Getting Out and About

Burke Nicholson

December 2005

One of the best things about being the Association of Wall and Ceiling Industry’s president is the opportunities it provides to meet many of you. I’ve just returned from the Annual Fellowship Awards Banquet of the Wall & Ceiling Contractors Assn. of Metro St. Louis in Missouri, and the Hawaii chapter meeting in Las Vegas. Just as former AWCI president Bruce Miller told me, it’s a lot of fun.

In St. Louis, Mo., I spent time with Tim Wies and met his controller, who gave me an idea on how to ensure that change orders were included in work orders. I got a tip about estimating, too, from one of his estimators. In my mind, these examples confirm that connecting with contractors in other fields helps you learn how to run a more successful business. That’s the whole idea of the Business Forms that AWCI sponsors. If you haven’t joined one, you should look into it. I’ve found that almost any problem I have experienced has already been solved in one way or another by someone else.

I also recently learned a few things in Hawaii at the International Foundation for Employee Benefits Conference. First I spent a week in Kauai on "R & R” and watched a four-story steel stud condo going up (Kauai doesn’t allow buildings higher than the tallest Palm Tree) and saw new houses built of steel studs.

As Ron Prescott, president of AWCI’s Hawaii chapter, told us at the board meeting, Hawaii is on the go. Honolulu is dotted with construction cranes, and old buildings are making way for the new. Several of our members there say they’ll only bid on projects that start in the middle of next year. I told Barbara Kono, executive director of the Hawaii Wall and Ceilings Industry Association, that I employ two Hawaiians. She said with the labor shortages on the island that I should keep quiet about it, if I don’t want contractors crossing the Pacific to recruit them. I met with two very busy contractors, Bert Beaman of BEK, Inc. and Clyde Takatsuki of Guy’s Superior Interiors, both of whom confirmed Barbara’s warning.

While at the conference in Hawaii I attended sessions on the economic outlook, which forecast the building upswing to continue through 2006. One expert projected good times into mid-2007.

In conclusion, I can say that the first five months of my term as your president have been great. All of you have been so generous and helpful. The only drawback to this job is the deadlines I’m saddled with to put out these President’s Messages.