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Home >>> History of the AGC Dallas

History of the AGC Dallas

The Dallas AGC is the local chapter of the Association of General Contractors (AGC), America's oldest and largest trade association. The history of AGC Dallas is as told by Raleigh Roussell, prior to his retirement in the fall of 2012.
Raleigh Roussell, President and CEO of QUOIN, the Dallas / Fort Worth chapter of AGC
Raleigh Roussell

The AGC was organized in 1919 to address problems discovered during World War I. "The original purpose of AGC was to have a mechanism to mobilize the industry in an emergency situation," said Raleigh Roussell, President and CEO of TEXO, the Dallas/Fort Worth chapter of AGC. "WWI was the first time America was truly called to mobilize on a global scale and some parts of this mobilization just didn't work well. One of the areas where this was a big problem was the construction industry. In 1919 President Woodrow Wilson went to the country's leading construction firms and asked them to create an organization to address this, and AGC was the result."

A full service national trade association with a nationwide network of exceptional chapters, today's AGC represents nearly 30,000 leading firms in the industry - including general contractors, specialty contractors and service providers and suppliers. AGC members play a powerful role in sustaining economic growth, in addition to producing structures that add to productivity and the nation's quality of life. AGC is truly the "voice and choice" of the construction industry.

AGC was established in 1918 after a request by President Woodrow Wilson. Wilson recognized the construction industry's national importance and desired a partner with which the government could discuss and plan for the advancement of the nation. AGC has been fulfilling that mission for the last 90 years.

Located in the Metropolitan Washington, DC area, The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) is the leading association for the construction industry. Operating in partnership with its nationwide network of 95 chartered Chapters, AGC provides a full range of services satisfying the needs and concerns of its members, thereby improving the quality of construction and protecting the public interest.The AGC of America supports our local chapter with a staff of approximately 60 personnel.

The Dallas Chapter, the first AGC Chapter in Texas, was formed in 1924; the Fort Worth Chapter was established one year later. "There was always a need for the local groups, doing mostly labor-oriented activities," said Roussell. "That's why there were separate chapters in Dallas, Fort Worth, San Antonio; Houston . . . each local chapter was initially just an individualized, community group. Historically, the local organization had a focus on labor issues. The national organization had a focus on dealing with federal agencies and political issues.

The 1970s Bring Change to Dallas and Fort Worth AGC Chapters

Since its inception in 1924, Dallas AGC members have been involved with Dallas / Fort Worth's landmark buildings like

  • The new Cowboys Stadium in Arlington
  • Reunion Tower in Dallas
  • Bank of America Plaza in Dallas
  • Burnett Plaza in Fort Worth
  • American Airlines Center in Dallas
  • The Ballpark in Arlington
  • Kimball Museum in Fort Worth
  • Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth
  • Dallas / Fort Worth International Airport in Irving

The DFW Airport was particularly noteworthy in that it was the first joint venture between the Fort Worth and Dallas AGC chapters. "In 1970 the Dallas/Fort Worth Airport was the first real cooperative project between Dallas and Fort Worth contractors," said Roussell. "We quickly realized that we were going to have a difficult time building an airport that was half in Dallas and half in Tarrant, because there were separate unions in each county. Therefore, we put together a group called the North Texas Contractors Association (NTCA). Its goal was to bring the unions into a single regional bargaining process rather than doing it for each separate county. This way we would have common expiration dates, wages, working rules and so forth. That worked very well."

The creation of the NTCA carved out a large part of the local AGC chapters' traditional role, allowing them to pursue new avenues of support for the local construction industry.

In 1971 when the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) were formed, Dallas was the first AGC chapter in the country to hire a safety expert. "That was sort of a bell cow of services for the industry," said Roussell, "in terms of helping members manage their safety, do site audits, and do OSHA representation when OSHA came out. OSHA and our safety program has become a big part of what we do, and that is become a predominate service provided by most AGC chapters across the country. It's a big part of a contractor's business."

As environmental matters became more sensitive, the local AGC chapters became involved with that as well, adding an environmentalist to their staff. "Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations used to be enforced federally," said Roussell. "Then they became enforced at a state level, and now they're locally enforced. All municipalities with over 10,000 residents are now required to administer EPA regulations on storm water run-off. It used to be one entity interpreting the regulations one way. Now, in the Metroplex we have 23 cities that are over 10,000 in population so we have 23 different regulators out there. In Arlington they may look at it one way, then you cross over to Grand Prairie and they look at it another way. We realized that we needed someone on our staff that not only knows environmental regulations but is out there building relationships with people who will be doing the inspections."

Local AGC Chapters Merge into QUOIN

Up until the 1980s, the various local chapters in North and East Texas operated independently; however, economic circumstances and the growing Metroplex market forced changes over the next several years.

In 1988, the East Texas AGC Chapter merged into the Dallas Chapter because of the soft economy. This merger expanded the area of responsibility for the Dallas Chapter from the Dallas/Tarrant County line to the Texas/Louisiana border.

