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GUCA Announces New Board Members, Award Recipients

Wed June 16, 2021 - Southeast Edition

David Westrick
David Westrick
David Westrick Charity Rutledge Andy Bairstow Billy Padgett

The Georgia Utility Contractors Association Inc. (GUCA) elected David Westrick, Ruby-Collins Inc., Smyrna, Ga., as the 2021-2022 GUCA president at the 2021 GUCA Annual Conference in Hilton Head, S.C.

Westrick has served on the GUCA board of directors as 1st Vice President 2020-2021; 2nd Vice President 2019-2018; and Board of Directors 2016-2018. He also has served on the GUCA Membership, Industry and Legislative committees.

Ruby-Collins Inc. specializes in water/wastewater treatment plants, pump stations, utilities, tunneling and trenchless technologies. The company was founded in 1950 as Ruby Construction Company and Ruby-Collins was founded when work became scarce in Kentucky and the company traveled south to Georgia. On its first few projects they partnered with RIP Collins, which birthed Ruby-Collins in 1970. Ruby-Collins has been a GUCA member for more than 30 years.

In December 2013, Westrick became CEO of the company. He has since led Ruby-Collins to become one of the most innovative utility contractors in the state and nation.

Westrick has more than 40 years of experience in the construction of municipal, industrial and environmental projects. Following in his father's footsteps, he has spent 30 years of his career with Ruby-Collins Inc.

Starting as a laborer he worked his way through the ranks to become the chief executive officer. His responsibilities include overall management of the company, project and client development and maintaining their banking, bonding and insurance relationships. Westrick has served or is serving on other construction related boards, is involved in his local community and supports many charities with his time, talents and finances.

Westrick will serve with newly elected GUCA Officers and Directors: 1st Vice President Brian Burleigh, Dennis Taylor & Company Inc.; 2nd Vice President Chad Zeis, Gunter Construction Co. Inc.; Secretary Bobby Touhy, Ruby-Collins Inc.; Treasurer Jason Lee, Integral Municipal Services Corporation; 2020-2022 Directors Kevin Courchaine, Legacy Water Group LLC; Mark Ezell, Blount Construction Co. Inc.; Charity Rutledge, John D. Stephens Inc.; Kenya Simmons, T&J Industries Development and Contracting Inc.; 2021-2023 Directors Pamela Davis, Davis Underground Solutions LLC; Todd Day, Diversified Utility Services LLC; James Farnsworth, Dirt Work Grading & Construction Inc.; Russell Swafford, Vertical Earth Inc.; Justin Thompson, RDJE Inc. and 2021-2022 Associate Directors Scott Chapman, Yancey Bros. Co.; Smith Peck, HUB International Gulf South.

Contractor Member of the Year

Charity Rutledge

(GUCA) presented Gwinnett County resident Charity Rutledge, John D. Stephens Inc., with the GUCA Contractor Member of the Year for 2020-2021.

"GUCA contractor members understand that utility construction industry is most successful as a team effort. Each contractor member company plays a different role within the industry and within each company there are different role players. This year's GUCA Contractor of the Year Award goes to one of these role players, she contributes extensively to her company, the industry and GUCA. Most of her achievements are executed behind the scenes but this year we are opening the curtain and honoring Charity Rutledge, John D. Stephens, with this year's award for all her achievements as a contractor member," said GUCA Executive Director Vikki Consiglio.

John D. Stephens Inc. was founded in 1962 by John D. Stephens and currently has a workforce of 70 employees. It is a full service heavy civil pipeline and environmental infrastructure construction company, providing construction services and project management for traditional hard bid contracts as well as design-build delivery methods. Its primary focus is water distribution, sanitary and storm water sewer systems.

"Take care of the small stuff and the big stuff will fall into place," are words to live by every day at JDS. The company's strengths are due to the reputation the Stephens Family has been committed to in the pipeline industry since 1962.

"Today our industry holds a new set of challenges with the uncertainty of the pandemic fallout," said Ruttledge. "Our current president, Steven Archer, will lead us as he was taught by holding steadfast to our core reputation and continuing to lead by the example Mitch Stephens instilled in him."

Currently, John D. Stephens is transitioning from a family business to a partnership business that still places an emphasis on the values of a family-owned business and the company motto "It's all about the people".

"We are building careers for the future," Ruttledge said. "The training and leadership we instill today will continue the legacy of John D and Mitch Stephens successfully built over the years."

The company has been a GUCA member for more than 30 years. Ruttledge has been active with GUCA since 2012 serving on the Scholarship, Membership and Nomination committees. She also currently serves on the board of directors (2020 – 2022).

"My involvement with GUCA has been nothing short of meaningful. The continued support of this association to better the industry as a whole is a feat in itself. The Men and Women that work for GUCA are committed to the overall wellbeing of its' members and our industry would suffer greatly without them," Ruttledge said.

