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January 2021 Chairman's Message

For those who do not know me, my name is Matt Johnson and I am thrilled to be the 2021 chair of the the NH and Vt chapter of ABC. I am a construction attorney and practice at Devine Millimet in Manchester and have since 1997. I live in Bedford with my wife Gretchen and five kids, all of whom have been home so I am particularly looking forward to ABC events in 2021.

It may sound strange, but even though we are still dealing with the covid-19 pandemic, I am very excited about all the opportunities I see coming down the pike for ABC and the construction industry in 2021.

My excitement is only possible because of the fantastic staff we have at ABC. Josh Reap, our Chapter president, has assembled a great staff.

  • Jennifer Landon – Director of Education and Workforce Developmen 
  • Shari Durazzano – Membership Director
  • Lisha Nelson – Operations and Events Specialist 

They all 4 went above and beyond in 2020 to reimagine how to deliver great service to ABC members in unprecedented times. And, on top of the great staff, Will Long, our 2020 chair provided steady, wise and consistent leadership throughout 2020. I am sure Will had no idea the challenges that would await him in 2020 when he accepted the 2020 chair last year, but he rose to the occasion. All through 2020 Will consistently helped keep the chapter on course. He could be counted on to ask the right questions whenever the board considered a tough issue. His guidance in 2020 has made my job significantly easier for 2021.

Will, on behalf of the board and myself personally, thank you for everything you did in 2020 for the Chapter.

As I said at the outset, I am excited about the opportunities for ABC in 2021 and here is why:

First, we are kicking off a new initiative in Vermont to retain a staff member located in VT. We are the NH and VT chapter of ABC and it is time to take our commitment to VT to a new level. With a full-time on the ground staffer, we will have an established presence that will help us to better serve the VT members we have and recruit new ones. It will also allow us focus more closely on what services VT members need and try to deliver those – from marketing events, to government access, to tailored training. I am very excited about this next steps in VT.

Second, somewhat unexpectedly, the NH political landscape changed this year. Governor Sununu, a strong advocate for our industry was reelected, but the house of representatives switched back to Republican control as well. As we have seen recently, such gains may be short-lived so we want to try to capitalize on this opportunity.

With Josh’s stewardship and ABC national’s help, we will be launching a lobbying initiative to see if we can pass in NH ABC national’s model Fair and Open Competition Act. This Act is designed to prevent the use of Project Labor Agreements on public projects. We see a real opportunity this year to bring this to the legislature and try to do our part to protect the NH Advantage. This legislation is not anti-union, it is pro-taxpayer. We will have more information out to you in the coming months about how you can help with this effort so stay tuned.

Finally, even though the pandemic is not quite over, ABC is moving forward. We do have events scheduled for 2021 where we can get together and socialize. We have our Live Free & Fish event set for February 18, 2021 and we are planning on going forward with golf events and other outdoor events as both NH and VT open up. Stay tuned on this front as we will continue to closely monitor both states and as soon as it is safe to start holding events, we will do so.

In closing, thank you for entrusting in me the chair of ABC for 2021. I will work hard to continue the great achievements of those who came before me and with your help we will have a great 2021 as an industry.

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