Getting down to business
MBTA members and friends gather to learn, show support for infrastructure and scholarships and have fun at the organization’s annual Fall Convention
This was the second year in a row that MBTA members, family and friends gathered in Portland for the organization’s annual convention, September 27 through 29 at the Portland Marriott in South Portland. And just as at any MBTA event, and as could be expected, there was plenty of talk about transportation – from the challenges of building bridges in high traffic urban corridors to the upcoming transportation bond referendum (Question 3) slated for the November 5 statewide election.
The convention began on a hardworking note with a slide show presentation at the Portland Marriott followed by a site walk of the Martin’s Point Bridge that straddles the Presumpscot River and crosses the border between Portland and Falmouth. The session was led by CPM Constructors’ Peter Krakoff who told the story of the “widest two-lane bridge in Maine” – from the bid process and public input phase to the pouring of the concrete piles and deck. He offered a true insider’s view of what is currently Maine’s largest design-build transportation project. More than 40 MBTAers were rewarded for their participation with two PDHs (credits for professional development hours), as well as a chance to witness crews pouring concrete for one of the bridge’s 10 spans.
The convention shifted into high gear later that evening with the grand opening reception, sponsored by Chadwick-BaRoss in the Marriott’s Casco Bay Ball Room. That was also the kick-off for the annual MBTA Silent Auction to raise money for the MBTA Infrastructure Development Fund. This was the first year in many that the MBTA board decided to forego the companion live auction. Still, bidding was lively the first night of the convention – and the next – and, in the end, members raised more than $7,000. The fund was established in 1997 to support the organization’s efforts to raise public awareness of and support for transportation infrastructure investments throughout the state.
A lobster and barbecue chicken feast followed, as well as a presentation by MaineDOT Commissioner David Bernhardt on the upcoming transportation bond referendum, and what MaineDOT will be able to achieve with the $100 million in transportation funding, if voters approve the bond.
But first, Commissioner Bernhardt took time to stop and smell the roses – reflecting on what turned out to be a successful first session of the 126th Maine Legislature.
“I’ve got to tell you, that in the end, a lot of good things happened this past session,” said Bernhardt. He was talking about bonds – a $50 million GARVEE bond (grant anticipation revenue vehicle) approved by the legislature this spring, as well as the $100 million transportation bond that went to voters this fall. He explained how the department hopes to use the bond – to make vital investments in roads, bridges and several multimodal projects. He also discussed challenges on MaineDOT’s horizon, notably the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge in Kittery, a $170 million project that is deemed critical because of its strategic location in the corridor connecting Maine with New Hampshire and states to the south. The two states are now working to come up with additional funding for the bridge, after word came down that the project would not receive any funding in the recent round of federal TIGER grants (transportation investment generating economic recovery).
For his part, Bernhardt spoke confidently about Maine’s ability to supply its share of the matching funds for the bridge – thanks in large part to the $50 million GARVEE MaineDOT now has at its disposal.
The Fall Convention wasn’t all about business, either, and conventioneers found time for fun as well. A hardy group woke early to hit the links at the Sable Oaks Golf Club for the convention golf tournament.
The two-part cribbage tournament kicked off mid-afternoon with high-powered opening play between MBTA President Tom Gorrill and tournament director Conrad Welzel. Cribbage play continued into the evening aboard the Bay Mist. Tournament participants were cheered on by more 70 conventioneers who had boarded the vessel for the Casco Bay cruise on what turned out to be a picture-perfect autumn afternoon.
Later that night, MBTAers gathered at the Saturday banquet for a final chance to bid on silent auction items and enjoy a performance by Boston comedian Jimmy Dunn.
As with every convention, planning for the 2013 event started early and was critical to the event’s success, as were generous sponsorships of MBTA members. Special thanks to all of the Convention sponsors and the Convention Committee for their hard work. Everyone had a great time!
MBTA 2013 Fall Convention
- First Place Foursome: Mark Curtis, Gary LaPierre, Bill Harvey, Shawn Frank
- Top Mixed Foursome: Russ Bragg, Doug Moore, Lauren Corey, Brian Callahan
- Closest to the Pin: Gary LaPierre
- Longest Drive: Gary LaPierre
Nametag / Survey Raffle
- $100 L.L. Bean gift card: Krystal Morrison
- First Place: Kevin Brayley/Leah Grabarz
- Second Place: Tom Brayley/Tom Biegel
- Third Place: Jacob Adams/Kristine Biegel
2013 Convention Raffle Winners
- $300 L.L. Bean gift card: Jim Letteney
- $200 L.L. Bean gift card: Janice Cote
- $100 L.L. Bean gift card: C.A. Newcomb & Sons
2013 Convention Committee
- Chair – Jim Hanley, Pike Industries
- Tom Biegel, Shaw Brothers Construction
- Tim Folster, Sargent Corp.
- Tom Gorrill, Gorrill Palmer Consultling Engineers
- John Harbottle, The Rowley Agency
- Doug Hermann, Wyman & Simpson, Inc.
- Larry Hutchins, Bitumar USA, Inc.
- Tom Martin, NITRAM Excavation & General Contractors, Inc.
- Larry Roberts, The Louis Berger Group
- Stuart Welch, Chadwick-BaRoss, Inc.
- Conrad Welzel, Maine Turnpike Authority
- Holly Williams, ETTI
2013 Event Chairs
- Golf: Larry Hutchins, Bitumar USA, Inc.
- Cribbage: Conrad Welzel, Maine Turnpike Authority
Grand Opening Reception Sponsor
Events & Recreation Sponsors
Anderson Equipment Company
Pike Industries, Inc.
Central Maine Auction Center
Haley & Aldrich, Inc.
A. D. Electric, Inc.
All States Materials Group
GZA GeoEnvironmental, Inc.
A. H. Harris & Sons, Inc.
Shaw Brothers Construction, Inc.
H. O. Bouchard, Inc.
F. R. Carroll, Inc.
Ciment Quebec, Inc.
John T. Cyr & Sons, Inc.
Down East Emulsions, LLC
EJ USA, Inc.
Gorham Sand & Gravel, Inc.
Hews Company LLC
Jordan Equipment Co.
Maine Drilling & Blasting, Inc.
NITRAM Excavation & GC
Portland International Jetport
Pratt & Sons, Inc.
Everett J. Prescott, Inc.
Sebago Technics, Inc.
Skillings-Shaw & Associates
Wellman Paving, Inc.