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February 4, 2019

Mayo’s priorities: workforce, risk allocation, open competition

Journal Construction Editor


Paul Mayo started his career as a planning consultant but said he got tired of writing about things that would never happen so he switched to building tangible projects like roads and bridges.

Now Mayo’s career path has led him to the presidency of the AGC of Washington for 2019. He is Northwest area manager at Flatiron West, a heavy-civil contractor.

“I’m very honored to have this opportunity to work with such an amazing group of people,” he said about his new role with the AGC.

Here are Mayo’s priorities as president: teaming with the AGC Education Foundation to address the construction industry’s worker shortage; developing a more diverse workforce; government affairs and promotion of fair and open competition; and helping AGC members continue to raise the bar on safety.

Mayo said this year the AGC wants to focus on risk allocation in its members’ projects, placing risk with the entity that can best manage it. “Don’t throw it over the fence to the general contractor to manage it, because you can’t,” he said.

The AGC has addressed risk allocation at best management practices meetings with WSDOT and other public agencies.

Mayo said the AGC also is filing a complaint with the NLRB about project labor agreements. “We see that as a legal intrusion into our business affairs,” he said.

Mayo was a key contributor to an AGC-led effort to pass a state transportation package during the 2016 legislative session. He also co-chaired WSDOT’s Design-Build Committee and is active in AGC’s Next-Generation Task Force.

He said the construction industry is very competitive and the AGC is a place where those competitors can meet to solve industry problems. “Without finding common ground, the industry may destroy itself,” he said.

Some of Mayo’s concerns about the industry are the shortage of qualified workers, an inability to improve productivity as quickly as other industries and the state of risk transfer to contractors, where “everybody keeps bidding more onerous contracts, which harms the industry.”

Mayo said local public-sector work looks steady, but private-sector work may be coming into a soft spot in two to three years. “The local market is one of the more robust markets in the country,” he said.

Mayo started his construction career in 1993 at Sverdup (now part of Jacobs) working on one of the first design-build projects in the U.S. — the San Joaquin transportation corridor in California’s Orange County. He was an environmental mitigation manager responsible for validating over $200 million worth of mitigation work on that $800 million project.

Mayo joined Flatiron in 1999, left in 2005 to work at Guy F. Atkinson Construction and rejoined Flatiron in 2010. He said Kent Reiman was a mentor to him while at Flatiron and Al Gonzales while at Atkinson.

Flatiron has tackled some large projects locally, such as the $210 million north portion of the West Approach Bridge of the state Route 520 floating bridge and the first express toll lanes on Interstate 405, a $155.5 million design-build project between Woodinville and Lynnwood.

Mayo said they also are pursuing some other large local projects: the $1.5 billion Federal Way Link light rail extension and a $700 million job to build express toll lanes between Renton and Bellevue on I-405.

Mayo spends his spare time raising a couple of kids and walking a couple of standard poodles. He also golfs and hikes.

What is something that most people don’t know about him? His college degree is in criminology.


Benjamin Minnick can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.

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