By: Tim Wies
When I wrote this on Jan. 6, it was a beautiful, sunny 67-degree, spring-like day in St. Louis, Mo. I know winter started less than three weeks ago but days like today make us look forward to spring’s new growth and vibrancy. But alas, we have three more months of winter—plenty of time to prepare for spring gardening, golf and fishing.
During the winter, friends of mine are looking through the Cabela’s and Bass Pro catalogs in preparation for spring fishing. Gardeners are searching through seed catalogs, planning their garden beds, and golfers are shopping for new clubs. The weather patterns are unpredictable these days, and much the same can be said about the demand for construction services. However, like the seasons, we know that demand will increase at some point in the future. Are you prepared for that time? Are your people and companies ready for the eventual growth in the industry?
We contractors should be using this downtime to plan and prepare for the eventual upswing. Most of us have already adjusted the size, product mix and geographical range of our companies, but have we also re-educated ourselves and staff. If not, let me offer a suggestion: Come to AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo April 15–19, in Charlotte, N.C. All of the professional development programs look to be very educational and timely.
The expo hall will be filled with manufacturers and vendors with new ideas, products and services. Networking with industry professionals is a great value. This year’s convention would be an ideal place to bring staff because there is too much for one person to take in and also because it is a great time to boost the morale of your team. I realize that money is tight for most of us, but this truly is an investment in your company and your company’s greatest asset—your people.
Before I close, I would like to thank Rick Alampi, executive director of the Drywall & Interior Systems Contractors Association, Inc. of New Jersey, for hosting AWCI Executive Vice President/CEO Steve Etkin and me at the DISCA Excellence in Construction Awards dinner. Congratulations go out to the winning teams from B.J. McGlone & Co., DePalma Contracting, and Sloan & Company—spectacular projects from all.
As you can see from above, my deadline for the President’s Message is written a month before publication, so I would like to wish everyone a very belated happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.
In addition to being the 2011–2012 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Wies is president of T.J. Wies Contracting, Inc. in Lake St. Louis, Mo.