For Bailey, building the road to success is a family effort

2011-02-27T04:00:00Z For Bailey, building the road to success is a family effortBy ROB STROUD, Staff Writer
February 27, 2011 4:00 am  • 

MATTOON - Holly Bailey has become the third generation of her family and the first woman to serve as president of the Associated General Contractors of Illinois.

Bailey, president of Howell Asphalt Co. and senior vice president of Howell Paving Inc. in Mattoon, was elected to a one-year term as AGCI president in December during the highway/heavy and utility construction association's annual convention and business meeting in Springfield.

The president's position for AGC of Illinois was held in 1969 by Bailey's grandfather Virgil Howell, who founded his Mattoon company 60 years ago, and in 1989-90 by her father, Charles Adams.

"We have been involved in AGC of Illinois for a long time," Bailey said. "They represent their contractors well in Springfield."

As president of AGC of Illinois, Bailey will be making a lot of trips to the Springfield headquarters in 2011 for meetings with member contractors and Illinois Department of Transportation officials.

Bailey said her workload with AGC is heavier at the beginning of her term because she is handling many of the day-to-day responsibilities of the executive director, a post vacated when Eric Fields retired in December after 35 years on the job.

"One of my first duties is to find his replacement, which is a big step," said Bailey, adding that AGC hopes to have a new executive director in place by the end of March.

Bailey, who has been on AGC's board for five years now, has been part of the construction industry since she was in high school, when she worked part-time typing and filing at her family's business.

She continued working in the summers for Howell in various capacities while she obtained a bachelor's in economics from DePauw University and a master's in business administration from Texas Christian University.

After graduating from Texas Christian, Bailey worked for four years in executive recruiting before returning to the family businesses.

"This is what I always wanted to do. I always knew in the back of my mind I wanted to come back to do this," said Bailey, adding Howell was a nice change of pace from being a corporate "head hunter." "It felt like coming home. It's a much more family-oriented environment. We like it that way."

Bailey said Howell also cultivates a community service-oriented culture, which began with her grandfather and has been continued by her and her father.

"Besides the AGCI, I serve as treasurer for the Mattoon Area Family YMCA and sit on the board of directors of Coles Together. Whatever talents we possess we need to share to benefit the community and our industry. Now it is my turn to do just that," Bailey said.

Prior to holding her current executive posts with Howell, Bailey worked in estimating, safety inspecting and other areas of the business.

Bailey said she has never felt out of place as a woman working in her family's construction business or meeting with their clients at the Illinois Department of Transportation, which has a lot of female employees.

"It is still very rare to be a female in an executive position at a construction company. I am one of two females on the board of directors for the AGCI, which is a slate of 20 people," Bailey said.

AGC of Illinois' membership includes more than 150 general contractors, their subcontractors and suppliers, predominately south of Interstate 80 in Illinois. This association is affiliated with AGC of American in Alexandria, Virg.

Contact Rob Stroud at or 238-6861.


Copyright 2015 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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