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Construction related jobs 8% of county work force

Chamber hosts 'Eggs and Issues' breakfast

Chamber hosts 'Eggs and Issues' breakfast

February 26, 2003

Construction and related jobs account for an estimated 18 percent of Washington County's work force, according to two leaders of the local major construction organizations.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce hosted its monthly "Eggs and Issues" breakfast event, with a panel discussion. Panel members included John Barr, chairman of the board of the Cumberland Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors and Debi Turpin, executive director of the Home Builders Association of Washington County.

Statistics, trends, issues and concerns were tackled by the panel discussion. A question and answer period also led to a lively discussion, as more than 75 business and community leaders were in attendance.

Several current issues were discussed, including challenges facing commercial and industrial construction in Washington County.

Barr said, "Many of the ABC members report a slowdown in this type of construction, and several companies have had to lay off workers." Barr attributed the slow down to the economy and also to some seasonal displacement.

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However, he said many companies are sending employees to construction jobs far outside the county. "We have contractors working on projects, in some cases, 90 minutes away and farther. The cycle of commercial and industrial construction in Washington County is at a lower point than in many years past," Barr said.

The Home Builders are seeing good activity, according to Turpin. "Home prices in Washington County are competitive with neighboring counties, and homes are far less costly than counties to our east. As everyone knows, we have had a good period of home-building for home owners. The build-out of many of the development projects will continue well into the future," she said.

Turpin also addressed the county's building moratorium on residential development outside of the Urban Growth Area, and future challenges that the organization will be facing.

Both organizations are made of members in not only construction fields, but related industries, and those companies account for thousands of Washington County workers.

Construction careers are still very important in Washington County, and according to Barr, "We're working closely with the public school system, and with our apprenticeship program, to be able to have a trained construction work force. This is a big challenge for our field, having an available skilled work force." Turpin mentioned that most homes being built in the county were NOT "spec" homes, but houses built for the actual owners, "We actually have found that there are very few spec homes, and one reason why the build-out for a development project takes so many years. However, the growth that we've experienced has been positive."

Both organizations believe in planned and managed growth for Washington County, according to the panel. "Jobs, investment in the community, and an increase in the quality of life are the paramount concerns for our organizations," said Barr. "We are active in our community, and want to see the best for our future, and for our children's future."

"Eggs and Issues" is a program organized by the Business and Community Development Committee of the Chamber of Commerce, and the morning's breakfast event was sponsored by Associated Engineering Sciences, Inc. of Hagerstown. The event was held at The Plaza Hotel.




About Home Builders group, ABC Inc.


The Home Builders Association of Washington County is a local association dedicated to local issues on behalf of local businesses, and has been an active part of Washington County for more than 30 years.

It is a nonprofit association, whose member companies, represent land developers, new home builders, remodeling contractors and those companies that support the building industry, care about Washington County and the communities where they live, work and raise their families.

The Home Builders Association of Washington County is dedicated to being proactive in pursuing legislative and regulatory issues relative to the building industry and within the best interests of the consumer in Washington County to help keep home ownership within the reach of every citizen of Washington County who chooses to own a home. For more information about the Home Builders Association see: www.hbawashco.org.

The Cumberland Valley Chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc., is a trade association representing general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers, and associates with the main objective of defending and promoting the Open Shop Construction Industry.

The Cumberland Valley Chapter is one of 80 chapters and serves over 200 member companies in the Tri-State area. The Cumberland Valley Chapter is dedicated to assisting its members to grow and prosper. Architects, developers, owners, and contractors frequently contact ABC to find qualified member contractors, suppliers, and associates. The Cumberland Valley Chapter is proud to refer member firms each year. For more information, see: www.abccvc.com.

The Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce's Business & Community Development supports local economic development initiatives and related efforts to improve the economic climate and inform Chamber members about economic development issues. The committee produces the "Eggs & Issues" breakfast series, liaisons with the Hagerstown Area Joint Marketing Task Force, produces the Washington County Business Awards and Focus on Philanthropy projects, oversees the work of the Immigration Task Force, and advises the Chamber Board and members about economic development issues. For more information, see: www.hagerstown.org.

Associated Engineering Sciences, Inc. is a civil and structural engineering firm with complete surveying services. Located in Hagerstown, AESI serves clients in MD, PA, WV, and VA. For more information, see: www.aesi-mdusa.com.

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