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News
Ohio County BOE Names Bond Advisory Committee
Group will advise on $76 million school projects
Photo by Joselyn King Ohio County Schools Human Resources Director Susan Nolte, left, and Board of Education members Sarah Koegler and Molly Aderholt reflect during Thursday’s board meeting.
WHEELING — The Ohio County Board of Education has assembled its team of community members to lead them through decisions regarding $76 million in upcoming construction projects.
Members of the board’s bond committee include past school officials, those with knowledge of construction and architecture and those with knowledge of government, safety and finance.
The board approved the list of names during its meeting Thursday at Wheeling Park High School.
Board President Zach Abraham said not all on the list would be consulted for every decision, but would be called upon when their expertise is needed. Read More...
West Virginia Department of Transportation Considers Scope of I-70 Work in Ohio County
Legislators received several reports on major transportation issues facing the state during the start of legislative interim meetings, including updates on work along Interstate 70 in Ohio County.
The Joint Legislative Oversight Commission on Department of Transportation Accountability met Sunday evening with DOT Secretary Tom Smith and other department officials.
Smith updated the committee on highway projects funded by Roads to Prosperity bonds, Parkways Authority bonds and Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle Bonds. Smith said DOT has $500 million of road construction work in progress or finished, with plans to have another half-a-billion dollars of projects in progress or completed within the next six months. Read More...
Ten Revolutionary Technologies in Construction
Digital technologies have taken the construction industry by storm. The  building process  is under a substantial paradigm shift that in the long run will transform the way the industry designs, communicates and builds. 
Data has played a significant role in this ongoing transformation as it has introduced a brand new approach in the way the industry collaborates and collects information around the different project stages. Most importantly, data can function as a source of project wisdom which can help the sector unlock new investment opportunities and building techniques.  Read More...
5 Ways Project Information Management Increases Productivity and Reduces Risk
Did you know that people spend nearly 2-3 hours a day on email-related activities, consuming 20-30% of their business day? Or that 6 in 10 firms rely on network folders to manage projects, but face inconsistent file structures, accidental deletion, drag-and-drop displacement hindering productivity and negatively impacting utilization?
And one of the most staggering statistica we came across…75% of firms believe that sharing documents is the most important way to improve collaboration, but only 9% of firms have a single enterprise-wide collaboration system! With the average cost of a single misplaced file coming in at $100, think of the cost of misplaced files for even an average sized project. Do you know where your project information is?
Here are five reasons your firm should strongly consider a better strategy for Project Information Management: Read More...
How Three Contractors Expanded Thin Profit Margins
If there’s one issue that every contractor is familiar with, it’s the challenge of finishing the job on time and on budget.
Fifty-eight percent of contractors say they are having trouble finishing projects on deadline, according to the National Association of Home Builders.1
“It’s an issue with everyone I know,” said Richard, general manager of a mid-size building construction contractor. “We used to build a house in 90 days. Now our timeline is pushed out to 180.” Read More...
Michigan is filling the skilled trades workforce gap with apprenticeships

Apprenticeships that are paid for by the employer allow students to start a career debt-free

As the spotlight continues to shine on Michigan as a leading state for a top-notch business climate, it must forge forward with reinventing the way we go about developing a talent pipeline ready and able to fill the hundreds of thousands of high-demand, high-wage career openings for businesses to start, grow and thrive.
That’s the impetus of the Talent and Economic Development Department of Michigan and the Michigan Talent Investment Agency’s   Michigan Apprenticeship Experience Sooner  public education campaign.  Read More...
Legislative Update
WEST VIRGINIA -The West Virginia House of Delegates has a new Speaker. Delegate Roger Hanshaw (R-Clay County) was elected by his republican peers to replace former Speaker Tim Armstead. Hanshaw squared off against current House Finance Chairman, Eric Nelson, in a close vote (32-30) to fill Armstead’s unexpired term that will end in December, 2018. Hanshaw is a lawyer for the Bowles Rice firm. He also possesses a PhD in Chemistry and is a certified parliamentarian. Assuming Hanshaw is successful retaining his District seat in November, he should be the odds on favorite to retain the Speakers seat for the 2019-20 term. 

