A Year in Review

Kristi Pronovost The Merit Shop Spokesman Blog

By: Douglas M. Dvorchak, Murray, 2019 Chair of the Board – ABC Keystone

I say this every year, but I can’t believe it is December already. This year went by especially quickly. It seems like only a couple of days ago that I was preparing for the Inaugural and prepping the Keystone Chapter for 2019, which proved to be an eventful year. Throughout the year we celebrated the Chapter’s 60th Anniversary. We also saw the construction industry benefit from the economic boom seen throughout the region. Merit shop contractors, which consist of 87.1 % of the construction industry in Pennsylvania, continue to provide quality workmanship in a safe manner throughout the nation.

Saying that, the need for skilled construction workers has never been greater. I am proud to report that ABC Keystone currently has the highest amount of apprentices in the history of our programs. In addition, the Chapter has been able to set up several pre-apprenticeship agreements with schools throughout our geographic footprint. This ensures that the pipeline for workers will continue to grow our current programs and expand into new ones. We continue to get educators as well as students touring our training center to enlighten them on the benefits of a construction career.

We certainly faced challenges in 2019. After 38 years, Cindy Field announced her retirement effective September 30. Cindy was a true Champion for ABC and the merit shop philosophy. Her institutional knowledge and friendly demeanor will certainly be missed! We also needed to replace our Government Affairs Director following his resignation. After a lengthy search, we made a hire in late July, and I would like to welcome David Greineder aboard. Finally, we did not hit our 90% retention goal but showed improvement over the prior year. We also did not meet our ambitious new member goals but have a strong pipeline of potential members moving forward.

On the political front, we continue to fight for Apprenticeship Ratio reform. The current State Apprenticeship Council has not approved anything lower than a 4 to 1 ratio of Journeypersons to apprentices for merit shop contractors. ABC Keystone continues to work diligently to educate lawmakers on this unfair practice. There are currently two bills out for comment addressing this issue with hearings to be held in December. ABC Keystone, as well ABC PA, will continue to monitor these bills and other legislation that directly affect our member firms.

Already, 2020 is shaping up to be a crucial year as next year we will see a Presidential race as well as some hotly contested national and local Congressional races. Through the leadership of incoming 2020 Chair, Roger Brubaker, our incredible ABC Keystone staff, and our countless volunteers, I look forward to a strong and prosperous year.

I want to take a moment to thank all of you that volunteered in some form or fashion this past year. It amazes me the amount of energy and passion our members give to this organization. For those interested, now is the time to get signed up for a 2020 Committee!

It has truly been an honor to serve as your 2019 Chairman. I look forward to the continued success of ABC Keystone.


On behalf of all members, the Keystone Chapter wishes to thank Douglas M. Dvorchak for serving as Chair of the Board in 2019. Thank you for your dedication to the merit shop!

Posted December 3, 2019