Shaping a New Year

AWCI Contractor Members Look Ahead to the New Year and Share Their Wishes and Resolutions

David C Phillips / January 2022

Suddenly 2022 is upon us.
    
A new year brings the hope of a new start. The last year has certainly been an eventful one for the United States and for the nation’s construction industry. As the holidays wind down and early January ushers in a new year, most of us are looking ahead. It’s a time for making wishes for the future: our own personal futures, the futures of our families, the future of our companies, industry, nation. For many, it’s also a time of making resolutions to have a better year, to strengthen what has been good about the last one and to remedy what has not. Sometimes we keep these resolutions and make significant changes. Sometimes it’s not as dramatic. The resolutions are a sign of a firm intention to make things better.
    
With all this in mind, we asked AWCI member contractors to share with us their wishes and resolutions for 2022, personal or with regard to their companies. We promised to quote them fully but not to attribute any of the quotes to specific names, so they could express themselves freely. We have included a sidebar with the names of those who shared their wishes and resolutions, but the reader just won’t know who was responsible for which.

Wishes
Here are some of the responses, faithfully relayed.
    
“My wish for the coming year is a bit selfish,” said one respondent. “I would hope to sell my company and retire during 2022! I’ve had 47 great years at this and I love what I do and the friendships I’ve made, but would like to pass on the reins. Stay tuned!”
    
Here’s one response from a wise AWCI member who also has a sense of humor: “As a specialty contractor, for 2022 I wish for patience and wisdom—patience to handle the never-ending avalanche of additions to bidding documents and the ever-growing ‘supplemental’ site conditions. Wisdom to interpret the architect’s design intent and effectively communicate to my vendors the details and scope—‘whether shown or not in the documents’ (as stipulated in contract language).”
    
“Everything that has taken place over the last few years has been a bit like living in the Twilight Zone,” was the introduction to another’s wish for 2022. “So, to keep it direct and to the point, I would like 2022 to be the definition of incredible. We all need this in our business as well as in our personal lives, whether it’s good fortune or simply tasting the simple pleasures in life.”
    
The president of another company had three wishes he wanted to share: “A new and good estimator is my number-one wish! Number two is a bottle of 15-year old Redbreast®. Number three is my office staff to know how much I appreciate them.”
    
In some cases, the wishes were the result of a major change. For example: “The sale of our company will be complete in late December. My wish is that under new ownership, they have as successful a 30 years as my brother and I had!”
    
In several cases, the wishes were very much centered on the needs of the company and the industry. “My wish is for continued growth in demand for our off-site construction capabilities in the markets we cover for the Southeastern United States,” says a senior executive of one company. “In three years, we made a strong effort to communicate our capabilities to our customers and clients along with educating them on how the many benefits can positively impact each entity on the project team. We see our scope of work utilizing these off-site construction services as the future of the construction industry in the hospitality, multifamily, assisted living, student housing and healthcare sectors. Our goal is to continue to push these services for the right projects while continuing to find more innovative ways to add to our off-site construction capabilities.”
    
And another wish for specific improvements in the company as expressed by its president: “My number-one wish for 2022 is to increase the revenue for our stretch-fabric line. We were new to installing fabric in 2018 and started a marketing campaign in early 2020. [The coronavirus] put a pause on our marketing until November 2021. We are now getting interest in the product.”
    
A division manager in a large company said, “Our number-one wish for 2022 is the same wish as in years past: zero accidents and incidents on all of our job sites, so all employees can return home safely to their families.”
    
For one respondent, the wish centers around labor. “My number-one wish is that we solve this immigration mess and actually know when we hire our workers that they are legal. Plus, stop all the exploitation by my competitors who pay in cash or use crooked labor brokers.”

Some wishes bear directly on the recent events that have affected the last two years so deeply, such as this one from a regular contributor to our articles: “My number-one wish for our business in 2022 is to get back to some type of normality, as we had prior to the COVID-19 breakout. I live on the borderline between two counties in California. One county requires


Thank You!

