Volunteer of the Year

AGC Georgia started a tradition in 2014 of honoring members for generously giving their time and expertise to the association during the previous 12 months. The Volunteer of the Year Award is presented each June at AGC Georgia's Annual Convention during the Annual Business Meeting.

Individuals earning this award believe that by placing their "company hat" aside and working to do what's best for the entire industry pays a much larger dividend for the company they represent and them personally. While AGC Georgia is proud to recognize these members for their extraordinary efforts, we are grateful to have so many loyal members who eagerly chip in when given an opportunity. 

2023 Volunteer of the Year

Brian Newsome
President, Albion General Contractors

Excerpted from comments by Lyndy Jones, 2022-2023 President, during the award presentation ceremony at the 2023 Annual Convention . . .

With the pandemic changing up the course of the association officers' paths to serve as president, Brian was asked to extend his two-year term as Board treasurer to three. This was a big ask and he didn’t hesitate in agreeing to do so. But then we knew he thought he’d get a break when he began his one-year term as vice president since there aren’t any formal roles for this officer position. It didn't turned out that way, though! In the fall of 2022, he got involved with a new initiative to refine our association’s value proposition to our ever-changing marketplace. He was incredibly valuable to this ongoing project and has been intimately involved with our staff as decisions were made to do a national search for our consulting firm, and then negotiating the scope of work from his perspective as a user of our association’s services, but also as someone who has a very diverse business background. 

2022 Volunteers of the Year

Blake Riedling
Operations Manager, Brasfield & Gorrie

Excerpted from comments by Mike Dunham, AGC Georgia CEO, during the award presentation ceremony at the 2022 Annual Convention . . .
After the Brasfield & Gorrie team expressed interest in bringing a Skills Challenge to metro Atlanta, Blake Riedling became the leader of the effort. For a start up event, the Metro Atlanta Skills Challenge fundraising success was unprecedented. The group raised over $70,000. After event expenses were paid and a little seed money put aside to help grow the annual event, much of this $70,000 was distributed to schools that participated. These donation checks help with equipment, tools and material purchases that are impossible for high school construction teachers to fund within a school’s annual budget. Industry funds are vital to help an instructor elevate the curriculum and hands on experience they can provide to their students to help them gain skills needed for today’s construction marketplace. In just one year, the group has already outgrown their venue and have contracted for a larger facility near downtown Marietta. In addition to being the moving force behind the Metro Atlanta Skills Challenge, Blake is also an active participant in our Executive Alliance program.

Jada Taylor
Project Administrator, Ace Electric, Inc.

Excerpted from comments by Mike Dunham, AGC Georgia CEO, during the award presentation ceremony at the 2022 Annual Convention . . .
Jada expressed interest to help lead a new regional Skills Challenge event in southeast Georgia after having a great experience participating in the East Georgia annual event. She learned the process under that group’s leadership and was ready to partner with general contractor members to make it happen in 2020. COVID-19 struck and so many schools couldn’t travel. During the fall of 2021, it was finally time for southeast Georgia to take flight. Jada had great partners with West Construction Company and Choate Construction’s Savannah office team. In this regional event, 15 schools brought 85 competitors and over 200 student observers. This is phenomenal for an upstart. They also raised about $30,000. With quite low expenses, they were able to give about half of their fundraising dollars to participating schools.  

2021 Volunteer of the Year

Matt Lee
Vice President, Young Contracting/SE, Inc.

Excerpted from President Moody's presentation to Matt during 2021 Annual Convention. . . While this award is called Volunteer of the Year, Matt’s recognition is the culmination of several of years of hard work. It is rare to find someone as dedicated and talented as he is that has an innate passion for giving back. He was instrumental in the creation of the Executive Alliance. He helped develop the concept of the program and was one of the driving forces in bringing it to the Board of Directors for consideration.

Since then, he’s been involved throughout the program’s first three years. As a founding member of the Executive Committee of EA, Matt played a pivotal role in developing the programming and budgeting. During Matt’s years as Chair and Vice Chair, he spearheaded the development of the Strategic Plan, working with outside facilitators and the executive committee. He saw this go from an idea to a finalized document that can be used for many years to come.

