ABC honors craft professionals during convention
Adrian Rios of McCullough Construction, ABC's Craft Professional of the Year

ABC honors craft professionals during convention

Honors include young professional, contractor, craft professional and craft instructor of the year.

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) honored several professionals in the industry during its annual ABC Convention 2019 in Long Beach, California, March 27.

Honors received included Young Professional of the Year, Contractor of the Year, Craft Professional of the Year and Craft Instructor of the Year.

Young professional of the year

ABC named Lance Arvel, who works in business development at the Baton Rouge, Louisiana-based Group Industries, its Young Professional of the Year. The Young Professional of the Year is chosen based on career achievement, leadership and vision for the future of the commercial and industrial construction industry.

“The Young Professional of the Year represents the promise of the next generation in the merit shop construction industry,” says 2019 ABC National Chair Tony Rader, telecom vice president of National Roofing Partners, Coppell, Texas. “Lance has already made significant contributions to our workforce during his nearly two decades in the construction sector and involvement with ABC. We look forward to continuing to follow his successful and innovative career.”

Arvel is a past member of the ABC Pelican Chapter Board of Directors and current chair of the chapter’s Young Professionals Committee. He also serves as a mentor for the ABC student chapter at Louisiana State University, which placed third overall in the ABC Construction Management Competition last year. Arvel cited the strong mentorship he’s received as a member of the merit shop community as a key component of his success, and he plans to continue personally contributing to the industry in years to come. 

ABC’s Young Professionals program, sponsored by Autodesk, a provider of construction management software, aims to shape the future of the industry by supporting the growth of professionals under the age of 40 who are employed by ABC member companies. As Young Professional of the Year, Arvel received a $10,000 cash prize.

Contractor of the year

MAREK of Houston was named Contractor of the Year, an award that recognizes companies for corporate integrity, commitment to safety, professional development and expert craftsmanship. Mike Holland, chief operating officer of MAREK, accepted the honor at the convention.

“ABC is proud to recognize MAREK’s 80-plus years of contributions to the construction industry with this esteemed award,” Rader says. “With a long history of integrity, an exceptional safety record, excellent customer service and dedication to the communities they serve, MAREK is a standout in our field. The company’s commitment to developing, upskilling and retaining their workforce also sets an exceptional example for the construction sector.”

A leader in the merit shop construction community for decades, MAREK was a founding member of the ABC Houston Chapter and the Dallas-Fort Worth TEXO Chapter, and its executives remain active on several ABC committees and boards, including the ABC political action committee and the Free Enterprise Alliance. MAREK is also is an ABC Accredited Quality Contractor with STEP Diamond safety performance status.

ABC says the company prides itself on a top-down, bottom-up approach to workforce development and safety initiatives. MAREK’s leadership is deeply invested in developing ABC apprenticeship and craft training programs and champions construction as a path to a high-paying, lifelong career. Holland and Stan Marek also have testified in Washington, D.C. to advocate for immigration reform, diversity and removal of cumbersome policy regulations affecting the construction sector.  

Started by three brothers as a small residential drywall company in the late 1930s, MAREK has grown to be one of the largest commercial specialty contractors in the South with more than 1,500 employees and seven regional offices. The company remains a family-owned business, now run by second-generation partners Stan Marek, chief executive officer, and Bruce and Paul Marek, executive vice presidents.

Craft professional of the year

Adrian Rios of McCullough Construction in Arcata, California, was named the Craft Professional of the Year. ABC presents the annual award to a construction craft professional who excels in his or her field while also demonstrating a commitment to safety, education and the merit shop philosophy.

“Adrian’s commitment to world-class safety, hard work and customer service is clear,” Rader says. “It’s a pleasure to honor Adrian’s dedication to his craft, and I look forward to the continued contributions he will make to the merit shop construction industry.”

Rios, selected from among three finalists, got his start right after high school as an automotive mechanic and now is a certified welder. Working for McCullough Construction for the last six years, Rios has honed his skills in a variety of roles, including equipment mechanic, welder and fabricator, and he is responsible for maintaining more than 300 pieces of heavy equipment. 

A champion of the construction industry, Rios also serves as a mentor in the Humboldt County Office of Education’s Trades Academy for high school juniors and seniors, where he advocates for careers in the trades.

As Craft Professional of the Year, Rios received a $10,000 cash prize from co-sponsors Tradesmen International, a craft professional staffing resource, and NCCER, the training, assessment, certification and career development standard for the construction industry.

Craft instructor of the year

Clemon Prevost, a senior talent development specialist for Fluor’s U.S. Gulf Coast Craft Training Center in Pasadena, Texas, was named the 2019 Craft Instructor of the Year.

ABC presents the annual Craft Instructor of the Year Award to an instructor who possesses outstanding creativity, a positive attitude and the ability to transfer knowledge through communications skills and innovative teaching to promote lifelong learning to the future construction workforce.

“Clemon’s decades of experience as a craft professional and now as a craft instructor have been a great boon to our industry,” Rader says. “By focusing on both the hard and soft skills required to succeed as a craft professional and leading by example, Clemon’s contributions to educating the next generation of construction workers are immeasurable. We are honored by his dedication to his students and the merit shop construction industry.”

With an associate’s degree in electronics technology from the College of the Mainland, Prevost spent nearly 35 years as a craft professional before transitioning into his current role as an instructor. Since he joined Fluor in 2015, he has prepared nearly 170 students for careers in the electrical trades with a 78 percent job placement rate as of November 2018. He cited the value of the merit system and emphasis on soft skills, such as being reliable and showing up to work on time, as key contributors to his success as a craftsperson, as well as the values he works hard to instill in his students as an instructor.

As Craft Instructor of the Year, Prevost received a $10,000 cash prize from co-sponsors Tradesmen International and NCCER.

Prevost was honored along with the winners of the National Craft Championships and Construction Management Competition and the Craft Professional of the Year. ABC’s convention also features the Excellence in Construction Awards, Contractor of the Year, National Safety Excellence Awards, National Diversity Excellence Awards, keynote speakers and education sessions for ABC members and staff from 69 chapters, technology exhibits, networking opportunities and a national board meeting.