Future Visions

By: Tim Wies

March 2012

One of my favorite quotes from the late, great Steve Jobs is, "Why join the Navy if you can be a pirate?” So with a little bit of professional piracy, below are a few statements I "pirated” from American Subcontractors Association President Kerrick Whisenant’s February newsletter. The views are from a group meeting that ASA hosted to "peer into the future” of the construction industry.

• Differences between high-end and low-end specialty trade contractors will increase; high-end will be more quality/skill-driven, and low-end price-driven.

• More prefabrication utilized.

• New funding mechanisms for construction.

• Owners/general contractors want fewer contractors for management and control purposes.

• Management faces new challenges with a changing work force (generational, ethnic, cultural differences).

• Increasing demand for stronger management skills driven by a changing industry and work force.

• Fluctuating material costs will drive owners to purchase materials and issue labor-only contracts.

Some of ASA’s predictions are all ready starting to take place now, but most of us are too busy bidding, building and billing to think about the future, much less plan for it. In order for our businesses to survive and thrive, we must try to anticipate what the future might hold and embrace the necessary changes. I challenge you to sit down with some of your people and colleagues to come up with your own vision of the future. I know that I will.

Thanks for reading. Work hard, work safe and have fun.

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.