Work for builders declined

LIBERTY – Work for builders in a five county region that includes Trumbull and Mahoning counties was significantly down in 2013, according to the Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

Outgoing President Ed Stevens described 2013 as a transitional year after the significant growth in 2012 due to the construction work associated with V&M Star.

The Builders Association covers Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties in Ohio as well as Mercer and Lawrence counties in Pennsylvania.

Stevens spoke after the Association 44th annual business meeting at the Youngstown Country Club.

“That one project added greatly to the total manhours our member companies worked in 2012, which were $3,744,757,” Stevens said. “In 2013, we had about 10 percent less man hours worked, which were 3,389,401 manhours.”

Stevens said the total number of man hours in 2013 was lower than the 40-year average in the five-county region.

“I believe it was uncertainty with folks being willing the pull the trigger on projects,” Stevens said. “Government funding was turned back. A lot of the building trades – carpenters, bricklayers and cement masons – experienced a slow down in their work.

“There were some areas, such as road and bridge workers picked up some work, but the other areas saw definite slow downs,” Stevens continued.

The dollar value of projects in building construction experienced a significant reduction to $131,572,000 from $212,937,000 in 2012. However, dollar value of nonbuilding construction projects significantly increased to $4419,219,000 from $166,648,000 in 2012.

Total combined building and nonbuilding construction construction projects in 2013 had a value of $550,791,000, which was significantly higher than the $379,585,000 earned in 2012.

Kevin Reilly, executive vice president of the Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, explained the dollar value of the work projected to be done is recorded when companies seek permits. However, because the projects may not begin until a later date, the manhours sometime do not happen in the same year.

Stevens said the organization is cautiously optimistic about 2014.

“I believe we will see an increase because the economy is getting better, ever so slowly,” he said. “Jobs are up, and the stock market has been up. Some of fundamentals are up and I believe that will reflect directly on building.”

Stevens said the growth of the industry around Marcellus gas will create more money in the regional economy.

Brian Downie of Alex Downie and Sons Co. was selected to be the 2014 president of the Builders Association of Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania.

Downie is a 1996 graduate of Boardman High School and obtained a master’s degree from Ohio University in 2001. He worked in Columbus for four years. He is a fourth generation project manager and estimator.

“I’m looking forward to the next year,” Downie said.

Others selected to be on the association’s 2014 board are Howard Agueda, VEC Inc. of Girard, its first vice president; Jim Santini of Jim Santini Builders in Washingtonville, its second vice president; Jeff Mason of Youngstown Tile and Terrazzo Co. in Canfield, its third vice president; and Jim Baker of Baker Paintings and Coatings in Boardman will be its secretary-treasurer.

The association presented scholarships with a total value of $8,000 to six Youngstown State University students Christopher Palmer, Tyler Schurko, Aaron Cessna, Michael Constiner, Andre Silvers and Kevin Smith. The students are in the Civil and Construction Engineering Technology Program at YSU.