Innovation Report

Laura M. Porinchak / November 2015

I have been told that people give an eye-roll when they hear the phrase “the new normal” because it’s overused and doesn’t have much meaning anymore. Things change so much, the new normal is every day! We covered the new-normal topic in last month’s issue, but this month we continue the theme of change by exploring innovation.
    
Our feature article that begins on page 32 includes interviews with ceiling and wall contractors who grade various segments of the industry, from technology to framing and tools. Overall, the industry gets a passing grade, but some areas teeter on failure in the eyes of these contractors.
    
This article also explores when it may or may not be worth your time to jump on the bandwagon when a new innovation hits the market. Are you and your company at the forefront, or are you playing catch-up?
    
The next feature is written by our “Management Desk” columnist, Doug Bellamy, who also happens to be a contractor. His story on page 38 tells you how to protect yourself when you encounter one-sided contracts or projects that favor the general contractor. Doug has been successful in his dealings with irresponsible, unscrupulous GCs—he dares to also say he has come out prosperous in the end. Read the article to find out how it’s done.
    
Finally, AWCI’s fall conference wrapped up last month, and now we are gearing up for AWCI’s Convention in April in New Orleans. It seems like a good time to have an article that helps you improve your networking skills when you attend a conference or convention. The article, which begins on page 44, is called “15 Proven Tips to Help You Make Career-Enhancing Connections at Your Next Conference.” It includes pointers that even the shyest attendee can employ such as making the most of the conference app and making sure you never eat alone. Even your name badge can open doors you wouldn’t expect.

Be sure to also take a look at our columns. Doug continues his letters series in “Management Desk” (page 18), Norb Slowikowski continues his series on project management in “SuperVision” (page 19), and Vince Bailey continues to entertain estimators with the second part of his series on architects versus engineers in “Estimator’s Edge” (page 21). Mark L. Johnson’s “InSync” (page 22) continues our innovation focus with an inside look at Integrated Project Delivery, thanks to Tim Wies of T.J. Wies Contracting, Inc., Lake St. Louis, Mo. Let’s not forget our new technical expert, Robert Grupe, who goes behind the wall and straight to the steel stud in “Wachuwannano” on page 25.

As the year begins to come to a close and holidays approaching, let me take a moment to thank you all again for reading our magazine. I take all of your comments very seriously, and I hope you will always feel free to contact me if you have anything to say about our products. We are working on new things for next year, and it is my hope that our communications will improve even more once things are revealed. (Innovation! Change!) I’m also eager to get your impressions once you know what I’m talking about. So have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday, and keep in touch!