Associate Member of the Year

Andy Bairstow

Cobb County resident Andy Bairstow, Bairstow Lifting Products was awarded the GUCA Associate Member of the Year for 2020-2021. His devotion to the association in the past year helped him achieve this prestigious member award.

"Successful GUCA associate members network and build relationships. These relationships are essential to the success and growth of the association and the utility construction industry. Over the last 15 years, one associate member has stood out with their continuous support and participation. The 2020-2021 GUCA Associate of the Year, Andy Bairstow, Bairstow Lifting Products, has exhibited the exceptional qualities for this award," said Consiglio.

Bairstow Lifting Products was founded by Bob Bairstow in 1960 and has been in the same building since 1963. It specializes in offering fall protection, fabrication, testing and repair of wire rope, chain and synthetic slings up to 600,000 pounds. The company noted its keys to success are keeping and training good employees and establishing and maintaining a good relationship with its vendors and customers. It currently has 20 employees and plan to continue to grow and establish another location soon.

It is a 3rd generation family business and hopes to get to the 4th generation in the next 10 years.

"Bairstow has a bright future ahead and we are fortunate to have good customers like GUCA members. We are an ISO9001-15 Quality Certified Company. Our involvement in AWRF [Associated Wire Rope Fabricators] will help us grow as well," Bairstow said.

Bairstow serves on the AWRF technical committee — testing and has been a speaker at the last eight Slingmax Conferences. He also led and participated in the 2001 OSHA Fall Protection Demo and the 2002 Georgia Tech OSHA 19.26 Product Demo. His company motto is "ISO9001-15 certified help to make sure our products meet and exceed our customers' needs. Deliver on time, Done right the first time."

The company has been a GUCA member since 2006. It remains active by attending and supporting GUCA events. It also serves on GUCA committees and the GUCA Board of Directors.

"We are excited for the future of GUCA and with its membership increasing. We have a great group of leaders and staff within GUCA."

"You will always find Andy at GUCA events and meetings. He exemplifies how to get value from being an associate member," Consiglio said.

GUCA President Michael Corbett said "It is with great pleasure that I acknowledge Andy Bairstow as associate director of the year. Andy has deep family values and a great appreciation for developing friendships which fuels the impeccable service he provides in his family centered business. As a member of the GUCA team, Andy realizes that there is no 'I' in team, not only does he answer the call, but he makes the call as well. When a need arises, so does his commitment and dependability to the task and he's not satisfied until the job is completed. He goes above and beyond the level of what's required before any ask."

"GUCA is a great organization, the value you receive is far greater than the cost. Make time to go to meetings and attend conferences," Bairstow said.

Lifetime Industry Achievement Award

Billy Padgett

Billy Padgett has been awarded the GUCA Lifetime Industry Achievement Award of the Year for 2020-2021.

"Billy Padgett was safety before safety was cool," said Consiglio. "Most members are familiar with his name and a few select companies are familiar with his work ethic and expertise.

"Billy Padgett has owned, been employed with, or consulted for numerous GUCA member companies for more than 50 years. Many GUCA members have been lucky enough to rely on his expertise to mold and chisel their safety programs and employees into successful outfits. If you are one of these companies, you have received the gold standard of excellence, the Billy Padgett stamp of approval."

In December 1974, Padgett was instrumental in the development of Laser Products Inc., a company providing precision engineering products, training and safety solutions to the construction trade throughout the southern states. At Laser Products, Padgett served as owner and manager for 26 years; he sold the company in 2000 and has been involved as a safety consultant for numerous GUCA members since and continues to be a leader in the industry. He currently works as a consultant for Padgett Risk Consultants.

Padgett was instrumental in developing the GUCA Hard Hat Safety Award, which awards GUCA members for their annual achievements in safety programs and application of their programs to all their workers and job sites. He also was the architect of the GUCA Scholarship Award Foundation Sporting Clay Event, which raises money to provide scholarship support to GUCA members' children.

Padgett has been a proud GUCA member since February 2, 1977. He still has this original membership certificate plague hanging on his wall. He has been a leader as a committee chairman or served on almost every GUCA committee. As a membership recruiter Billy has recruited hundreds of new GUCA members, many of which precede the GUCA Membership Contest. He also served as Membership Committee Chairman and shared strategies for recruiting new members.

Padgett has served as Education Committee Chairman and pushed the need for expansion of education to promote the utility construction industry. Setting the standard of excellence in safety, he was the first GUCA Safety Committee Chairman where he laid the foundation of safety excellence that GUCA prides itself on.

"My philosophy is safety first. If a member needs to call me any time day or night for safety advice, I am here. If an accident is avoided, that is what matters most."

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