. “I’m trying to learn the trade.”

    Fulwood said he enjoyed learning something new, like terminology and skills.

    Larry Beebe, an instructor in the Electrical Technology Program, said he hopes the program stimulates students and opens their eyes to the possibility of attending MTC.

    “We can’t teach as fast as the outside world can employ them,” he said.

    Beebe said he’s partial to his program, but is OK with any student choosing MTC program.

    They certainly now know there are plenty of options.

    https://www.yourobserver.com/article/rodeo-steers-students-to-construction-at-manatee-technical-college
  • 19 Apr 2018 11:55 AM | Anonymous

    Construction Rodeo Attracts and Educates Hundreds of High School Students

    The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange (GCBX), a not-for-profit construction industry trade organization, recently held its second annual Construction Rodeo, an event that showcased information on careers in construction to high school students.

    In partnership with the Sarasota Technical College and Manatee Technical College, about 300 students from Sarasota and Manatee Counties were bused to the event, which was held March 20 at the Sarasota Technical College. During the four-hour event, more than 35 local businesses, speakers and hands-on demonstrations helped show students the various construction-related career opportunities.

    “There is so much opportunity in construction right now and so much talent in our schools,” said Mary Dougherty, executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange. “This event is the perfect way to ensure our students know the career path to get into those vacancies that are right here in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. We looked at opportunities for young people in regards to internships or apprenticeships in construction, and we want to start opening these prospects up for them to help solve the construction-industry workforce crisis.”

    Last year, the inaugural community event attracted more than 350 high school students looking to learn about these prospects. Over 20 students were given apprenticeship opportunities or jobs after the event.

    About the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange

    The Gulf Coast Builders Exchange was established in 1952 and is a not-for-profit corporation operating as a trade organization under the guidance of a volunteer board of directors as representatives of the industry. The not-for-profit organization represents a broad cross section of the building industry, including contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and others from affiliated industries.

    The GCBX membership is comprised of close to 400 companies in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. It includes some of the most respected contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, service providers and businesses in construction-affiliated industries. GCBX’s advocacy efforts on behalf of the building industry are conducted in Manatee, Sarasota and Charlotte counties. 


  • 19 Apr 2018 11:53 AM | Anonymous

    Cooperation Amid Competition

    Henry Ford once said, "If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself." Moving forward in business is one thing but in a community, it can be entirely different. Collaboration is not always easy in the face of political agendas, divisiveness and controversy. However, I take solace in knowing that our community is full of forward-thinking, progressive leaders who know that only by working together will we be successful.

    As the executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange, a main goal of my job is to facilitate collaboration. It’s something our members exemplify every day in everything that they do. I witness the way our members seek to strengthen relationships between trades to foster a members-working-with-members rapport and it’s a good reminder about how important it is to collaborate and forge positive relationships—even between competitors. Let me illustrate with a few examples.

    On April 2, PGT Innovations and the SKY Family Venice unveiled a new 7,500-square-foot child care center. This much-needed project offers affordable, convenient child care services to PGT Innovations’ families with young children as well as parents who work in the Triple Diamond Commerce Park and surrounding area in North Venice.

    Many of our members in addition to PGT Innovations worked together to bring this 25-year-old dream to fruition, including J.E. Charlotte Construction and Hall Architects. This PGT Innovations-owned facility, built right in our backyard, could be seen as a statewide model.

    For our local businesses, it’s so important to have a local contractor involved every step of the way. Their presence ensures that their fees stay in the local economy. When these area contractors get paid, they dine, shop, buy homes and send their children to schools here. Out-of-town crews will take their money elsewhere.

    Jason Swift, president at Jon F. Swift Construction, agrees. Finding quality local subcontractors for the Siesta Beach project was one his top priorities, he says. As a local company, we live here, invest here and raise our kids here. Engaging these subcontractors ultimately will contribute to growing our business and the local economy.

    Swift’s team led the renovation and improvement project for Siesta Key Public Beach, along with seven other members, to update its existing facilities, increase parking and add new public facilities. It officially opened in February 2016.

    Another example is The Mall at University Town Center, which employed a whopping total of 24 GCBX members.

    Right now, at least 10 GCBX members—from Tandem Construction and Sutter Roofing to Key Glass and Mullet’s Aluminum Products—are working on the new Atlanta Braves spring training complex in North Port. Tandem Construction is seeing the benefits.

    Our ability to partner with a core base of local subcontractors on the Atlanta Braves spring training facility has facilitated benefits in manpower, pricing and scheduling that wouldn’t have been achieved otherwise, says Tandem Construction’s director of Client Services, Kent Hayes.

    We live in a competitive marketplace, but as our economy improves, there is work for everyone. It is only by strengthening our partnerships with each other that we will collectively move forward as a community. I commend the GCBX membership for always being a shining example of this important guiding vision.

    By Mary Dougherty is executive director of the Gulf Coast Builders Exchange


  • 09 Jan 2018 1:27 PM | Anonymous

    Florida Chief Financial Officer to Speak in Sarasota

    Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis will speak at the annual awards dinner of the Gulf Coast Builders Xchange, which takes place 6-9 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 1, at the Hyatt Regency, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota. Tickets are $100-$225. In addition to Patronis’ keynote speech, the event will honor the organization’s lifetime achievement award recipient, the recipient of the group’s chairman’s award and the top volunteer of the year.

    https://www.941ceo.com/articles/2018/1/9/florida-chief-financial-officer-to-speak-in-sarasota-in-february

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Gulf Coast Builders Exchange is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. Copyright © 2017. All Rights Reserved
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Lakewood Ranch, FL 34202
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