Wright tapped as chair of national group
by DAVID DAVIS, Managing Editor
Sep 30, 2012 | 1241 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stephen Wright was recently elected chairman of a national federation that represents the transportation design and construction industry before Congress, the White House, federal agencies, news media and general public.

The president and chief executive officer of Wright Brothers Construction Co. of Charleston was elected chairman of the American Road & Transportation Builders Association during the organization’s national convention held Sept. 11-14 in Memphis.

Wright said Friday he has been involved with the association for several years as a means of paying back an industry that has been good to the Wright family.

A press release from the organization stated a key component in Wright’s agenda over the next 12 months relates to the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act signed into law on July 6 by President Barack Obama.

MAP-21 is designed to inject surface transportation programs with more than $105 billion in fiscal years 2013 and 2014, according to the Federal Highway Administration website.

During Wright’s term, members of the ARTBA “Trans 2020: MAP-21 Policy Promotion, Implementation & Funding Enhancement Task Force” will work with the U.S. Department of Transportation to make sure the provisions in the law are implemented as intended. The task force is also 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 legal and regulatory challenges relating to the transportation planning process during the next event, Oct. 24-25 in Washington, D.C.

Other items on Wright’s agenda include boosting membership development, particularly among contractors; and continued implementation of the recommendations put forward by the 2011 Strategic Planning Committee, which Wright co-chaired, with special focus on innovation.

In addition, the agenda includes 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 Young Executive Development Program.

Wright is the first graduate of the Young Executive Development Program elected chairman.

YEDP introduces rising stars in the industry to federal legislative and regulatory processes, and ARTBA’s role in shaping policy in the nation’s capital. More than 400 people have graduated since the development program’s inception in 1996.

“The development program is an intense civic course on how government works and the importance of being involved because this industry is competing with every other industry,” he said.

“I don’t think people really understand the importance of the interstate system and it really bothers me that we’re letting it deteriorate. The interstate system is a big deal. Eisenhower doesn’t get enough credit.”

Wright has been a leader in the national organization for a decade. He has served 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 of the Tennessee Road Builders Association.

Locally, he is a member of First Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Cleveland where he serves on the board of elders. He is president of the Cleveland/Bradley Chamber of Commerce and has been a member of the board of director since 2010.

Brothers James and Robert Wright founded Wright Brothers Construction in 1961.

Steve joined the company in 1978. Since then, he has held many positions, from laborer to equipment operator, before advancing to his current role in 1993.

Wright Brothers performs site preparation, grading, excavating, highway and heavy construction services, and is one of the biggest contractors in the southeastern United States.