VIENNA, Ohio (WKBN) – The local Builders Association — which represents 150 contractors in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana, Mercer and Lawrence counties — is celebrating 50 years by moving into a new building, which was dedicated Tuesday evening in Vienna Township.
The building is located on Route 193, about a mile south of Squaw Creek Country Club. It replaces a building that stands on the same property, which is now up for rent.
“We talked about remodeling the old building and start with the bathrooms, it’s 40 years old. [A] couple of us said, ‘That does not represent our industry, this [new building] represents our industry … We wanted something different that will bring something good to our Valley. That’s what we’re trying to promote,” said Builders Association President Sam Boak.
The building’s most prominent feature is its front windows — most of the glass runs from ground to roofline. Inside, the lobby area is an open concept.
“It’s sort of a modern concept with the open ceilings and the open trusses, but it gives people an idea of what they may or may not want when they decided to build a building,” said Jerry Zreliak, of the Builders Association.
“We negotiate with them when our contract comes up,” said Brian Collier, the field representative for Bricklayers and Tile Setters Local 8.
All members of the Builders Association must use union workers only. It was Collier’s men who laid the new building’s terrazzo floor.
“At the end of the day, we sit down like ladies and gentlemen in a room and we discuss things and we can usually work out our problems, sure,” Collier said.
Zreliak led the construction of the new building and is also president of I C Electric in Sharpsville, Pennsylvania. He said contracting work is currently steady.
“We don’t have the boom construction you see in the Pittsburgh market or the Cleveland market, but it’s steady,” Zreliak said.
Jim Santini of Jim Santini Builder, Inc. is headquartered in Columbiana County.
“Things are a little show in Columbiana County right now. We’re actually working in Trumbull County because things are so slow down there,” he said.
Everyone at the ribbon-cutting ceremony said they are always in need of qualified workers.
To help fill the void, the Mahoning Valley Skilled Trades Expo will be held on Thursday, Sept. 26, from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Canfield Fairgrounds.
High school students from around the Youngstown area can get educated on a career in the trade industry.
About 3,500 students have signed up, more than what was initially expected.