AGC/LIT Construction Facility named in honor of Charlie LeBlanc
The Associated General Contractors of Southeast Texas and Lamar Institute of Technology has announced it will name its new AGC / LIT construction facility in memory of AGC Board member Charles “Charlie” LeBlanc.
LeBlanc, 62, of Beaumont, died Aug. 21 at Christus Hospital St. Elizabeth in Beaumont. He was a native of Abbeville, La., and a Beaumont resident 42 years. LeBlanc served on the board of the Associated General Contractors of Southeast Texas two years.
Dwayne Hermann Jr., owner of D & H Electrical Inc., said the co-owner of Crown Electric Inc. of Beaumont was an active community member will truly be missed. LeBlanc was on the board of Boy’s Haven and also worked with the Young Men’s Business League. Charlie’s wife, Peggy, and family members will attend the grand opening of the AGC/LIT construction facility set for noon Thursday, Aug. 28. The facility is adjacent to the AGC office, 5458 Ave. A, near on West Port Arthur Road near U.S. 69.
“Charlie was a man of courage, a man of honor and one of the happiest people I met in my life,” said Barbara Mulroy, director of Associated General Contractors of Southeast Texas. “He and Crown Electric were committed to giving the most that they possibly could back to the community. He really set a high standard.”
Hermann said LeBlanc would get hold of a project and made sure things got done, as in the case of the electrical work he did for the new construction facility. He also was very involved with the Boy’s Haven land sale. “Everybody has a Charlie story,” he joked.
As a YMBL volunteer, he parked cars for the organization every year, Herman said. LeBlanc also served on the Beaumont Electrical Joint Apprenticeship Committee and was a member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers # 479.
Co-owner, Crown Electric, Wayne Brockett of Beaumont, said he and LeBlanc served the Golden Triangle for 27 years. “He was tough, but very fair and was always willing to help,” he said. “He was always giving of himself and his time.”
Both Brockett and Hermann said LeBlanc was worthy of having the facility named after him.
“I think it’s a great honor. He works so hard for things like that, to have a little recognition will surely please him – although he wasn’t the kind that did it for that,” Brockett said. LeBlanc will be remembered as a hard worker. “He loved people, and he was always helping out somewhere.”
Hermann said it is fabulous that the facility will have LeBlanc’s name on it. “It is a wonderful thing we can do.” LeBlanc, who worked with the apprenticeship program for 26 years, always had a passion for his job. “He just loved the construction trade, and loved the apprenticeship trade,” Hermann.
The public and the media to the unveiling of LIT’s new commercial construction from noon to 2 p.m.
LIT will honor contractors who donated supplies and services to make the new classroom a reality. In addition to in-kind donations, AGC is offering ten $1,000 scholarships to students interested in studying construction at LIT. AGC and its members have stepped up to the plate to make this happen. AGC has 800 members employing more than 18,000 taxpayers.
“This gives students an opportunity to learn a trade and receive financial assistance,” said Chris Castillo, director of public information and marketing at Lamar Institute of Technology.
The LIT construction program offers an associate’s degree and a certificate course for students interested in entering the field of commercial construction. Associate degree students will gain the knowledge to work as a foreman on a construction site. Certificate graduates will be ready to enter a workforce where employees are very much in demand. For several years, AGC has been a financial sponsor to LIT, offering money for student scholarships and to develop the construction program. Earlier this year, Tom Neild, president of AGC, presented an $18,000 check to LIT president Dr. Paul Szuch following its annual golf tournament at Brentwood Country Club to support AGC scholarships.
This past year, AGC’s tournament yielded $14,000, which went toward scholarships for students at LIT. This was the second consecutive year that proceeds from the tournament went toward educating students at LIT.
The continued generosity of AGC is helping LIT educate students. AGC is playing a vital role in launching the new construction program. This will provide much needed employees in the area of commercial construction for area plants and other development projects, Castillo said.
Earlier this year, Monument Constructors, Inc. donated and installed an energy-efficient Duro-Last roof valued at $20,000 for the LIT classroom at AGC. The classroom space, a warehouse donated by AGC member, Miner Dederick Construction, will be occupied by students receiving commercial, industrial and residential construction training. The new roof was a huge step in preparing the classroom space.
The AGC / LIT partnership is actively addressing the need for more skilled construction workers in the area, said Tom Lanza, director of business development for Monument. “The supply of competent construction workers is already at a premium,” Lanza said. Within the next four to five years, he said, the anticipated construction boom will cause an even greater need for trained construction workers.
“Hundreds of local architectural, engineering and construction companies that are members of the AGC are committed to this partnership with LIT,” Mulroy said. “We will provide the opportunities for students to learn what career opportunities our industry has to offer.”
In addition to donating the warehouse, the organization has developed specially directed curriculum, and will provide equipment, supplies and hands-on learning opportunities for students.