Learn from Others

Jerry Smith / August 2018

I have been involved with the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry for more than 30 years, and I cannot begin to tell you how important it has been to my career and our business. I can assure you that 30 years ago I did not see myself holding this prestigious position. However, after participating in numerous committees, educational sessions and attending many conventions, it started to make sense. I realized how important AWCI is to members and the positive impact it has on our industry.
    
One of the most important things I have learned is that taking an active role is the route to reaping rewards from this organization. The more you participate, the more you gain knowledge of our industry through meetings with peers, manufacturers and suppliers. The mission statement of the AWCI is to help its member companies build successful businesses, and I truly believe that being an active member will help you meet that end.
    
A pressing issue that is affecting many members across the country is the skilled manpower shortage. I think most of you are experiencing a manpower crunch. Here in Texas, qualified labor is nearly nonexistent. That greatly impacts our bottom line; it is so difficult to find qualified employees that we are forced to turn work away. Sound familiar? I am eager to discuss this situation with fellow members across the country. What are other companies doing to address the growing skilled labor shortage?
    
One thing you can do is read the two great reports published by the Foundation of the Wall and Ceiling Industry titled “Immigration: A Solution to Workforce Shortages” and “Attracting Young People Into Construction Field Positions.” You can access these resources on the AWCI website.
    
We can all learn from each others’ experiences, and I look forward to sharing this type of valuable information with all of our members.
    
In the meantime, I again would like to thank AWCI Immediate Past President Ed Sellers for his leadership over the past year. Now that I am in that chair, I see how meaningful this job can be.

In addition to being 2018–2019 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Smith is president of Baker Drywall Austin, Ltd.