BLDUP Spotlight: ASM - Advancing the Interests of Subcontractors 09/25/23

asm spotlight

In the ever-evolving landscape of construction and project management, subcontractors play a vital role in bringing visions to life, working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure projects are completed seamlessly.  In our most recent BLDUP Spotlight, we sat down with the new CEO of the Associated Subcontractors of Massachusetts, former Massachusetts Senator James Welch. Welch’s 16 years in the Massachusetts State House as both a senator and state representative afford him an important perspective on industry advocacy, a key role of ASM. ASM also focuses on education and workforce development for all subcontractors across the Commonwealth. With ASM member companies working on many of the projects tracked on BLDUP, organizations small to large can showcase their successful work on the platform and connect with new technology and relationships.


BLDUP: Jim, tell us about ASM, its mission, and who it is in the construction space.

Jim Welch: ASM’s mission is to protect and advance the interests of all subcontractors and promote professionalism in public and private construction through education, communication, and advocacy.

We were founded in 1950 and have successfully advocated on behalf of subcontractors on issues such as “Retainage Law,” “Prompt Pay,” “Protecting Filed Sub Bids,” and “Construction Reform.”

BLDUP: While some may have a glass-half-full approach to the market these days we still hear that labor and skilled trade shortages remain an industry hurdle..what is ASM doing to address or encourage a career in the trades and what tools are you providing your membership access to recruit? Talk about how you are working to attract more diversity to the industry as well.

Jim Welch: Labor and workforce development continues to be one of the paramount issues our companies face. A lack of trained workforce or even interested people who wish to enter training has forced our member companies to initiate their own internal training programs. Many companies also do outreach to technical schools to encourage new people entering the workforce to consider their company or trade. There are many local and state agencies that have the responsibility and resources to encourage hiring diversity and recruitment. Our member companies work closely with these agencies to ensure compliance.

BLDUP: Let's dive a little deeper into your answer about education what are you providing your members access to so they can grow and adapt to this changing market?

Jim Welch: ASM provides educational programming to our members via safety roundtables at least every other month. We also have in-person seminars held on a regular basis to provide education on topics that are current and relevant to the construction industry, particularly subcontractors. We also hold monthly lunch and learn webinars on topics for business owners and their employees to learn about issues from industry experts ranging from insurance to employment law.

BLDUP: Legislation plays a huge role in the lives of all firms involved within the commercial real estate and construction markets. What are you currently focused on that we should be keeping an eye on? 

Jim Welch: At ASM, we are constantly monitoring any legislation that could positively or negatively affect our member companies. While ASM has had many significant victories in the past on “Prompt Pay,” “Filed Sub-bid Laws,” and “Retainage,” it is critically important that we fight back against any attempt to undo those victories. 

We also support many proposals to enhance the state’s efforts to beef up its workforce development efforts. It is also important for ASM to communicate to state and local policymakers the realities of new laws and how they translate to a real workplace environment.

BLDUP: What new technologies or systems are you discussing/exploring within ASM to keep your members on the cutting edge of construction practices/products? 

Jim Welch: We are always trying to connect our members with established organizations that provide technology that may be helpful. Many of our companies are the ones who develop cutting-edge technologies, so often, the ASM membership leads to opportunities for our companies to learn from each other.

BLDUP: What excites you about the opportunities you see for subcontractors with the marketplace now?  

Jim Welch: ASM member companies are on the frontlines of the construction industry in Massachusetts. The market is strong in Massachusetts, and indicators suggest it will remain strong. Our members are excited about the opportunities to continue leading the way toward a strong economy in Massachusetts by providing excellent work, great jobs, and valuable training.

BLDUP: Are you seeing particular industry segments or issues that need more focused attention from Developers/Designers?

Jim Welch: Workforce development needs to be a primary focus. Another focus needs to be reducing administrative requirements and aspirational policies that are not realistic in a real work environment.

Contributor Bio

asm logo

ASM is the state's leading association for specialty contractors. They represent companies of all trades, large and small, union and open shop, who work on major building projects across the commonwealth, in both the public and private sector.