The Strategic Plan is an all-encompassing business model for the program that includes everything from the mission and vision of the program to annual goals for the next five years. In 2020, Matt served as the Chair of the Executive Alliance. Despite the many obstacles, Matt’s initial vision and goals for the program were still front and center. Every leadership retreat and networking opportunity was still held in-person. Above all else, Matt is a true example of a servant leader. Matt gives selflessly to the program because of his philosophy on what the program can do for other individuals, their AGC member company, and for the construction industry. His dedication to the EA program and to AGC Georgia is an example we can all aspire to. 

2020 Volunteer of the Year

Gregg Joy
Partner, Smith, Currie & Hancock, LLP
As mentioned above, traditionally, this award is presented during our Annual Convention each summer. Due to the pandemic, we had to present our 2020 award virtually.

During our August 27 Metro Atlanta Members First Zoom meeting focusing on a summary of the recent legislative session, Mark Woodall recognized Gregg Joy as our 2020 AGC Georgia Volunteer of the Year. Gregg is a partner with Smith, Currie & Hancock and chaired the association's Lien Law Taskforce for the past 10 months. Gregg and the taskforce members spent hours spearheading efforts to craft language that became Senate Bill 315. It was introduced by Senator Lindsey Tippins (Marietta), and AGC Georgia member, to amend Georgia's Lien Law after he shared news of a negative court decision by the Georgia Court of Appeals. The consequences of the court's decision paved the way for a negative impact in the construction industry. While we were disappointed we couldn't present this plaque in person to Gregg, we were proud to have over 50 members on the Zoom call to help us congratulate him on this recognition. Mark also shared with Gregg and fellow members in the meeting that he has a signing ceremony pen from the Governor's office to give to Gregg to help mark this accomplishment. 

2019 Volunteer of the Year

Daniel Nunn
Safety Manager, Choate Construction Company

Excerpt from the introduction during the Award Ceremony: "Over the past year, Daniel has personally led efforts to create a dynamic shared interest group focusing on safety in southeast Georgia. After inquiring a couple of years ago about AGC Georgia’s Safety & Health Committee, Daniel said he wished there was a similar safety group that met in Savannah.

In the interim, Daniel became more engaged in several AGC Georgia workforce development initiatives and continued a conversation with the staff about his desire to create a local safety group. The team made him an offer – if he would champion the group AND be the chair, they would put the resources behind the effort. Without hesitation – Daniel jumped in - embracing the challenge.

After about 18 months of spreading the word and offering regular meetings, the Southeast Georgia Safety Group caught fire. Firms in the region are seeing the benefits of sharing best safety practices and wanting to get more involved in all aspects of the association. Adding to the value of the discussion, OSHA representatives from the area office are regular participants. This is a testament to the quality of the conversation Daniel is helping foster during the meetings. To help you understand a little more about just how passionate Daniel is for his role in keeping people safe, he recently penned an article for a local magazine titled, “Married to Construction – In Love with Safety.”  In it he says he fell in love with construction as a young child and after serving our country, decided to make his love for it official by earning a living in the industry. He said he was process-driven and more in tune with the project management side of the industry but fell in love with safety when Choate unveiled their ONELIFE culture.

He said it was personable, caring and focused on communication. It was different from any type of safety program he’d ever been involved with and it was then that safety caught his eye. He says his “safety role comes with a higher demand of his time and resources, but the return on investment for him is priceless.”

We are fortunate to have Daniel in our community. He finds enjoyment in being a resource to anyone needing guidance or ideas on how to improve. He wants to share what he’s learned and encourages open conversation among his peers.
Without Daniel’s leadership and passion for helping the entire industry work safely, there’s no doubt, the southeast Georgia safety group would not be where it is today and have the potential of so much growth in the near future. 
Daniel (r) is pictured receiving his award plaque with 2018-2019 President Kevin Kuntz.

