Andrew Lopez is vice president for Cajun Constructors, LLC, an ABC member and nationally recognized construction leader headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., that provides a broad range of services as a specialty contractor to a diverse group of markets. Lopez started his career with Cajun while obtaining his Bachelor of Science Degree in Construction Management from Louisiana State University in 2000. He is the founding executive and business unit leader of the recently created industrial building specialization where he is responsible for the day-to-day operations and direct oversight of all major business components of the division.

Lopez has been active in the ABC Pelican Chapter since 2002. He has severed on the Pelican Chapter Board of Directors since 2008, executive committee since 2011 and currently holds the position of Chair Elect for the chapter. In addition to his tenured service to ABC, Lopez has served on the LSU Construction Industry Advisory Council Board of Directors and has been an active member of both the Greater Lafayette Chamber of Commerce and the Louisiana Association of Business and Industry.

Of his many achievements, Lopez is a recent graduate of the 26th annual class of Leadership Lafayette. In 2008, he was selected by National Association of State Contractors Licensing Agencies (NASCLA) to fill the role of test item writer for the National General Building Licensing Exam. Lopez is an Associated Builders and Contractors National Eagle Award recipient for Excellence in Construction in both 2006 and 2011.

Lopez and his wife Sarah are active parishioners of Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, where his two daughters attend school. Lopez has served on both the School’s Advisory Council and Parish Council since 2013.

Q1: Why did you decide to join the national YP group?
Over the last few years, I witnessed the significant impact the Pelican Chapter’s YP program had on engaging and developing the next crop of young leaders. Having been heavily involved in local affairs for the past 14 years, I am hopeful the national program will be a great conduit to further develop relationships and understand the issues at a more macro level.

Q2: What value and potential value do you see in the group?
The true value proposition is a two way street. ABC and the construction industry stand to benefit greatly from increased engagement of young professionals. The earlier professional relationships are created and the deeper that the association’s beliefs are rooted in young professionals, the more effective leaders they will become. Young professionals are on the front lines of the rapidly evolving industry, and access to this exclusive perspective is invaluable.

In return, young professionals are educated earlier, are more connected and are able to reach a higher potentialresulting in advanced career and personal opportunities.

Q3: Why is it important to you to be involved in an association early on in your career?

I feel a strong obligation to leave the industry better than I found it. I especially want to give back to the community that raised me and to the industry that forged me. I quickly realized that by collectively investing our time, talent and treasure we could truly have a greater impact than acting alone, and that is a gratifying concept. Through involvement, I came to gain a deeper understanding of the founding virtues of ABC and the Merit Shop Philosophy. These tenets have been instrumental in the success of my career and personal life.

Q4: Why should other young professionals join the program and focus on professional/leadership development?
As young leaders, it will be incumbent upon us to preserve the Merit Shop Philosophy. This forum can help prepare us for the fight ahead and ensure we are ready to carry the torch as the next generation of leaders.

Q5: What is your favorite aspect of the construction industry?
Competition! There is no purer form of free enterprise, across all industries and markets, than that found in construction. It is not by chance that we call our conference room "The War Room" on bid day. It is because competition is the great equalizer.

Q6: What is one piece of advice you would offer other young professionals in the construction industry?
Out work everyone! Our industry rewards effort above all things, and we often miss this fact as young professionals.