Armstead, you will remember, resigned last month after announcing his intentions to run for the Supreme Court. The former Speaker cited a possible conflict of interest for his resignation. Armstead’s decision was based upon the House of Delegates beginning its deliberations on the Supreme Court impeachment hearings and the sensitive role that the Speaker would play in those trials.

With this in mind, Governor Justice announced in early September that he was appointing Armstead and current US Congressman (R-3rd District) Evan Jenkins to fill the two Supreme Court openings that were caused by the summer resignations of Justice Menis Ketchum and Justice Robin Davis. Both Ketchum and Davis resigned before the House concluded its historic impeachment trial for all sitting Justices.  Jenkins has resigned from his Congressional seat. It will remain open until after theNovember election.

The WV Senate is now poised to begin it’s phase of the impeachment trials. The Senate’s role is different from that of the House. The Senate will sit as the jury to either affirm or reject the articles of impeachment that were successfully prosecuted in the House of Delegates. The Senate trials will begin next week and they are expected to run through October. 

In a recent impeachment twist, the House team responsible for prosecuting the impeachment charges made an overture to the Senate that, if agreeable to the upper House, would have censured Justices Walker and Workman and removed both from the impending Impeachment trials. Both Justices would have accepted culpability for the overspending incurred during their office remodels and both would have agreed to cede some financial oversight to the Supreme Court. The Senate rejected the plea deal and will proceed with the impeachment hearings. The Senate released a statement that said the body was compelled to carry out the trials since the House ruled that there was enough impeachable evidence to warrant impeachment. The House offer was based on two premises: 1) the belief that Walker and Workman committed less egregious acts of misspending; 2) the House Leadership felt that it was important to restore some faith and trust in the Court and a belief that dropping charges would help to restore any lost public faith and trust. 

In other political news, the WV budget picture continues to improve rapidly. Following the news that July revenues were up over $30 million, the Governor recently announced that August revenue collections were up an additional $32 million over estimates. This trend is an early indication that the national economic  recovery and job growth is finally filtering down to the State. These two months of robust revenues are on top of a nearly $30 million year end budget surplus for FY 2018. Let’s hope the good news continues.

It is worth noting that the Governor has not yet filled the executive management team at the Department of Commerce. Former Secretary Woody Thrasher and his deputy, Josh Jarrell, were forced out after revelations were made about the poor administration of $140 million of federal monies dedicated to flood recovery. The Department’s number 2 man, Kris Hopkins, left this summer to be closer to his family in North Carolina. The business community is calling on the Governor to fill these critical positions with competent individuals who can elevate and market the state to businesses looking to invest or expand in the mountain state.

With the November election approaching quickly, it is timely to look at those critical statewide races and the choices that voters will face in this year’s  general election. The most important of which is the race for US Senate. Incumbent Senator Joe Manchin is squaring off against current AG Patrick Morrisey in one of the most highly watched, expensive and anticipated US Senate races. The race is extremely interesting for political observers because it pits a very moderate, centrist and pro-business democratic incumbent against a very aggressive and articulate Republican Attorney General who has been front and center in promoting the Trump agenda with particular emphasis on coal, energy, health care and business deregulation. 

The big question looming over this race is whether a moderate Democrat can defeat a Trump loyalist in a state where the President defeated Hillary Clinton by an overwhelming 3-1 margin n the 2016 presidential race. The early credible polling results suggest that Senator Manchin maintains a lead anywhere from 8-11% over Morrisey. There are, however, about 15% undecideds who can alter that vote depending on how they break on Election Day. Morrisey is banking on continued support from the President and a belief that the Presidents agenda is aligned more closely with state voters. Moreover, Morrisey can point to a strong state economy led by a resurgent energy sector that he has worked hard to foster and protect. Manchin can rely on his long body of work and his independent voting record that belies any allegiance to party orthodoxy. Additionally, Manchin is hitting Morrisey hard on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Manchin supports the ACA, especially the protection of the pre-existing condition rights. Morrisey has worked publicly against the tenets of the ACA, especially its government mandates. 

