NASBP CEO Mark H. McCallum has been named one of Engineering News-Record's (ENR) Top 25 Newsmakers of 2015 for his advocacy for reform of rules regarding individual surety bonds on federal construction contracts.
In a summary of why McCallum was chosen, Deputy Editor of ENR.com Richard Korman described McCallum as an "unabashed advocate and strategist" in pursuit "to end pervasive individual surety fraud by reforming bond asset rules in federal contracting," according to a January 11, 2016 ENR article.
Upon learning of the news, NASBP Second Vice President Howard Cowan, President of the Cowan-Hill Bond Agency in Lubbock, Texas, said ENR's recognition of Mark is well-deserved. "First as General Counsel for four years and then in the last six years as Executive Director, Mark has led our organization to improve in many areas, and his guidance in the areas of government relations and legislative activity has been exceptional," Cowan said. "Mark’s experience at both the Associated General Contractors of America and NASBP put him in the position to achieve some long-sought NASBP goals in recent months."
NASBP's years of advocacy work paid off in November, when Congress approved a measure requiring individual sureties to back their bonds with real, secure assets that are placed in the federal government's custody.
"This recognition really is a testament to the NASBP community and to our coalition partners, which rallied their time and energies to move this federal legislation forward," said Mark McCallum. "I am pleased that we were able to achieve this outcome, so that small and disadvantaged construction firms performing work on federal contracts can no longer be victimized by bonds backed by assets that are not even worth the paper on which the bonds are printed."
Cowan said McCallum's unique skills helped form the coalition to achieve that success. "He worked closely with our partners at Surety & Fidelity Association of America and with all of the members of the Construction Procurement Coalition to require equal security requirements for individual sureties as those followed by our corporate sureties," Cowan said. "Those relationships also led to expansions and improvement in the Small Business Administration's Bond Assistance Program, and those improvements will facilitate the surety industry's expansion of economic opportunities for small and emerging contractors," he added.
"We are extraordinarily honored that Mark has been selected to receive this prestigious award," added NASBP President Susan Hecker. "The Association takes great pride in that NASBP's advocacy efforts, championed and led by Mark, are being acknowledged in this way," said Hecker. "Mark has demonstrated an unwavering and passionate commitment to protecting our industry."
The editors of ENR select individuals for this honor based on news stories ENR magazine has published in the last year and on individuals they believe made the greatest impact on the construction industry. McCallum will accept the award, along with the other top 24 newsmakers, in early April at the ENR annual awards ceremony in New York City, where well over 1,000 people who work in various roles in the construction industry and from all over the world will be in attendance.
Pictured at top right is McCallum (panelist sitting second from left) testifying in February 2012 before the U.S. House of Representatives Small Business Subcommittee on Contracting and Workforce, and pictured at lower right is McCallum (second from left,) with the NASBP Maryland Delegation during the 2015 NASBP Legislative Fly-in when the group met last spring with their members of the U.S. Congress on Capitol Hill.