Builders Association Reports $1.7B in Project Volume

POLAND, Ohio – Construction man-hours were down slightly in the region, but dollar volume for projects was up substantially, the Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania reported Wednesday evening.

Members of the association, which represents 145 contractors and affiliated construction industry services members in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties in Ohio and Mercer and Lawrence counties in Pennsylvania, heard reports on the organization’s various activities for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30 during the event, which was held at The Lake Club.

The 3,341,719 in man-hours reported for the year was down slightly from the 3,688,084 for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2022. The historical average for man-hours since 1971 is about 3.65 million.

Kevin Reilly, Builders Association executive vice president, attributed the drop in man-hours to a decrease at the Ultium Cells plant in Lordstown.

“There’s still work going on inside that plant, stuff that you don’t necessarily see or know about,” he said. “So it’s still contributing to our man-hours, just not to the extent that it was during construction.”

The nearly $1.72 billion in total building and nonconstruction spending for the recently ended fiscal year was more than five times the $321,176,000 reported for the previous year, he said. Another Lordstown project, the Trumbull Energy Center, accounted for $1.2 billion of that total, but even excluding that, dollar volume was up $115 million.

Gary Hartman, association services director for the Builders Association, speaks during Wednesday’s event.

Association officers also reported on the growing success of the annual skilled trades expo, which was held Sept. 20 and 21 at the new event center at the Mahoning County Fairgrounds in Canfield. Some 5,200 students from seven counties in Ohio and Pennsylvania attended this year’s expo, Gary Hartman, association services director for the Builders Association, reported.

“This was getting us away from going to schools and college career fair nights, sitting at a table and handing out pamphlets and trying to tell kids what a bricklayer does,” Hartman said. At the skilled trades expo, kids get firsthand, hands-on experience, he said.

“That really is impressive stuff, said Scott Froelich, vice president of TEMA Roofing and outgoing Builders Association president. “What an opportunity for workforce development right here in front of us.” He praised the association and its members for “being ahead of the curve” in addressing workforce development.

The success of the expo led to establishing a pre-apprenticeship program operating in seven schools in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties. Now in its third year, more than 500 students currently are enrolled.

“We’re currently working with Pennsylvania school districts in Mercer and Lawrence counties to also hopefully establish these programs in those areas as well,” he said.  

Scott Froelich, vice president of TEMA Roofing and outgoing Builders Association president, speaks at Wednesday’s event.

Reilly also reported on the results of this year’s negotiations with seven local trades, which resulted in agreements ranging from three to five years. Negotiations were “a little bit more difficult,” with compensation being the key issue, and some deals went “down to the wire,” he said.

“The big item where all these negotiations came down to was the wage fringe increase, and you’re dealing with the prolonged effects of high inflation,” he said. The average total package increase was 3.9%, compared with a 3.2% increase the previous year.

During the meeting, the association’s incoming officers were announced:

  • President: Jason Santini, Jim Santini Builder Inc.
  • 1st vice president: Dave Collins, Diamond Steel Construction Co.
  • 2nd vice president: Chris White, Boak and Sons Inc.
  • 3rd vice president: Megan Wine, TEMA Roofing Services LLC.
  • Treasurer: Mark Zeidenstein, ZEBO LLC.
  • Past president: Scott Froelich, TEMA Roofing.

After the meeting, Reilly said he was looking forward to more work out at the Lordstown power plant project, as well as the new inpatient rehabilitation hospital being developed by Mercy Health Youngstown and Lifepoint Rehabilitation and the continuing work on the Warren City Schools Student Recreation and Wellness Center. School project work also is picking up after a slowdown in that sector.

“Obviously, at some point, we really hope to see that Mercy Health project [in Champion] come back,” he said.

Pictured at top: Kevin Reilly, Builders Association executive vice president.

Copyright 2024 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.