Cornerstone - Spring 2016 - (Page 11)

A PASSION FOR CONSTRUCTION ON JANUARY 28, 2016, CHARLES NELSON, Project Executive, Gilbane Construction Company, became the 48th individual to receive the AGC Houston Honorary Life Member Award at the Annual Chapter Meeting. "The AGC Houston Board of Directors recognizes unanimously his numerous contributions to the chapter and to the commercial construction industry," stated AGC Houston President/CEO Jerry Nevlud in the ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Galleria Hotel. "The Honorary Life Member award recognizes an individual who has served AGC and the chapter in numerous capacities-including a commitment to the AGC cardinal principles of Skill, Integrity and Responsibility. This past October, the chapter's Construction Leadership Council was proud to recognize him as an 'icon of the industry.'" Visibly moved, Nelson ascended the riser, followed by AGC Houston Chairman Bill Scott, III, Linbeck Group LLC, and Patrick J. Kiley, Kiley Advisors LLC, who helped to present the award. Nelson confided to the audience: "I am truly surprised by this honor and blessed to have been surrounded by mentors and industry leaders during my career." The significance of the award, he confessed, had been on his wish list. "Not so much for what I've done for the industry and AGC, but (because of) what the industry and AGC has meant to my life and my family's life, and my work associates for over five decades." Nelson credited divine guidance, a belief in the fundamental good of people and his involvement in AGC as having contributed toward a meaningful and successful career. One month earlier, Nelson was recognized as the second recipient of the Legacy Award from ENR Texas & Louisiana magazine. For many who have known and worked by Nelson's side over the years, it was a fitting achievement to mark a career in a business that he has been passionate about for 55 years. Catherine Bezman, AGC Houston, headed downtown in January to visit with Nelson and discuss his career, family and a life shaped by faith. What follows are parts of that conversation and excerpts from an interview conducted in 2007 for the chapter's Oral History Project. For the full interview, visit the AGC Houston website. Spring 2016 Mid '70s: Charlie Nelson on the jobsite of the Westinghouse Air Conditioning Manufacturing Plant in Norman, Oklahoma. Charlie Nelson poses with El Paso Energy's John Anderson, Senior Vice President (far right) and Terry Woolfe, Vice President, Real estate, at left. The El Paso project abated asbestos, renovated and restacked the 32-story, 1 million square-foot facility even as the tower was fully occupied and operational and achieved more than 1.5 million man-hours with no lost time accidents. Catherine Bezman: The view from your 11th floor office is magnificent. I am sure you never get tired of seeing it! Charles Nelson: Yes, my office window overlooks Discovery Green and the George R. Brown Convention Center. There are so many buildings that I have seen being built these last 20 years. The Convention District and the transformation of the convention center, additional hotels and green space are exciting changes, helping the city to attract large conventions and special events. CN: I answered a want ad for a job as field engineer in Jackson, Mississippi. I showed up and a man came out shouting, asking me what I wanted. I told him what I was capable of doing, and he told me to come to the jobsite trailer for an interview. That man was a superintendent for H. A. Lott, Inc., the firm that later built the Astrodome, the Riverwalk and the Tower of the Americas in San Antonio, and the Compaq Center [now Lakewood Church]. I was fortunate to be hired that day and became president of the company in 1986. CB: What are your plans in the near future? CN: I have been with Gilbane since 1995 and will be leaving my full time position as Project Executive to work as a company consultant. It will be somewhat strange for me. I have loved every minute that I have worked for Gilbane Building Company and the team in Houston. CB: What brought you to Texas? CN: In 1968, Mr. Lott asked me to oversee the construction of a new law building at Texas Tech University. It was my first major project to oversee and I and my family moved to Lubbock that year. During that period, a carpenter strike shut down construction jobs throughout the city. Mr. Lott asked me to sit in the negotiation meetings which mostly took place at the AGC chapter (West Texas AGC), and represent the company. From that point, I became involved in labor negotiations for our company on projects in Oklahoma and in the Dallas area. I eventually moved to Houston in the late '70s and became involved in AGC Houston. CB: What led you to pursue a career in the construction industry? CN: I grew up in Mississippi and attended Co-Lin Jr. College and Louisiana State University. My grandfather who was in the building industry and my dad taught me about the dignity of work and the importance of work ethics. I loved seeing things built and being part of that process. The joy and satisfaction of seeing something built that I was part of led me to this path. CB: That foundation helped to shape the bedrock of your career. How did you get your first job in construction in 1961? CB: What were some of the principles Mr. Lott instilled in you? CN: He taught me the value of doing the job right the first time and building relationships with architects, engineers and subcontractors. He preached and lived by relationships, teamwork, loyalty, discipline, and treating people with dignity. Those values are similar to the ethics at the foundation 11

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Cornerstone - Spring 2016

From the Chairman of the Board, Bill Scott, III
From the President/CEO, Jerry Nevlud
AGC Houston Bids Farewell to Honorary Life Member Ernie Meyerson
Annual AGC Safety Stand-Down Focuses on Fall Protection May 2-13, 2016
Member Profile: Charlie Nelson, Gilbane Building Company
APEX 12 Awards: Celebrating Houston’s Commercial Construction Industry
Safety News
Past Events
Member News
Index of Advertisers/

Cornerstone - Spring 2016