2018 Volunteer of the Year

Jenny Horton
President, Collins and Arnold Construction Company, LLC

Jenny has a true passion for workforce development and has been engaged with our efforts since AGC Georgia began dedicating resources to shaping the future of our industry’s skilled pipeline. One of the most admirable aspects of her leadership style is that she empowers all of her employees from management to field leadership to get engaged. Her project managers and superintendents are encouraged to speak to high school construction classes. They have standing permission to host students for field trips on the company’s sites. She’s implemented a per diem to encourage superintendents to help during lab lessons at nearby high schools. One of her superintendents looks forward to his weekly hour of volunteering at a North Fulton elementary school in their Toolbox club where he helps 4th and 5th graders learn to use tools and build their quarterly wood-working projects. Two Collins and Arnold project managers serve as Evaluation Team Leaders for CEFGA as that organization works with high school construction programs seeking NCCER accreditation. 

While she offers a very supportive environment for her team to volunteer, as President of her firm, Jenny makes time in her busy schedule to be just as dedicated to giving back to the industry. She is very active with the Gwinnett Tech construction program and is an industry advisor at Berkmar and Maxwell High Schools in Gwinnett County. Jenny personally volunteers with Roswell High School’s program and is active with their feeder programs at the elementary and middle school level. Each year, Jenny sponsors and attends the Northeast Georgia Skills Challenge in Gainesville and helps the schools she’s adopted maximize their participation at the hands-on event. Lastly, she contributes to our Foundation to help construction teachers attend a three-day conference where they learn the latest industry trends and safety practices to take back to their students. This is just the tip of her long history of volunteering with AGC Georgia and giving back to the industry. She finds the time to be engaged, and I hope her successes will be a great model that many of you will implement. 
Jenny (l) is pictured receiving her award plaque with 2017-2018 President Scott Clark.

2017 Volunteers of the Year

Brent Darnell
Owner, Brent Darnell International

Brent is always the first to ask AGC Georgia how he can help advance our professional development curriculum. He challenges the status quo and doesn’t hesitate to push typical Type A construction professionals out of their comfort zone to be better people – benefiting their connections with clients, fellow employees and their personal lives. He’s our lead instructor for the AGC Georgia Academy that has now made an impact on 50 members’ lives. He regularly volunteers to facilitate regional professional development programs for the Young Leadership Program. He was eager to jump in the discussion when he learned of the Diversity & Inclusion Taskforce created by Randy Hall during his term as president in 2016-2017. And, he provided a free seminar at AGC Georgia on the use cases for businesses to embrace a more inclusive workplace in May 2017. Brent is also active on AGC of America’s Diversity Council and is a respected leader in the Emotional Intelligence and national diversity and inclusion discussion for construction. Along with his national speaking engagements, Brent is bringing with him the experience and lessons learned from working with nearly half of ENR’s top 50 contractors. Additionally, he is a published author and kindly shares his books with our Academy participants. AGC Georgia is lucky to have his expertise and volunteer spirit on our team.
Brent (r) is pictured receiving his award plaque with 2016-2017 President Randy Hall.
Joe Tuggle
Executive Vice President, Swofford Construction, Inc.
Joe Tuggle actively works in his community to make a difference. Joe started his workforce development volunteer efforts when he joined AGC Georgia’s Statewide Workforce Development Taskforce, which led to him leading the Metro Atlanta Workforce Development Alliance. When we needed someone to take the reins of a newly developed Southern Crescent regional alliance in the southern part of metro Atlanta, he was eager to take the lead. 

