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Guest on The Infra Blog: Mike Elmendorf, President & CEO, Associated General Contractors of New York State (AGC NYS)

Posted by Steve Anderson on Thursday, December 11th, 2014

Mike Elmendorf, AGC NYSMike Elmendorf was named President and CEO of the Associated General Contractors of New York State (AGC NYS), New York’s leading construction industry association, in February 2011.

Previously, Elmendorf had served as New York State Director of the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), New York’s largest small business advocacy association, where he lead a resurgence of NFIB/NY, establishing it as one of the Empire State’s most powerful and effective business organizations. Prior to joining NFIB, Elmendorf spent 11 years in the administration of New York Governor George E. Pataki. Elmendorf has extensive experience in government, having served as Special Assistant to the Governor and Director of Intergovernmental Affairs. In that role, he was a member of the Governor’s senior staff and served as the Governor’s advisor on state-federal, regional, state-to-state and international relations. He was responsible for a broad range of policy initiatives, and worked with officials from across New York on the local, state and federal levels. Elmendorf was also the lead negotiator for New York State on the historic Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River Basin Water Resources Compact, which was approved by all eight Great Lakes states’ governors and legislatures, the United States Congress and the President of the United States, protecting the water resources of the Great Lakes region while balancing the need for economic development and growth.

Now Is the Time to Rebuild New York’s Infrastructure
…there has been a number of bank settlements and other circumstances that have resulted in literally billions of dollars of found money arriving at the state treasury, and the result of that is that you’ve got a unique, really probably once in a lifetime opportunity to use those billions of dollars to make long-term significant investments in improving our infrastructure.

The Built Environment Defines Communities
If you look back at the investments that were made, really the infrastructure that was built 50, 60 years ago, it has defined our communities across New York. It has made those communities possible. It has made their economies possible, and it was a result of that generation making a significant investment with a long view in infrastructure that made a great many things possible…

Society Relies on Infrastructure in Order to Function
…all the other issues that the public thinks are more important—education, jobs, the economy, healthcare—they all rely on infrastructure to be possible. And I’m not necessarily sure that the general public makes that linkage on a regular basis.

The Longer We Wait, the Worse It Gets
The government will fix infrastructure. The question is whether they’re going to fix it by staying ahead of it and staying on top of it and keeping it in a good state of repair, or whether they’re going to deal with it by lurching from crisis to crisis when something becomes broken and unusable.

Download full transcript (PDF): Mike Elmendorf on The Infra Blog

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