I am proud to report that the Ullico Infrastructure Fund has now passed the $1 billion mark in commitments. For me, it represents a dream come to life, and continues to meet Ullico’s mission of providing solutions for the union workplace. We started hiring staff for the fund in 2009, and by 2011, we were raising capital during the depths of the recession. Since its inception in 2012, the fund has experienced strong growth and now has assets under management in excess of $900 million, spanning over 10 investments.
Today at Ullico, our Infrastructure Fund is helping rebuild America, utilizing union pension fund dollars, to generate competitive returns and to put union members and union contractors to work. These are long term investments that match perfectly with the long-dated needs of union pension funds. We have funded water, and wastewater projects, solar, wind, hydro and natural gas energy generation, electricity transmission and recently a transportation company, and we are just getting started. Our Infrastructure Fund is a great example of the labor movement investing in itself, leveraging its assets to grow and sustain itself. It follows the long time example of the Building Trades, who created their own apprenticeship and training funds, health and welfare funds, and pension funds, all with the idea of investing in their membership to achieve quality results.
America's infrastructure needs are substantial as outlined in a recent report card published by the American Society of Civil Engineers. Their 2017 Infrastructure Report Card, gives America a grade of D+. It's a report card I would not want to show my mother. The report indicates that only one half of the infrastructure bill is being paid, leaving a $2 trillion investment gap that hurts the economy, families, workers and businesses. Political decisions at all levels of government have deferred critical maintenance of existing infrastructure assets and kicked the can further down the road. While the solution of utilizing private capital to assist in solving the infrastructure problem may sound simple, many in the public believe that P3 [Public/Private/Partnership] stands for "picking the public's pocket."
Make no mistake, P3's can, and are working, provided you use a stakeholder-based approach that includes local involvement. The public has to understand the reality of the need, the cost involved, and that there is no such thing as free money. Asset owners need to understand that private capital can be a win/win for communities when done right.
Our Ullico Infrastructure Fund is an example of infrastructure done right, and we have a great story to tell. Congratulations to Jeff Murphy, Sonia Axter and their crew for the great job of getting the Infrastructure Fund up and running, and performing at such a high level. Many thanks to all of our investors who believed in the concept of a real union infrastructure entity, and made the concept a reality. Take a minute to read all about our Infrastructure Fund in the article later in this issue.
Dan- We're Going to Miss You!
Congratulations to Dan Wolak, who is retiring in August after serving as President of Union Labor Life. Dan's incredible knowledge and stature in the industry, his work ethic, friendship and leadership will be greatly missed. Dan's tenure is marked by incredible success and attention to detail. We wish him all the best in retirement.
Congrat's to Stephanie Whalen who the Board appointed as the new President of Union Labor Life upon Dan's retirement. Stephanie's twenty years with Ullico will serve her well in her new job.
Enjoy the Summer!
Edward M. Smith
President and CEO