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Daily News

SOUTH HADLEY — Michael Ciolek Jr., Paul Ciolek, and Tom Ciolek say they entered the family business “by default,” but since then, they’ve grown Associated Builders with purpose, commitment, and a single-minded focus on clients’ needs, as they’ve designed and built hundreds of facilities in the commercial, industrial, automotive, institutional, and agricultural sectors, among others, with projects ranging from new buildings to office renovations and tenant fit-ups.

Click here to read about the Ciolek brothers, the growth of their South Hadley-based firm, and how they manage the challenges of the construction sector in Faces of Construction, the first installment of BusinessWest’s new Faces of Business series, which will continue throughout 2024 with Faces of Education, Faces of Finance, and Faces of Healthcare.

“Our work is more than just ‘finishing the job,’” the owners of Associated Builders stress. “Our ultimate goal with every project is to design and construct a building that increases our clients’ productivity and profitability.”



By Ben Brubeck


The Biden administration’s final rule, “Federal Acquisition Regulation: Use of Project Labor Agreements for Federal Construction Projects,” implements Executive Order 14063, which requires federal construction contracts of $35 million or more to be subject to controversial project labor agreements (PLAs).

The Biden administration’s burdensome, inflationary, and anti-competitive PLA mandate rule will needlessly raise costs on taxpayer-funded construction projects and steer contracts to unionized contractors and workers. Absent a successful legal challenge, this executive overreach will reward powerful special interests with government construction contracts at the expense of taxpayers and the principles of free enterprise and fair and open competition in government procurement.

When mandated by governments, PLAs increase construction costs to taxpayers by 12% to 20%, reduce opportunities for qualified contractors and their skilled craft professionals, and exacerbate the construction industry’s worker shortage of more than a half-million people in 2023.

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) will continue to fight on behalf of quality, experienced contractors harmed by this rule and the 88.3% of America’s construction industry who have made the choice not to belong to a union and want a fair opportunity to participate in federal construction projects, but cannot do so because of PLA schemes.

In addition, ABC condemns Biden administration policies independent of this rulemaking that push PLAs on competitive grant programs administered by federal agencies, affecting nearly $260 billion worth of federally assisted infrastructure projects procured by state and local governments, as well as schemes by the Biden administration to coerce private developers of hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of clean energy and domestic microchip manufacturing projects to mandate PLAs. Biden’s PLA policies circumvent congressional intent as none of these policies were passed in funding legislation.

Some background: on Aug. 19, 2022, the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council issued its proposed rule implementing Executive Order 14063. In October 2022, ABC submitted more than 40 pages of comments to the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council, calling on the Biden administration to withdraw its controversial proposed rule.

ABC’s opposition was shared by more than 50 members of the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives, 19 Republican governors, and a diverse coalition of construction-industry, small-business, and taxpayer advocates urging the administration to withdraw its proposal and additional policies promoting PLA mandates on federal and federally assisted construction projects.

At least 8,000 stakeholders across the country — including 2,500 ABC member contractors — submitted comments opposed to this proposed rule during the 60-day comment period. In a September 2022 survey of ABC contractor members, 98% opposed this proposed rule, and 97% said a construction contract that required a PLA would be more expensive compared to a contract procured via fair and open competition.

ABC plans to challenge this Biden administration scheme in the courts on behalf of taxpayers and the majority of the construction industry. In the interim, ABC will continue to oppose its special-interest-favoring policy using all tools in our advocacy and legal toolbox while educating stakeholders about the negative impact of government-mandated PLAs on federal and federally assisted projects.


Ben Brubeck is vice president of Regulatory, Labor, and State Affairs at Associated Builders and Contractors.

Daily News

SOUTH HADLEY — John Ciolek recently joined the team at Associated Builders in South Hadley, where he will be active in sales, finance, and administration. He will also spearhead activities in the Ciolek family’s commercial real-estate business.

Associated Builders (AB) is a third-generation, family-owned, design-build general contractor that has served the Pioneer Valley for morenthan five decades. Founded by his father in the early ’70s, John’s three brothers — Michael, Paul, and Tom — have led AB for the past 30-plus years. This is a return to the company of sorts for John, as he worked with the field crews with his brothers throughout his high-school and college years, gaining practical knowledge of the construction business. The company has grown tremendously since then and has completed projects across New England with a focus on Western Mass. and Northern Conn.

John Ciolek brings extensive experience in finance and strategy garnered over a long career in banking and corporate strategy. Most recently, he was head of Strategic Initiatives at NGL Energy, where he was responsible for the company’s M&A activities and its sustainability efforts. Prior to that, he had a decades-long career on Wall Street, over the course of which he served as a managing director in Investment Banking for Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, and Citigroup. He started his banking career as a corporate lender for Shawmut Bank in Hartford, Conn. before attending the University of Michigan, where he received his MBA. He received a bachelor’s degree in political economy from Williams College in Williamstown.

Daily News

SOUTH HADLEY — Associated Builders Inc. recently welcomed Dan Dodge, whose role will encompass business development, pre-construction planning and logistics, and project coordination. His extensive experience in the execution of large-scale commercial and industrial construction projects will increase the capabilities of Associated Builders to better serve the business community of the Pioneer Valley and beyond.

A South Hadley native, Dodge’s career spans more than 30 years of demonstrated achievements in commercial real-estate development and construction for major retailers and Fortune 500 companies. Previously, he served in progressive roles as manager of Land Planning, construction project manager, and director of Development at Berkshire Development LLC, followed by the role of managing director of Development at NAI Plotkin.

He has evaluated and conducted due diligence on more than 200 real-estate development projects, ranging from a 50,000-square-foot single tenant property valued at $5 million to a 300,000-square-foot, multi-tenant property valued at $40 million. His experience includes project coordination for national brand anchor stores including Dick’s Sporting Goods, Kohl’s, HHGregg Electronics, Staples, and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Dodge holds an unrestricted Massachusetts construction supervisor license, a certificate in construction project management and contracting, a certificate in AutoCAD, an OSHA 30-hour certificate, and a certificate in architectural and civil drafting and design. He is a Massachusetts-licensed real-estate salesperson and an FAA-certified drone pilot. He is a member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and a former South Hadley Planning Board member.

Daily News

SOUTH HADLEY — Associated Builders recently welcomed Daniel Bradbury into the newly created position of director of Sales and Marketing for Massachusetts Operations. Sales Associate Scott Downie will remain with Associated Builders and focus on sales and business development in the Connecticut market.

Bradbury comes to Associated Builders with 20 years of experience working in the construction industry, having previously worked with several premier custom home builders and remodeling companies in Western Mass.

“Despite the challenges of starting a new sales position during a global pandemic, I am excited to join the strong team at Associated Builders and hit the ground running,” he said. “It is my belief that clear communication and follow-through are the keys to building a trusting business relationship, and my goal is to provide exceptional customer service. In my new role, I hope to facilitate our customers’ business growth by helping them realize the full potential of their existing work environment or paving the way for expansion into a new, purpose-built facility.”