ABC SEMI marks milestones making 2018 a year to remember
Someone once said in life, lots of people know what to do, but few people actually do what they know. Knowing is not enough! You must take action. At the Associated Builders and Contractors of Southeastern Michigan (ABC SEMI) taking action is all part of a plan that started a year before and through determination and team work has allowed this chapter not only to grow but prosper.
“Making the grade. Getting the job done. Going the extra mile,” said ABC SEMI President Keith Ledbetter. “Are terms that our staff here know and live by. We have not succeeded by accident—it was a careful plan of action, balanced with a healthy dose of customer service that has allow us to enjoy our second year in a row with growth across the board in revenue and membership. I am proud of our team and the goals we have achieved in 2018. But I truly believe we have a lot of untapped potential and are just scratching the surface.”
ABC SEMI undertook an ambitious membership plan with goals to both grow and retain membership for 2018. Certainly, Ledbetter admits he wants to see the chapter expand its members, but it must be tempered with adding the “right” members while reaching out to current members in a consistent and meaningful way.
“Meaningful growth was not just about adding 25 new members, it was about retaining the current members we have as well,” said Ledbetter. “I am proud we achieved 93% membership retention this year and that didn’t happen by accident. We charged our membership director to meet with all of our current existing members by the end of the year—and as of this article he is on track to do just that. We boast a strong 80% contractor ratio in our membership rolls and have balanced that with excellent associate member opportunities. The members who are joining are active and engaged in the merit shop philosophy giving our chapter a strong foundation for years to come.”
If ABC SEMI membership growth takes the cake, then the student growth that Southeast Michigan Construction Academy (SEMCA), ABC SEMI trade academy, is experiencing put the icing on it. Mickey Mortimer, ABC SEMI and SEMCA Vice President, admits they had a calculated approach to growth for their students and programs offered, but word of mouth and demand have a way of changing plans.
“We have had incredible growth with our academy—especially in our electrical program,” stated Mortimer. “Much of it is due to the increased demand in the trades and the requirement by the State of Michigan for certification. But what we have been pleased to see is the increased ‘word-of-mouth’ referrals that SEMCA is getting as well. It is gratifying when current and former students are recommending our program—shows me we are on the right track. That demand has forced us to expand our carpentry program and offer additional electrical programs this winter, but we are committed to making this opportunity a reality for our students.”
The right track indeed—along with its Madison Heights Academy, SEMCA has been expanding its reach opening satellite campuses in: Monroe, Adrian, Lapeer and Livonia. With current student enrollment exceeding 400, Mortimer is excited about the potential that the academy will have on meeting the increasing demand for trained professionals in the trades.
“I have to credit our excellent instructors with the continued success of our programs at SEMCA,” said Mortimer. “We have world-class master electricians teach our students, most of whom are still actively working in the trade. It is a very unique perspective for our students who can ask real-world questions about jobs that they are working on or best techniques used to accomplish the task at hand. The instructors are the real heart and soul of SEMCA and deserve much of the credit for our growth.”
Ledbetter points to a number of accomplishments that validated the success of ABC SEMI on a national level as well: ABC National Mullan award for membership growth, STEP Safety Program growth, Membership Retention and 3-Year Chapter Level Accreditation. In addition, ABC SEMI sent the local winning SEMCA student to compete in the National Craft Championship in Long Beach, CA.
In addition, ABC SEMI has expanded its communications to members with a seamless social media campaign, new website and constant contact with students to ensure that our ABC SEMI family is fully informed of all the changes and taking place in a real-time perspective. They launched an ambitious external media campaign which led to a number of earned media opportunities for ABC SEMI to get their merit shop philosophy message out to the masses.
Not to be out done, but the staff at ABC SEMI put together dozens of events for members to participate in such as: Excellence in Construction Awards, SEMCA Graduation Celebration, Christmas Party, Craft Championship, Trap Shoot, Pheasant Hunt, Go-Kart Championship, and many, many more. According to Ledbetter, the networking opportunities for ABC SEMI are crucial to creating relationships among our contractors.
“As important as outreach is, we as an organization have to provide excellent networking opportunities for our members—and our events definitely do that,” said Ledbetter. “One area I am particularly proud it the growth and development of our Emerging Professionals program at ABC SEMI. We have seen dozens of members join this organization and really take ownership of it and the incredible learning and networking potential it has. These are the future leaders, board members and owners at ABC SEMI—their professional development is paramount to the future growth and success of this organization.”
Lastly, ABC SEMI has been proud of how it has gotten both its fiscal and organizational house in order with across the board new human resource opportunities and streamlining processes to make the chapter run like a well-oiled machine. Ledbetter points to their ability to pass all their audits and even paying off the Madison Heights headquarters building early. Congratulations to ABC SEMI Board, committee members, staff and instructors in making 2018 was a banner year for ABC SEMI.