AGC of California Awards President’s Scholarship

ENR California Article

2010 AGCC President Bob Christenson and several AGC Construction Education Foundation board members honored Buenrostro at a luncheon last month at Riverside Clubhouse in Sacramento. He was presented with a $5,000 check in recognition of his academic excellence, experience serving as an intern with several construction companies and his involvement within the community coaching youth soccer.

Pictured during scholarship luncheon in Sacramento are, from left, Mike Mencarini, Unger Construction Co.; AGC of California Immediate Past President Bob Christenson; AGC scholarship recipient Jose Buenrostro; and Cathy Skeen, Excel Bonds & Insurance Services and Immediate Past Chair of the AGC Associates Council.

The AGC of California President’s Scholarship Award recipient is selected each year by the association’s president, and it is awarded to a deserving student who has demonstrated academic excellence in an industry related program. Fundraising efforts are led by the AGC Associates Council, which in 2010 successfully raised $5,000 for the scholarship.

“When I received Jose’s scholarship information for review I was blown away by his achievements, but also amazed by how he has worked to overcome a number of challenges to get where he is today,” says Christenson.

Buenrostro’s story is one of perseverance. Born in Watsonville, he was brought up in a home where strong work ethic was stressed and education was equally important. Always academically advanced, Buenrostro won several scholarships in high school while concurrently taking college courses at Hartnell Community College.

During his first year in college, he and his wife (then girlfriend) welcomed a baby boy. Buenrostro made the decision to put college on hold for the first five years of his son’s life in order to work and support his family.

He worked in the retail business until his father started his own construction firm in 2003, where he joined him as a laborer for four years. With his wife’s encouragement, he returned to Hartnell where he graduated with his AA in Construction Management in 2008.

After some tough decision making, he relocated without his family in the fall of 2008 to enroll in CSUS’s Construction Management Engineering program. However, Buenrostro makes the trek back to Carmel Valley every weekend to be with his family and in the fall he coaches his son’s soccer team.

He served as a project engineer intern on the CSUS Recreation and Wellness Center Project. Additionally, he competed in the ASC Student Completion in 2009, 2010 and 2011. Buenrostro said he will use the 2010 AGC President’s Scholarship to better prepare himself as a construction management professional by completing LEED Accreditation courses and testing.

Installation for AGC of California 2010 Officers

Excerpt from ENR California Article

The 2010 officers of the AGC of California are formally being installed this month. The installation will take place on Jan. 29 during a special dinner at The Silverado in Napa, held in conjunction with the first division and state board meetings of the year.

Additional members of the Executive Committee include Tom Brickley, Brickley Environmental, Inc., San Bernardino, representing the Open Shop Council; Steve Blois, Valley Vista of Santa Barbara, representing the Legislative Committee; Chuck Fletcher, MCE Corp., Dublin, representing the National Affairs Committee; Bill Hurley, Miller, Morton, Caillat, & Nevis, LLP, San Jose, representing the Legal Advisory Committee; Cathy Skeen of Excel Bonds & Insurance Services, Sacramento, representing the Associates Council; and Mitch White of Mason Construction, Long Beach, representing the Union Contractors Councils.

Is Your Insurance Broker Truly A Trusted Advisor?

Just as the construction industry is an ever changing environment, so is the industry of insuring it. Long gone are the antiquated ideas associated with obsolete construction techniques and materials and so goes the business of insuring your innovations. As a business owner, you depend upon the best and the brightest to guide your company in the right direction. In addition to your estimators, consultants, accounting department, and project managers, having the right insurance professional on your talent set is a business necessity.

As a savvy consumer, you need not be reminded that the standard “off the rack” insurance product is not one size fits all and may not be best suited for your business needs. It is easy to forget, though, that the same can also be said for the individual who sells that insurance product. Insurance agents and brokers may seem to have the same essential qualifications, in that each has successfully completed his or her state’s licensing procedures; however, the blanket statements regarding the credentials of the insurance industry end there. Insurance is a service industry in which experience, ethics, and exposure are paramount and are necessary for creating your superior insurance portfolio.

