Incoming President Gainesville Builders Association
Eric Gonzalez has worked alongside his father, Emilio, each day for the past 16 years. When Emilio, who goes by EG, started his company, EG Gonzalez Custom Homes, over two decades ago he joined the Builders Association of North Central Florida, an association that would connect him with other builders in the area.
In January Eric will be sworn in as president of the association that his father had joined 25 years ago.
Over the next year, as he serves, Gonzalez said it is important to him that more members of the association get involved with government interaction. He said working side-by-side with city and county officials is key because it will keep members “engaged and ensure we keep building.”
“The government can affect us in a positive or a negative way,” Gonzalez said. “Government affairs are a big part of what our organization does.”
The Builders Association of North Central Florida is comprised mostly of businesses in Alachua County but also serves: Levy, Suwannee, Gilchrist, Dixie, Lafayette, Hamilton, Taylor and Madison Counties.
Currently, there are nearly 600 members of the association and that number continues to grow especially now that many builders have recovered from the hit they took during the recession.
“Construction is doing a lot better now than the past 6 years or so,” Gonzalez said.
He added that while there may be more opportunities now than in the recent past, the biggest issue he foresees is the workforce, or lack thereof.
“During the recession, many skilled laborers and construction workers left,” Gonzalez said. “It takes years to replace them.”
Despite Gonzalez concerns, he believes the construction industry in North Central Florida will be fine. He predicted that 2015 will be a good year and said that 2016 looks promising, which is good news all construction companies in the area.
As a member of the BANCF, businesses are invited to numerous, exclusive events throughout the year, including monthly membership meetings, The Parade of Homes and a Family Fun Fishing Weekend in Crystal River.
To become a member, business owners submit an application that is reviewed by a board of directors, who vote to determine if the business will become a member. There are also associate members, who work along side construction companies such as realty companies, home securities companies and many more.
Though not everyone is accepted, Gonzalez said that very few businesses have been turned away. Membership costs are $550 per year.
Gonzalez said he may be the face of the BANCF for the next year, but understands it’s about more than one individual.
“I feel like the support staff we have and the other members are all here to ensure that we’re successful,” Gonzalez said. “Failure is not an option.”