Happy Days?

Laura M. Porinchak / May 2017

One of the benefits of belonging to the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry is a list of new job leads in the United States and Canada sent to all members every month. It is part of our monthly e-newsletter, which also provides AWCI news and industry news. Because the newsletter is electronic, we can go “behind the scenes” and check to see which stories receive the most hits.
    
In the years that we now call the Great Recession, the new job leads consistently received more clicks than any other story by far. But now times are changing for the better, and it shows. In the mid-April e-newsletter, a story about attendance at AWCI’s Convention received three times as many clicks as did the job-leads story. Are your backlogs so full that you don’t even look to see what’s out there anymore? Or maybe you are worried you don’t have enough manpower to finish the jobs you’ve got, let alone take on new ones.
    
Another “barometer reading” of the health of our industry can be seen in attendance at AWCI’s events. As you will see when you visit AWCI on the Job (page 10), attendance at AWCI’s annual convention at the end of March was the highest it has been in nine years. The number of booths sold for the Intex Expo also was a higher number than we’ve seen in recent years.
    
Another measure of industry activity is AWCI’s awards program for construction quality. When business is good, nominations are plentiful. When business is bad, nominations are few. I assume that’s because when business is bad, you don’t have any “good” projects to nominate. But when the recession is over and it’s 2016 (nominations for AWCI’s construction awards were due in August 2016), you nominate as many projects as many times as possible. In this year’s program, the number of nominations we received for just the construction quality award outnumbered the combined number of nominations we received in the previous year for the construction quality, safety and innovation awards.
    
Those are just three ways we can look at the state of the industry and determine that life is good—or at least better than it was in 2008, 2009, 2010 …  You can see just how good it is for our award winners. From AWCI’s most prestigious honor to awards for safety, quality and innovation in construction, it all starts on page 36.
    
What about the state of our country? Are business owners in the wall and ceiling business happy with the way things are going with our elected officials? As the Trump administration approached the 100-days-in-office mark, we asked AWCI member contractors how well the new leaders are doing. Contractors talk about their business and the industry as a whole, and you’ll have to go to page 32 to find out what they said.
    
Finally, it has been a while since we asked about your rules for allowing (or not allowing) radios on the job site, so we asked again in this month’s Problem Solved (page 56). We asked a similar question about jobsite radios in 2013, and at that time, 60 percent of our respondents were OK with music on the job while 22 percent said radios may be played with certain conditions. But times have changed. It looks like we’re all really getting back to business. Happy days may be here again, but in most cases they’re not accompanied by any kind of musical soundtrack on the job site.