Stephen D. Wright, president and chief executive officer of the family-owned Wright Brothers Construction Company in Charleston, Tenn., has been elected 2012-13 chairman of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA). The election was announced during the association’s national convention, held Sept. 11 to 14 in Memphis Tenn.
Wright Brothers Construction was founded in 1961, by two brothers, James and Robert Wright. Steve joined the company in 1978, and has held many positions from laborer, to equipment operator to his current role. Wright Brothers performs site preparation, grading, excavating, highway and heavy construction services, and is one of the biggest contractors in the southeastern United States.
Wright’s election marks another milestone in ARTBA’s 110-year history. He is the first graduate of the ARTBA Foundation’s “Young Executive Development Program” (YEDP) to become chairman. Created in 1996, the YEDP introduces the industry’s “rising stars” to the federal legislative and regulatory processes, and ARTBA’s role in shaping policy in the nation’s capital. More than 400 people have graduated since its inception.
Wright has been a leader in ARTBA for a decade, serving as: senior vice chairman, first vice chairman, southern region vice chairman, contractors division president, 2011 strategic planning committee co-chair, 2007 long-range planning committee co-chair, and environmental committee chairman. He is a past president (1998) of the Tennessee Road Builders Association, ARTBA’s state chapter affiliate.
A key component in Wright’s agenda relates to MAP-21 — the highway and transit investment law. Members of the ARTBA “Trans 2020: MAP-21 Policy Promotion, Implementation & Funding Enhancement Task Force” will be working with the U.S. Department of Transportation to make sure the provisions in the law are implemented as intended. The task force also is charged with developing a strategy for the next reauthorization legislation in 2014-15.
Wright also plans to expand the scope and focus of the annual Transportation Construction Law & Regulatory Forum to help industry executives and lawyers better understand the myriad of legal and regulatory challenges relating to the transportation planning process. The fourth annual event takes place October 24 to 25 in the nation’s capital.
Other items on Wright’s agenda: boosting membership development, particularly among contractors; continued implementation of the recommendations put forward by the 2011 strategic planning committee, which Wright co-chaired, with special focus on innovation; building financial support for the next phase of the ARTBA “Transportation Makes America Work,” grassroots lobbying and advocacy campaign; and building on the past success of the YEDP with new activities to engage the industry’s rising stars.