Results from this past year are amazing. He not only invites students to frequent Swofford Construction jobsites, but he leads many of the tours. He has organized classroom visits with industry panels; hired high school students who have come to love his boots on the ground approach to helping them learn the ropes; and he constantly engages more and more industry partners to get involved in the workforce conversation. Instructors know him as someone they can count on to support their high school and technical college construction program, and respect him for holding them accountable on raising the bar for their curriculum. Because of his consistent presence, many students approach him to say – “I know you” and feel very comfortable striking up a conversation with him about their latest construction class project. In November 2016, Joe joined forces with representatives of Middle Georgia’s Regional Workforce Alliance to spearhead a regional Skills Challenge at the Griffin Fairgrounds. He worked closely with teachers from schools in this region to help them prepare over 50 students for competition in masonry, electrical, carpentry, plumbing, and welding. These schools each brought students to observe so they’ll be ready to compete in future years. For this event, Joe and his other alliance members asked local trade contractors to host a table and share with the students more about different trades and career paths, and raised the money through the AGC Foundation to cover all costs of the event.  

While his primary focus is taking care of the students and teachers in the Southern Crescent region, Joe is very engaged in several other schools across the state. Joe hand delivered $500 checks to several instructors whose students participated in the Skills Challenge. One trip was all the way to Crisp County. Wherever Swofford has a jobsite, Joe is always working to find students who want a job so they can learn more about construction careers. Joe knows he can’t conquer this initiative alone. He’s always reaching out to others members to show them an opportunity to make this work for their company, too. Along with his workforce service, Joe also volunteers time as a member of our Board of Directors, too. Joe’s level of engagement in many AGC Georgia initiatives proves you are never too busy to do the things that matter, and he has a passion that is infectious. 
Joe (r) is pictured receiving his award plaque with 2016-2017 President Randy Hall.

2016 Volunteer of the Year

Mike Kenig
Vice Chairmain, Holder Construction Company

Mike Kenig is one of the biggest champions for Georgia’s construction industry and AGC Georgia. He proudly carries the AGC Georgia flag and thinks about the future of the construction industry as our chapter’s Workforce Development Task Force chairman. Over the last two years, Mike has attended and presented at meeting after meeting with the state and several area chamber of commerces, the Department of Education, the Technical College System of Georgia, as well as events on the national level to discuss our industry’s need for a sustainable workforce. He continues to dedicate hours to bringing the entire construction industry together to focus on delivering a unified workforce investment message. 
Mike (l) is pictured receiving his award plaque with AGC Georgia CEO, Mike Dunham.

2015 Volunteers of the Year
Scott Clark
Principal, President/COO, R. W. Allen, LLC
Scott Clark, 2015 AGC Georgia Volunteer of the Year
Everyone in construction understands the severity of our industry’s workforce shortage and how it’s affecting construction now and the even greater impact it stands to have in the future. Scott Clark actively works in his community to make a difference. Scott recently took the reins of AGC Georgia’s East Georgia Workforce Alliance and the results have been amazing. 

School systems with construction programs from a 10-county region around Augusta know Scott. He not only invites students to frequent R. W. Allen jobsites, but he leads many of the tours. Instructors know him as someone they can count on to support their program, and respect him for holding them accountable on raising the bar for their curriculum. Scott hand delivered $500 checks (to buy practice materials) to each instructor who helped prepare students to compete in the SkillsUSA state competitions this March 2015 in Atlanta. 

After visiting them in their construction labs, Scott asked each teacher for a wish list of tools and materials, R. W. Allen, LLC fulfilled them. Later he challenged these teachers to take ownership of a mock SkillsUSA competition at the Augusta Fairgrounds in November 2014. R. W. Allen was a major sponsor of the event, but at Scott’s request, teachers from nine schools were very engaged in organizing it. Over 60 students competed in masonry, electrical, carpentry, plumbing, and three levels of welding. These schools each brought additional students to observe so they’ll be ready to compete next year. At this event, Scott also asked local trade contractors to host tables and share more about their trade and its career paths. While his primary focus is taking care of the students and teachers in the east Georgia region, Scott also volunteers time to be an active member in our chapter’s Statewide Workforce Development Taskforce. 
Scott (r) is pictured receiving his award plaque with 2014-2015 AGC Georgia President Randall Redding.
Doug Tabeling
Partner, Smith, Currie & Hancock, LLP
Doug Tabeling, 2015 AGC Georgia Volunteer of the Year
Often times, fellow members of Doug’s participating in the Young Leadership Program (YLP) suggest that they can’t figure out how he does his day job since the amount of volunteer hours he gives to AGC of America and AGC Georgia are over and above the normal amount for five people! 

