John Garrison

John Garrison (Garrison Steel) of Pell City (right) receives the Alabama Associated General Contractor's Gary Savage Workforce Development Award at their annual banquet last week. Gary Savage (left) presents the award to John Garrison. Photo submitted

On Thursday, January 10 the Alabama Associated General Contractors hosted their 21st annual BuildSouth Awards at The Club in Birmingham where they honored contractors from across the state.

Among such awards given was the Gary Savage Workforce Development Award. Workforce is the backbone of the construction industry and has been a focus of Alabama AGC for nearly 100 years.

In 2017 Alabama Chapter President Gary Savage took the association’s involvement to a different level. Savage called upon the members to participate in the recruiting-and-placement process. He created an active Workforce Committee. He worked with the Craft Training Board on skills-education programs and the first round of grants. He brought new workforce ideas to Alabama from around the country. These ongoing Alabama AGC efforts - first put in place by Gary - will change the face of the construction industry in the state.

To honor his effort, Alabama AGC created the Workforce Development Award to be given to contractors who demonstrated the same passion that Gary Savage does for developing the workforce and improving the construction industry and it’s future.

2019 Workforce Development Award recipient, John Garrison, has managed such jobs as the Riverchase Galleria, Georgia World Congress Center and Southtrust Tower; started his own company, Garrison Steel; and even though semi-retired is addressing a challenge facing the ironworking industry-training the next generation.

An impending skills gap prompted Garrison and 11 other industry professionals to work with the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) to develop a curriculum just for the ironworking trade. The first classes were held at the Jefferson State Community College Pell City campus supported by funding, materials, and the first instructor from Garrison Steel. The program now employs a full-time instructor and is growing into the Ironworkers Skills Institute.

In its fourth semester the program has participation from seven high schools spread across three counties.  Garrison also started a training program at Garrison Steel in Pell City, helped launch the Go Build Alabama program, and dedicated himself to the Alabama Craft Training Board. He has impacted the future of the ironworking industry and those companies who can step up to help fill the gaps.

Since January 1, 1920, Alabama Associated General Contractors:

(AGC) has brought together qualified construction contractors and industry-related companies dedicated to skill, integrity and responsibility. The Association provides broad influence and a full range of services satisfying the needs and concerns of its members, partners and the industry, thereby improving the quality of construction and protecting the public interest. Today, it is the oldest and largest association of non-residential contractors in the state.

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