Over the next eleven years, the Dallas and Fort Worth chapters met periodically to consider the value of combining into one group, with little success. By 2000, however, the groups' leaders recognized that viewing Dallas and Fort Worth as separate markets had become an obsolete perspective. "People began to truly realize that this is one market," said Roussell. "We saw that we could be a stronger political entity if we put the two chapters together."

In January 2001, QUOIN was formed to create a single AGC chapter that supports more than 40 counties in North and East Texas. With over 740 members, a professional staff of 12 and an annual budget of $3.5 million, QUOIN became the leading voice of the construction industry in this part of the country.

Local AGC and ABC Chapters Merge into TEXO

In 2007, the Chapter Chairman of QUOIN and the Chapter Chairman of North Texas ABC met informally to discuss the merit of the two organizations consolidating or merging. This concept had been put to vote by both organizations in 1995 but it was voted down. Over the course of the next twelve years, each organization competed for members. Each organization had common goals:

  • To increase safety in the work place and train contractors regarding EPA job site requirements
  • Workforce development / education / training of all contractor member personnel
  • Developing the next generation of Contractor Leaders
  • Influencing legislative issues
  • Social and networking events

Economic issues existed that suggested each organization should consider a change in going forward in the industry and in the geographic area, each organization served. Many contractor members were paying dues to both organization and spending money to send personnel to events for both organizations. Agreement was reached to explore the consolidation / merger.

It took nearly two years of committee meetings established by the Executive Committee for the AGC and ABC Chapters, combined Board of Director meetings. An outside consultant/facilitator was hired to help negotiations with both Board of Director groups to take the merger/consolidation to a total member vote. Town Hall Meetings were conducted with Members from both organizations. Two teleconferences with the Arizona Chapter of AGC and ABC were conducted.

The Arizona Chapters were the first Chapters in the US to merge the two State AGC and ABC organizations. The purpose was to determine what worked for them, what did not work and what they would do differently. This was done in an effort to be successful when we went to membership for a vote. Ultimately, the Board of Directors of each organization agreed to take the merger concept and plan to full member vote. Ballots from every Contractor voting member were sent to an outside accounting firm for tabulation and the vote passed. In 2009, the consolidated / merger organization operated with an Executive Committee comprised of the members of each Chapters Executive Committee. The same was true for the make-up of the Board of Directors. The combined Executive Committee and combined Board of Directors put in place the framework for future Executive Committee's and Board of Directors.

Where Did the Name TEXO Come From?

Inevitably, the questions came up: "Where did the name 'TEXO' come from? TEXO is a Latin term which means to weave, twine together, construct and build.

As to how the name TEXO was chosen, "We hired a professional PR firm to come up with a name. As the PR representative was getting ready to meet with the new combined chapter Executive Committees I told him, 'The National Chapters of AGC and ABC are not going to allow their name to be used together in our Chapter name. The combined chapter members are not going to go for any off-the-wall names. You better be thinking of terms like Council, Associated, Master Builder, Constructors or words like that.' He showed me a number of alternatives for a new name and other ideas for the name were suggested by the Executive Committees of AGC and ABC. In the final analysis, as a group we felt the TEXO name was symbolic for the two associations."

"When we did this consolidation / merger we had contractors in Dallas, Fort Worth and East Texas," said Roussell. "Normally, the chapters are described geographically. We thought it was unfair to call it the North Texas Chapter of AGC and ABC because then you think only of Dallas and Fort Worth. After coming together as one, our new Chapter for AGC and ABC extends to the Louisiana border to the east and to the west past Weatherford and Mineral Wells. To the north, we extend to the Oklahoma border. To the south, we go just north of Waco. We certainly did not want to say North and East Texas because that just doesn't roll off the tongue the right way."

Finally, the combined Board of the North Texas Chapters of AGC and ABC agreed TEXO was an appropriate name for two very well known Construction Associations who have competed for contractor members since the 1970's. The new organization felt TEXO was short and unique when they saw logos and understood the symbolism agreement was reached.

Both Associations were successful individually but all agreed one organization with one voice would accomplish more than two competing organizations in the future.

NEXT: The Modern Dallas AGC

AGC Member Bob Moore Construction recognizes that the AGC Dallas's name was changed to TEXO The Construction Association in 2009. This followed the merger of the North Texas Chapters of AGC and ABC. While initially the name TEXO was not widely recognized with other construction and commercial real estate businesses, it has since become well known and regarded. The merger of AGC and ABC in Dallas will continue to offer benefits to the industry and has already been instrumental in key legislative changes that have made a positive impact for General Contractors as well as Specialty Contractors all over the state of Texas.

The purpose of this website is to provide historical information about the Dallas AGC and to help make the new consolidated organization's information easier for you to find. For more information about TEXO The Construction Association Chapters of AGC / ABC, we encourage to you to visit their website at:

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