We thank the following for their much appreciated contributions to this article:

Alan Alfano Jr., Marek, Texas

Roger Olson, Sig Olson and Sons Plastering Inc., Minnesota

Gabriel Castillo, Pillar Construction, Inc., Virginia

Adam Barbee, Daley’s Drywall, California

Jerry Reicks Jr., JARCO Builders Ltd., Iowa

Gilly Turgeon, Green Mountain Drywall, Vermont

Jim McCullough, F.L. Crane & Sons, Mississippi

Dave DeHorn, Brady Company/Los Angeles, Inc., California

Stan Marek, Marek, Texas

Mike Mazzone, Statewide General Contracting & Construction, Inc. (SGCC), Hawaii

Rick Wagner, Richard Wagner Enterprises, LLC, North Carolina



masks in public spaces while the other county only requires masks if you have not been vaccinated. I was running errands last weekend and it was bothersome to use a mask in one store but not have to use a mask in another when crossing the county line. Our business is similar. Everyone has to check in in the morning and have their temperature taken and recorded. If you are not vaccinated, you must wear a mask inside the office at all times. I think we all forget how good we had it before the pandemic. Hopefully we can return back to normal in 2022.”
    
This was not the only person who expressed this wish. Here is a similar one: “Our number-one wish for 2022 would be a hope to return to a normal social environment and that this would permeate into the business world. And maybe those in business would realize that our social values in America do affect our business operations and earnings.”
    
For everyone’s sake, we share the wish for a return to pre-COVID normality. We didn’t realize then how fortunate we were!

Resolutions
Does the fact that resolutions are often hard to keep make it any less valid to make them? As you will see from the ones we quote below, they state a firm intention to accomplish something or change something, and that is a key factor behind any success in life.
    
Some of the resolutions shared are of a personal nature. “I would resolve to lose some weight, get closer to my kids and grandkids, and try to put to rest some of the hostility that seems to have infiltrated our everyday life this past couple of years, even within families,” says the president of one AWCI member company. “Hopefully we see a return to the normal societal give-and-take as the new year progresses.” As expressed earlier, what happens in our social life has a ripple effect on business and the world in general.
    
And another company president says, “My resolution is definitely to get off my butt and exercise more. If that means more golf, so be it—it also means a winter trip for us boys!”
    
The veteran company president who is selling his company says his resolution is “to be as healthy as possible so I can enjoy the rest of my days on this earth with grandkid-to-be. I will be a grandfather around the end of June 2022!”
    
Another shared resolution from one of our always positive members, is one that can easily gain support and agreement: “To go further and farther than before. We all have journeys each and every day through our personal and business life. And from this we gather life’s experiences of knowledge. We need to take that in and absorb it to project us forward, regardless of the obstacles and trials. To go further and farther than before means understanding what we gain each and every day to fuel our forward momentum. And yes, we’ll most definitely keep it! Forward we go.”
    
“My resolutions for the new year are based on the serenity prayer,” says our philosophical and witty respondent. “In 2022, I resolve to accept what I cannot change: my client’s  procurement procedures and the price of the materials and services when we are actually placing the orders. I resolve to have the courage to commit to lump sum contracts with 100% uncertainty on actual labor costs, the volatility of the commodities’ prices, and unknown freight costs and delivery times. And to look for the wisdom to identify the moments to collaborate with my team and colleagues, to learn and teach best practices and to inculcate common sense.”
    
Some resolutions, as with the wishes earlier, are very much focused on the success of the individual’s company. For example, “Focused efforts in the development of all of our people as it relates to increased leadership qualities, field production and safety awareness. All three of these areas touch every employee we have and can have significant impacts on the overall performance for us in 2022.”
    
“Much of our success depends on our creative ability to navigate the competitive landscape,” was one answer we received. “A solid resolution for 2022 for our team is to be more creative on both the labor and material side of things.”
    
One CEO stated that his resolution for 2022 would be to continue to support his social media platform, which focuses on the effects of immigration law on construction. “We have had 5 million views,” he says, “and they are growing daily. … Also please take a look at the book I co-authored with Loren Steffy entitled ‘Deconstructed.’ Available on Amazon. It tells the story of our drywall industry in the South.” This comes from an AWCI member who has long been concerned with the subject of immigration as it affects the work force and has contributed to AWCI’s Construction Dimensions magazine on it.
    
“Take a stand for what is right, no matter the cost!” says one business owner.
    
Then there are some who don’t particularly make New Year’s resolutions. But that does not mean they are not resolved!
    
“I am not big on making new year’s resolutions,” says one. “First thing is they rarely ever stick. Second thing is you should just try to do the right thing without having it be Jan. 1, 2022, to start doing something.”
    
And another, “I don’t do New Year’s resolutions. I have 365 days of resolutions.”
    
We hope you have enjoyed reading the wishes and resolutions that our contractor members have shared with us as much as we have in putting this article together. Maybe they have provided some inspiration. It’s a very positive and fun start to a year that we certainly hope will be a wonderful one for all of you.

David C Phillips, a freelance writer and photographer, is an original founding partner at Words & Images.