Since 2018 is an off year for state office holders, the only other statewide races will be for the two Supreme Court seats that were created by the resignations of Justices Ketchum and Davis (see above). These two elections will fill the unexpired terms for both of these seats which are temporarily filled by the two appointments (Armstead and Jenkins) made recently by Governor Justice. Without a doubt, the overarching campaign issue will be restoring the public’s confidence in a Supreme Court that is rooted in fiscal restraint and renewed emphasis on core values that reflect the majority of state voters and citizens.

Former Justice Ketchum’s seat, which has been temporarily filled by Tim Armstead, will be called Division I on the fall ballot. This term will expire in 2020. There are ten statewide lawyers vying for the seat. No candidates are from the northern panhandle.

Former Justice Davis’ seat, which has been temporarily filled by Evan Jenkins, will be labeled Division II on the November ballot. This term is set to expire in 2024. There are nine attorneys seeking this seat. The list includes three local individuals: Wheeling attorneys Jim O’Brien and Marty “Redshoes”Sheehan; and, former Senate President Jeff Kessler, who hails from Glen Dale. Submitted by: Pat McCune OVCEC Political Consultant and Lobbyist
OHIO - All five statewide offices in Ohio including Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Auditor and Treasurer and all ninety-nine House seats and approximately half of the Senate’s thirty-three seats are on the ballot. Because of the focus on campaigns, there has not been any legislative activity in Columbus since July. That said, the Ohio Senate has a couple of session and committee work days scheduled for later this month. 

State Issue 1
Statewide a citizen-initiated constitutional amendment will appear on the ballot. If passed, it would place into the State Constitution language to require all fourth- and fifth-degree felony offenses for obtaining, possessing or using drugs or drug paraphernalia to be reclassified as no higher than first-degree misdemeanors. The issue also contains several other components, including language that would require possible savings from the reduction in the state's prison population to be invested in drug treatment and crime prevention programs.
 
Here is the ballot language
 
Here are some arguments AGAINST Issue 1
 
Below are some arguments FOR Issue 1
 
State Targets Funding to New Areas With $20 Million For Capital Projects
The State is looking to allocate $20 million in state capital funding to support the establishment, expansion and/or renovation of safe and healthy programming spaces for middle- and high-school age youth. The goal is to enable these youth to access social activities in the community. While the space would be available for the entire community, the programming emphasis will focus on at-risk youth.  
Those that would be allowed to receive the funding are federally recognized non-profit entities and should be prepared to adhere to state capital requirements, including public bidding of contracts, payment of prevailing wages during construction, and that funding will be provided on a reimbursement basis. In addition, all organizations must also operate in accordance with OhioMHAS Community Capital Guidelines, including the following parameters.
1) Organization is registered in the State of Ohio and the IRS as a 501(c) not for profit organization. 
2) Organization should own the site. 
3) Location must be zoned appropriately and comply with the applicable building code requirements. 
4) Organization seeks to establish or expand space that will be accessible to youth ages 10-17, and may extend up to age 21, and offer a variety of pro-social programming on a consistent basis. Minimum hours include schooldays between the hours of 3-8pm, non school days from 12-8pm, and on weekends 12-4pm. (Times for the facility itself may be extended depending on the organization’s business model, but programming specifically for youth must be available during the hours listed above.) 
5) Organization can demonstrate that, with the addition of resources requested through this program, it has access to sufficient funds so that construction design can be initiated within 90 days of application.
 6) Organization commits to provide, in concert with its stated community partners, all deliverables listed in “Programming” section. 
West Virginia Congressional Seats Up for Grabs
“While the next US Senator will earn a six year term, State voters select their US Congressional Representatives every two years.  For the first time in state history, there will be a woman running for each of the three WV Congressional seats. 

In the 1st District, four term Republican Congressman David McKiinley faces first time candidate Kendra Fersee. McKinley, who is a founding member of the OVCEC, is the former CEO and President of an architectural and engineering firm that bares his family name. McKinley is one of only two engineers who sit in the US Congress. Fersee is a professor at the WVU Law School and a former Director for People for the American Way, a progressive organization that opposes more conservative and pro business federal policies. As expected, Congressman McKinley maintains a solid lead over his challenger. Most political watchers are predicting that voters will return McKinley to Washington for a fifth term.

