Preparing for the Future

Michael Weber

November 2009

According to the feedback I have received, our Industry Executives’ Conference & Committee Week this fall in San Juan, Puerto Rico, was a great successful. As you know, part of our agenda is to nominate and approve board members for future positions. So, I would like to congratulate Craig Daley, president of Daley’s Drywall & Taping in Campbell, Calif., who was named secretary-elect of the AWCI’s Executive Committee. His term begins July 1, 2010. I also congratulate Scott Casabona, president of Sloan & Company, Inc. in West Caldwell, N.J. He will become AWCI’s secretary July 1, 2011. Also, Steve Bjorklund of USG will serve as a supplier-at-large on the board, and John Hinson of Marek Brothers Systems, Inc. will serve a second term as contractor-at-large.

It is said that the downturn of the economy appears to have hit rock bottom and that consumer spending and financial markets continue to stabilize. Despite the recent rhetoric out of Washington about pulling out of the recession, the forecast for our industry is that times will continue to be very challenging into the near future. Financing for projects will continue to be difficult to obtain, and there will be more bidders for each job.

To get through these challenges, it is imperative that we understand the context and we develop strategies to deal with those challenges. Be aware of all external and internal factors and also know your customers and competitors. Obtaining information about your competitors is not always easy, but as long as you assess things constructively, you will attain the advantage of awareness. Knowledge is power, and confidence is the key.

Having an understanding of your surroundings will give you confidence to hurdle through the barriers ahead. As shown in a slide presentation given during AWCI’s fall conference by Mike Clancy of FMI Corporation, there are a number of strategic tactics to consider. First, follow and anticipate funding. Next, develop contingency plans. Third, ensure that as the context of market opportunities drastically change, your business development processes change in step. Finally, it is paramount to focus on core operational efficiency.

I would like to acknowledge John A. Rapaport, director of operations and general counsel of Component Assembly Systems, Inc., for presenting an informative seminar on Building Information Modeling. I encourage the wall and ceiling membership to learn more about the subject. In addition, I think it is important to educate the young men and women that will make up the next generation of company owners and executives. AWCI is organizing a new forum to give them a peer network to share common problems, solutions and ownership transition obstacles. It also will provide an opportunity for them to learn from experienced people.

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, so eat, sleep and be happy.

In addition to being the 2009–2010 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Weber is president of Island Acoustics LLC in Bohemia, N.Y.