The Construction Writers Association (CWA) presented its highest honor, the “Silver Hard Hat Award,” to American Road & Transportation Builders Association (ARTBA) Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer William D. Toohey, Jr., at a May 12 event in Washington, D.C.
The award, which is not presented annually, is given at the discretion of the CWA Board of Directors to honor outstanding service to the construction industry and/or the association. Toohey, 52, was cited for his career body of work over the past 20 years with ARTBA.
The ARTBA executive joined the association in 1985 as director of public relations, a newly created position. In 1990, he was promoted to vice president of communications. In 1995, he was also given management responsibility for the association’s government relations, policy development, membership service and marketing functions. He was promoted to ARTBA senior vice president in 1997 and to his current position in 2004.
Toohey was recognized by the CWA for the his leadership role in creating and executing ARTBA’s aggressive advocacy programs over the past 20 years targeted at increasing federal investments in transportation infrastructure.
The ARTBA program—patterned after modern political campaigns—has pioneered construction industry association use of opinion polling, issue shaping, advocacy advertising, economic research, coalition development and management, grassroots training programs, special events, real time communications media and fundraising to support the industry’s direct lobbying activities.
ARTBA’s communications and federal advocacy activities have received numerous national awards over the past 15 years. Since 1990, annual federal investments in transportation infrastructure programs have grown 120%.
In 1999, “Inside PR” magazine named Toohey one of 24 “Public Relations All-Stars” for his work on the “Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century,” federal legislation that guaranteed $218 billion over six-years for state and local highway and transit improvement programs. During his ARTBA tenure, he has been involved in successful legislative campaigns for four federal highway and transit program bills and three airport improvement bills.