In the 2nd District, two term incumbent Congressman, Alex Mooney,  faces another firsttime challenger in Talley Sergent. Ms. Sergent, a Martinsburg resident, is an activist for the Democratic Party and was the WV Director for the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton in 2016. Mooney, who was first elected in 2014, was a former state Representative for Maryland from 1999 - 2011. Mooney also served as the Chairman of Maryland Republican Party. He moved to WV’s eastern panhandle and surprised everyone by winning the 2nd District seat as a virtual unknown. This campaign, given the political backgrounds of the candidates,  is centered on the policies and agenda of President Trump. Mooney continues to lead in the polls and is the odds on favorite to win re-election. 

The 3rd District Congressional seat is the most highly contested and offers an expected close finish. Incumbent State Senator and Logan native Richard Ojeda is the democratic nominee. He faces six term House of Delegates member Carol Miller, a Huntington native for the right to succeed former US Congressman Evan Jenkins. Jenkins, as reported earlier, was appointed to the WV Supreme Court. Ojeda was an early and avowed public supporter of the 5% teacher pay raise issue that compelled thousands of teachers to descend on the state Capitol earlier this year. Ojeda spent 24 years in the US Army before retiring and returning to Logan County. Miller is the current Assistant Majority Leader in the House of Delegates and is the owner of a bison farm in Wayne County. Miller is considered a traditional republican who takes issue with the President’s stridency and contentious manner. Renewed coal production, mine safety, the opioid crisis and coal field redevelopment are key issues in the 3rd District. This one is too close to call. “ Submitted by: Pat McCune OVCEC Consultant and Lobbyist
Safety and Education
Two Sides of the Surety Risk Coin
Managing surety risk in the construction industry is entirely dependent on the role of industry participants. There is one set of concerns for those that must acquire a surety bond in order to bid (and participate) on a particular project. And at the same time, there’s an entirely different set of concerns for those that need to rely on a surety to come through with the money when a claim is filed. The surety bond may be one “coin,” but this coin definitely has two sides.  Read More...
Promoting Intergenerational Mentorship in the Field
Intergenerational mentorship across all industries has been a time-honored tradition. As such, many professionals who start in the construction industry learn the trade from those who came before them. Building a culture focused on mentorship and learning at every level is one way construction companies can ensure sustained growth and the continued success of their employees.
Mentoring is important to help rising and current leaders navigate career challenges. Seasoned professionals generally feel empowered by the opportunity to share the lessons they have gleaned over the years while working in the industry, while junior level professionals seek to benefit from traditional techniques and years of in-the-field experience. Read More...
Ways to Improve Construction Site Safety
The term "time is money" is quite literal in the construction industry. The constant pressure project managers and crews face to meet deadlines and stay within budget often causes safety to fall to the wayside. In 2016, out of 4,693 worker fatalities in private industry, one in five were in construction. Implementing each of these strategies can help improve health and safety in construction on any jobsite: Read More...

OSHA Seeks Members to Serve on Committee for Improving Construction Workers' Safety and Health
OSHA is accepting nominations for individuals to serve on the  Advisory Committee on Construction Safety and Health . The group advises the Secretary of Labor on developing standards and policies affecting the construction industry. OSHA is seeking employee, employer, state safety and health agency, and public representatives with experience and expertise in construction-related safety and health issues to fill 14 vacancies. Nominations must be submitted to www.regulations.gov  or by mail or facsimile before November 16. For more information, read the  Federal Register notice .
Safety Tool Box Talk
Plan Room News
What Is the OVCEC Plan Room?
  • It is a conveniently located source of construction plans for the Ohio Valley area
  • It publishes a weekly Construction Report listing projects out for bid, due dates, apparent low bidders and contracts awarded
  • It provides updates on projects throughout the week by email
  • It provides online access to plans and specifications for your review and downloading
  • It provides bidders lists
  • It has staff that will get the plans you need whenever possible

Submit Plans & Specs
As an Owner or Architect of a project, placing your project plans in the OVCEC Plan Room will help to insure the success of your project.
The Plan Room will:
  • Help you publicize your project
  • Increase the quantity and quality of bids you receive for your project
  • Help you get addenda out to bidders
  • Reduce your cost of blueprint duplication by allowing electronic submission to Plan Room Online