When Lew Markle of Ciminelli-Cowper in Buffalo retired as president of the GBC in 1998, he had one more important project to complete. He wanted to introduce the next era of future construction leaders in New York state to the mysteries of the construction industry through the GBC and to help them form a better understanding of the overall challenges to managing a successful construction company. Lew had been stimulated to pursue this idea after witnessing the AGC of America's Young Constructors program, which had essentially the same goal. With a little refinement, he felt it could be a useful tool for training the future leaders of New York's construction industry.
With Lew's help, GBC designed a one-year program encompassing four different sessions where a select group of future construction leaders would learn, share and network on a variety of construction industry issues. Their first three classes consisted of about 20 young students from throughout the state ranging in age from their early 30s to their early 40s. Each class begins in the fall and holds four sessions in various locations around the state, culminating with a session during the GBC's Annual Membership Meeting in the summer.
The program, formerly called Young Constructors of NYS, was renamed Future Construction Leaders of NYS beginning with the 2001–2002 session.
Topics for the sessions have included
- the programs and services of the GBC and the AGC of America
- contract documents and project delivery systems
- the programs of the major state building construction agencies, to include the State University Construction Fund, the Dormitory Authority and the Office of General Services
- the role of the State Education and Health Departments in approving school and health construction projects
- construction industry legislative and government relations
- construction procurement and specification issues
- education, training and labor relations issues
- business development and marketing
- workers' comp issues
- surety issues
- financial management and ownership issues
- human relations issues
- dispute avoidance and problem solving in the construction industry
Field trips are also a part of the program. The Future Construction Leaders program has received rave reviews not only from the students, but also from the principals of their firms who saw a new enthusiasm and spirit in many of them. The subject matter, and the interaction and networking opportunities with one's peers, proved invaluable.
According to Paul McCoy with BBL Construction Services, and a former participant in the program, called it "an incredible learning, networking and sharing opportunity for future leaders of our industry. By far the most informative program I have been associated with in my construction career."