Doug is a member of the steering committee for AGC of America’s Construction Leadership Council, the equivalent to AGC Georgia’s YLP. He’s currently vice-chair of this national group and will ascend to the chairman’s role in 2016. As a member of the Construction Leadership Council, Doug is a great cheerleader for AGC Georgia. While sharing best practices honed by our program with others from around the country, he also shares ideas from the national platform with his fellow YLP Council members to help strengthen our group’s services and benefits. 

As a member of our local YLP governing group, Doug was engaged in the recent development of a new strategic plan. He is also chair of the speaker taskforce. Each professional development program hosted by the YLP is developed through his group. When YLP takes on charitable projects, Doug serves as our in-house counsel to be sure liabilities are limited to both the YLP and AGC Georgia. Doug also volunteers his time to help better the industry as an active member on the AGC Georgia Board of Directors and Legislative Committee. Nationally, he’s on the steering committee for the project delivery forum, and editor of the State Construction Law matrix. 
Doug (r) is pictured receiving his award plaque with 2014-2015 AGC Georgia President Randall Redding.
Phil Beck
Partner, Smith, Currie & Hancock LLP
Phil Beck, 2015 AGC Georgia Volunteer of the Year
Phil Beck is very active in AGC at both the state and national levels. In March 2015, he was recognized by AGC of America as Chairman of the Year for his work leading the Contract Documents Forum. He also earned his Life Governorship which is the highest honor for those serving on the AGC of America board of directors. At AGC Georgia, Phil is an engaged member of Legislative Committee. Beginning in late 2014, Phil began an 8 month term as chairman of the group’s taskforce to craft a legislative remedy to a negative court decision in the Pitts Estate v City of Atlanta. He was asked to take on this leadership role after the very sudden and untimely death of David Hendrick, founding partner of Hendrick, Philips, Salzman & Flatt. Mr. Hendrick had just begun working with taskforce members and chapter staff on important negotiations to draft legislation with representatives of the trial attorneys. Phil did not hesitate to jump in and help in any way he could as the group’s new chairman. His skills were a tremendous asset for Mark Woodall during the negotiations. 

Phil volunteered hundreds of hours, attended numerous meetings on behalf of the taskforce members, and provided counsel to Mark through the entire legislative process. His involvement culminated in Governor Deal signing HB 412 into law in May 2015. Thanks to his involvement during the 2014-2015 term, HB 412 corrects the bad court decision in the Pitts case and restates the exclusive remedy employer defense. 
Phil (r) is pictured receiving his award plaque with 2014-2015 AGC Georgia President Randall Redding.
2014 Volunteer of the Year
Rob McKinney, LEED AP BD+C

Rob McKinney, 2014 AGC Georgia Volunteer of the YearDuring 2013-2014, as risk manager with J. M. Wilkerson Construction Company, Rob not only accepted the challenge of jump starting our association’s Technology Committee, he volunteered his time to share what he’s learned in his path to increasing Wilkerson’s mobile device technology with his peers. He believes in pushing the envelope, sharing best practices with peers, even those considered competitors, and he is always thinking of new ways he can help AGC Georgia offer more technology training and link staff with industry experts he meets along his learning path. In January 2014, Rob volunteered his time to teach six sessions by remote video conferencing the Technology Committee’s popular “There’s an App for That."

With endorsement from AGC Georgia, he then volunteered to present a similar topic at the March 2014 AGC of America Convention in Las Vegas. The session was standing room only with more than 100 attendees. And even better, AGC Georgia’s logo was throughout the presentation further solidifying our position as a national leader with incredible members. Rob continues to offer his expertise as chair of the Technology Committee and has become a regular presenter at chapter-level technology forums. AGC of America continues to invite Rob to participate on panels for their IT Forum and Technology Showcases. 

Rob (r) is pictured receiving his award plaque with 2013-2014 AGC Georgia President Dave Cyr.