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Robin Savage Named 2015 ABC of Alabama Chairman


Robin Savage, ABC of Alabama’s 2015 chairman of the board, is approaching his new role with the association much like he approaches most everything else: with determination, commitment and a focus on doing what is best for others. “My hope is to bring some real value to ABC members,” Savage said. “At the end of the year, when my job as chairman is done, I want ABC of Alabama to be a better organization and more valuable to its members than it already is right now.”


Savage’s motivation to continue and even build upon ABC of Alabama’s success is rooted in the very same drive that has propelled him throughout his career and into the role of chief operating officer for Robin’s & Morton, a position he has held since 2002. “As one of my mentors used to say, when I get up in the morning I always think about what I can do to help the company that day,” Savage said. “I try to do what I need to do as a team member to help advance the good of the company and those around me.”


Savage first started in the industry in 1982 after graduating from Auburn University with a Bachelor of Science degree in building construction. Almost immediately upon graduation he joined Robins & Morton and quickly realized the company was the perfect fit for him. “Robins & Morton is a very family-oriented and collaborative company,” he said. “Even back when I came on board in 1982 the company had a vision that it was going to work as a team with owners and clients to produce projects in a very collaborative manner, and that idea has grown steadily in the company over the years. And as far as how the company treats people and clients, I can say that from my perspectives as a young field engineer all the way through to my current position, we try to treat people fairly. We try to do things right. I appreciate that attitude and culture.”


While Savage’s roles at Robins & Morton have changed over the years—he worked out in the field, in pre-construction and eventually in various management positions—his viewpoint about each job never waivered. “It takes hard work to succeed in this industry, and it’s important to have flexibility and approach assignments with a ‘career advancement’ attitude,” Savage explained. “You embrace every assignment you are given, work hard and learn from every opportunity. You have to show some flexibility to be able to grow and have an attitude of wanting to develop and learn more every day.”


With a desire to help and develop the industry, it was a natural progression for Savage to get involved with ABC of Alabama after a few years on the job at Robins & Morton. “Initially, I thought ABC would be a great networking opportunity, which it is, but over time I became really passionate about the merit shop message,” he said. “I firmly believe in the free enterprise system and that people should be rewarded based on their merit. That’s what gives you the initiative to keep the business world growing. And ABC is all about that.”


Savage has long approached his work with ABC of Alabama with the same determination that has led to his success at Robins & Morton. Over the years, he served on various committees and boards. This year, he has taken on the position as the association’s chairman of the board. “When we began the transition period with Robin a few months ago, he immediately requested budgets, strategic plans, missions and goals of the association,” said Jay Reed, ABC of Alabama president. “His role as COO of an $800 million company is certainly going to help keep ABC of Alabama focused and goal oriented.”


Tim Hightower, president of Southern Carpet, Hardwood & Tile and last year’s chairman of the board, agrees that the association is in good hands. “Robin brings decades of construction experience to the ABC chairmanship,” said Hightower. “I’ve worked with Robin over the last few years on ABC issues, and he has always offered an analytical, organized business approach. Combine that with his natural people skills, and I know Robin will serve ABC well.”


In addition to other items important to the association, Savage had specifically outlined five key issues he wants to pursue while chairman:


Alternative Delivery Approach

Legislative issues are never far from Savage’s mind, and this year he will continue the association’s desire to have the state legislature pass the Construction Management/General Contractor/Design Build (CMGCDB) bill. Savage believes the alternative delivery method for public works projects will benefit public owners and taxpayers alike. “If I didn’t believe in this I wouldn’t be pushing it so hard,” Savage said. “This delivery method is a great way to get people on board early in a project and really let the project get the full benefit of the expertise of the construction manager, general contractor, the designer and the owner. Having all parties working together maximizes what the owner and taxpayer gets out of the project. It is used in virtually every other state in the country, so we think it would be a good fit for Alabama as well. We just need to continue to tailor the bill to meet the needs of everyone in the industry.”



While ABC of Alabama is approximately 600-strong, Savage knows the importance of consistently recruiting new members. This year, Savage will work with the association’s staff and other leaders on a membership drive. “This is such a priority that we have next year’s incoming chairman, Randall Curtis, heading up a membership committee,” Savage explained. “Randall, ABC staff and I will work closely to focus on recruiting members and getting them involved with ABC because they believe in the merit shop message.”


Workforce Development

With a dwindling workforce facing the industry, Savage knows a continued focus on workforce development is crucial to the future success of the industry. At a recent board meeting, the association created a workforce development committee, which will be comprised of ABC members who are currently involved with some of the major workforce promoting agencies in the state. The association’s goal with the group is to develop a consistent message about workforce development that committee members can share with the various agencies. “We need a consistent message being shared with groups like the Alabama Workforce Training Center and the Construction Education Foundation of Alabama, so this committee will focus on that,” Savage said. “We will also focus on how to attract more workers to the industry.”


Merit Shop Council

Another key issue to the future success of industry in Alabama is maintaining a pro-business message. Savage will be working with other ABC leaders to create a merit shop council, which will promote the merit shop message. “We need to monitor the activities of organized labor so we know what’s going on and can take appropriate action w to ensure we preserve the free enterprise system in Alabama,” Savage said. “This council will be comprised of not only those in the construction industry but other industries as well, such as automotive and hospitality.”



Not forgetting one of the key reasons he originally joined ABC, Savage will also drive a networking initiative. He hopes to increase the number of networking opportunities ABC of Alabama offers members. “We need more networking opportunities where they can not only meet other ABC members but also help potentially facilitate business relationships,” he said. “We are still working on the details, but we will have a small committee that will work with ABC staff to pinpoint good opportunities throughout the year that can hopefully get more members involved and seeing the benefit of attending these functions.”


While there will be much work to be done, Savage is excited about the opportunity. “It should be an interesting year for the construction industry as we continue to see the economy improve,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with other ABC members throughout this year in a team effort to advance our organization and meet the specific needs of our industry.”

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