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Article / Historic Figures

Historic Figures.

Pictured: Al Fleischer and Dick Mantia

On November 9, 2017, AGC of Missouri hosted the 20th annual Construction Awards Program.  As part of this program, a special presentation was made for the AGC of Missouri Keystone Heritage Award. The Keystone Heritage Award was added to the Keystone program in 2007 because it was felt that many outstanding projects and individuals from the era before there were Keystone Awards deserved recognition. 

The 2017 Keystone Heritage Award was awarded posthumously to two men considered by some to be giants in the St. Louis construction market:  Al Fleischer and Dick Mantia.  

Al Fleischer was president of the AGC of St. Louis in 1971 and Chairman of the Council of Construction Employers.  Dick Mantia was Executive Secretary Treasurer of the St. Louis Building and Construction Trades Council.  

These two gentlemen were the original co-chairmen of PRIDE which was an acronym for Productivity and Responsibility Increase Development and Employment. PRIDE was the first labor-management organization of its type in the nation’s construction industry.  PRIDE was formed during a labor strike in 1972 at a time when the industry had been devastated by strikes and jurisdictional disputes which were well documented by the local and national media.  The industry was torn apart.  PRIDE was recognized by the United States Department of Labor in 1982 as the “finest example of labor-management cooperation in America”.

Al Fleischer was the owner of Fleischer Construction, but was also recognized as a civic leader.  Besides being president of AGC of St. Louis in 1971, he was also involved in the National Corporation for Housing Partnerships, the U.S. Olympic Committee, Junior Achievement and the Congregation Shaare Emeth.

Dick Mantia’s 53-year career included serving members of the Heat and Frost Insulators Local 1 in various capacities and as the secretary/treasurer of the St. Louis Building Trades Council for 20 years.  Ever known as the “peace maker”, he was particularly well-suited to partner with Mr. Fleischer to bring labor and management together to address the labor issues of St. Louis construction market at that time.  

Al and Dick gave their total commitment to bringing the industry together.  Their perseverance and dedication changed the course of history by convincing labor and management to work together to bring jobs to this area.  Success was achieved and their legacy lives on.  The PRIDE organization, under the new name of the St. Louis Construction Cooperative, is still in existence today.

Dick Mantia’s widow and children were there to accept his award and Al Fleischer’s daughter and nephew accepted the award on his behalf.  It was a truly memorable evening for two great men whose legacy lives on for all of us today.

Len Toenjes, President
AGC of Missouri