Dan Haskell is president and chief operating officer of the First Coast Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors.
WHAT IS ASSOCIATED BUILDERS AND CONTRACTORS, INC.?
ABC is an organization of general contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and associates whose main objective is to defend and promote the open shop construction industry. “There are 85 chapters nationwide with over 20,000 members. There are five in Florida: Ft. Lauderdale, Tampa, Orlando, Jacksonville and Tallahassee. We have 150 members in Jacksonville.”
WHY WOULD SOMEONE WANT TO JOIN ABC?
“The main reason is that they support the cause of merit shops, but we’re not anti-union; we just believe in the right to work. We also have safety and contractor education, lobbying and legislative activities and social events and networking. We just had a very successful golf tournament.”
WHAT ARE haskell’s
DUTIES AT ABC?
Haskell runs the business office and handles events such as after-hours parties, monthly board meetings, for which Haskell finds a speaker, and other member services.
WHAT ARE THE CHALLENGES THAT THIS JOB BRINGS?
“It was a big adjustment learning to do everything for myself. I had the same secretary with the City for 23 years and she did everything for me. This is a lot more hands-on and deals with more of the nuts and bolts.” Haskell said a top challenge is finding out what is most important to Jacksonville’s ABC members. “I was somewhat familiar with construction, but this job has been a big learning experience for me.”
WORKING FOR THE CITY
“I’ve had a great career with the City,” said Haskell. His first job was with the Motor Vehicle Inspection Division in 1969. Haskell worked in the budget office, and with HUD on private sector residences being made available for HUD recipients. He spent the next 20 years as an appointed official, working as the head of procurement for 13 years and as the director of the Regulatory and Environmental Services Department. “With the jump from civil service to an appointed position, life becomes riskier, but there is a better reward.”
HOW DID he GET
THE JOB WITH ABC
Haskell retired in April 2000 after 31 years with the City. “I played golf four times a week for nine months. Then I was encouraged heavily by my wife, who was still working, to do something else.” He learned about the position through a friend on the board. “This job was a really nice fit.”
Haskell was born and raised in Jacksonville. He graduated from Lee High School, then spent a few years at the University of South Florida. He graduated from UNF with a degree in public administration. He and his wife, Adrienne, live in the Beauclerc area.
After a promotion from Mayor John Delaney, Haskell spent six years as the director of regulations in the Environmental Service Department, overseeing air and water pollution, consumer affairs, parking and cable. “It was during my tenure that we renegotiated the contract with Continental Cable before it was MediaOne and before it was AT&T. It is distressing now to see that they’re fighting over it, but the dynamics have changed dramatically. I am pleased that I am not in the middle of that. I feel for the guy in my old position.”
Haskell, who has worked under mayors Godbold, Hazouri, Austin and Delaney, said he is extremely impressed with the job Delaney has done as mayor. “Everyone that I worked for was a great leader. Our mayor now has done everything right. I’m totally impressed. He puts a lot of time and thought into everything.”
ABC lobbies for issues that benefit commercial construction, including workers compensation, construction of state buildings and project labor issues. “There will be hundreds of issues over the course of a year. ABC Florida has a full-time lobbyist.” At some point, representatives from all five Florida chapters of ABC go to Tallahassee “to do a blitz of state offices. We also have a political action committee and we endorse certain candidates at local and state levels.” Haskell said that ABC is one of the top 50 most effective lobbying groups on a national level. “I’m just close enough [to politics] that I can dabble in it or stay out of it when I feel so inclined.” ABC has yet to endorse any candidates for the local elections, but is supporting Gov. Jeb Bush in and all incumbent state legislators in Tuesday’s election.
Haskell has a daughter and two grandchildren in Orlando, and a stepdaughter in Jacksonville who works for Canon Design, the company designing the new county courthouse. His wife, Adrienne, is a property manager for Liberty Property Trust. “We’re all in the industry.”
— by Bailey White