So how can you identify whether or not the individual you choose to service your insurance portfolio is actually doing you a service? Here are some questions you can ask to help evaluate your broker’s service strengths and opportunities:

Does your broker recognize your voice when you call? If not, you are not talking with her enough! Understanding each individual’s propensity towards risk tolerance and/or aversion is an essential component of being an effective insurance professional. If your broker does not know you or anything about you or the corporate climate you’ve created, how can she possibly fashion an appropriate insurance portfolio to best suit your needs?

Does your broker know your business? It is overstating the obvious to say it is vitally important that your broker understand the intricacies of your highly specialized trade, but what does that mean? Have you ever taken your broker on a job-walk? Has she seen the materials and equipment used to create your work product? Has she seen your yard and shop? Although sometimes she may need your assistance, a good broker wants to understand what exactly a hydrographic surveyor, for example, does from the time he bids a job until its completion.

Does your broker read your contracts? More importantly, does she understand the contracts and can she get them revised if necessary? There is a bevy of unusual, unique and down right difficult insurance specifications circulating the construction industry at increasing frequency. A well versed broker should gladly proffer her professional advice and guidance. In addition to checking for any potential compliance issues, your insurance broker should be the biggest advocate on your behalf when negotiating the removal of burdensome, unnecessary, or inaccurate insurance language from contract specifications. An insurance broker is certainly no replacement for an attorney, but is undeniably an invaluable asset when communicating with a project owner who has outdated, unattainable, or economically unfeasible insurance obligations written into his contract.

Does your broker have experience representing contractors of your caliber? Seasoned insurance professionals know the market place and know the products available within in that ever changing marketplace. Additionally, they have formed long lasting relationships with insurance underwriters, surety companies, and risk managers. Both are evidenced in a broker’s work product as a sign of her capabilities. A good broker has a firm grasp not only on what coverages are available and by what means, but also on how to attain that which is necessary. A broker unfamiliar with firms of your type or size may not be able to accurately identify potential gaps in coverage or assist you in identifying potential exposures.

Is your broker an innovative thinker? The construction industry, as a whole, is unique. Likewise, the methods of insuring construction professionals can be equally unique. There are some insurance coverages that you are required to carry and, like it or not, you must make that purchase. Insurance, however, is not the exclusive method of transferring and mitigating a risk. A broker of distinction should be able to recommend quality means of reducing or eliminating a risk, either in conjunction with or in lieu of an insurance policy.

Does your broker speak your language? Insurance nerds, ourselves included, have been known to speak a unique language that can sometimes be complex and nonsensical. A good broker can effectively and accurately translate the lingo and help demystify what exactly an “11-85” or a “waiver of subrogation” is and why your equipment is scheduled on an “inland marine” policy. Your broker chose insurance as a profession and should understand and respect that you chose otherwise!

Most importantly, do you have confidence in your broker? Your insurance broker should be considered a trusted and loyal member of your team, one who uses her experience and knowledge to help guide the future success of your business.

Other factors you might consider include broker compensation, performance guarantees, the broker’s customer service team/support staff, the broker’s reputation, and her level of professionalism. Our list certainly does not encompass all means by which to evaluate your contractor-broker relationship. We hope this brief guide is a helpful introduction to the fundamental and reasonable expectations you can have of your broker. The right broker is one who you can rely upon to be a trusted professional who takes pride in the products and services she provides, someone whose name you speak without pejorative undertones. Your broker provides critical protection of your assets by way of insurance; do you trust your broker will perform?

By: Cathy Skeen and Brooke Skeen // Published by AGC of California

Cathy Skeen is a principal of Excel Bonds & Insurance Services, Inc. in Sacramento and has been a valued member of the insurance industry for over 30 years. She and her partner, Dave Garese, founded Excel Bonds & Insurance Services, Inc. in 1995, and the two have been members of many boards and committees within AGC of California. Brooke Skeen earned a bachelor’s degree in Risk Management and Insurance and has worked at Excel Bonds & Insurance Services, Inc. for over nine years. She is currently on the Young Brokers and Agents Committee of IBA West, a trade and political advocacy association of independent insurance brokers.