How We Started
ABC was founded in 1950 when seven contractors gathered in Baltimore, Maryland to create an association based on the shared belief that construction projects should be awarded on merit to the most qualified and responsible low bidders. Their courage and dedication to the merit shop philosophy spread rapidly, and within time, ABC became the fastest-growing association in the United States. Today, ABC is recognized as one of the leading organizations representing America's business community and the merit shop construction industry. Since 1976, the West Tennessee Chapter of ABC has represented the interests of commercial construction. Through eras of tremendous economic growth and recession, political and social turmoil, and changing trends and technology, WTCABC has been there to support of members in the growth and improvement of their businesses.
What We Do
ABC's activities include government representation, legal advocacy, education, workforce development, communications, technology, recognition through national and chapter awards programs, employee benefits, information on best practices and business development through an online contractor search directory.
The West Tennessee Chapter was formed from the leadership of Bill and Harlan Watts (W&W Construction Co.), June Kiersey (City Air & Heating), Robert McBride (Summerall Electric), Tommy Mahoney (Mahoney Plumbing Company), and Hugh Bagwell (Bagwell Plumbing)and J.V. Weatherington (A.C. Electric). These men joined together in support of Bill Watts and W&W Construction who were embroiled in a battle with organized labor over W&W's decision to become an open shop.
In 1972, Bill Watts, a member of the bargaining committee of the Associated General Contractors (AGC), resigned from the committee in protest when union demands became unreasonable. Bill Watts hired non-union labor to work on his job sites, which led to union workers walking off the job. In the days and months that followed, violence instigated by organized labor erupted. The many incidences included broken windows, fire bombings, and threats on Bill Watt's life.
Urged by the President of the ABC in Nashville to form a local chapter, the brave men mentioned above did just that. Despite many attempts by organized labor to quash the efforts of these merit shop contractors, ABC persevered and has remained strong for the last 30 years. WTCABC History from founder Bill Watts. West Tennessee Chapter Of Associated Builders And Contractors, Inc.;
ABC's mission is the advancement of the merit shop construction philosophy, which encourages open competition and a free-enterprise approach that awards contracts based solely on merit, regardless of labor affiliation.
To Be West Tenneessee's Premier Construction Association. To provide value to West Tennessee’s construction community through education and training, service, networking, and political advocacy in a way that promotes the merit-shop philosophy and free enterprise, maximizes our members’ success, and enhances our industry’s image so that our members and their employees prosper.