Bring Out the Best in Changing Times

Shawn Burnum / February 2022

Things certainly are not static in the world today. My question is: Are today’s changes making us a better community, or fracturing us as a society? My answer: It depends. What can we do to influence the best in our changing society?
    
We all see it. Look how much COVID-19 has changed our lives and how we interact with each other. Look how technology advances and benefits us in so many ways while pushing people further apart. In construction, we see how information sharing has transferred risk to trade partners and away from the design community, changing traditional roles and responsibilities.
    
We see quick technological leaps—vaccines were distributed in less than a year. The way we absorb information has evolved and is virtually “real-time.” Technology  such as BIM is changing the way we build and making construction better. Technological advancements and changes in our mindset have made the health and wellness of our people a top priority; we are safer today than yesterday as an industry.
    
We have a responsibility as leaders to be open to new ideas while safeguarding against the pitfalls. Change is difficult, and our society is stressed over factors beyond our control. How we act and lead our teams through these times will be the judge of our character.
    
AWCI has members from all walks of life, all ages, different geographies, etc. We certainly have commonality but the things that usually drive people apart are not the common themes but what makes us different. As “change agents,” we should do our best to accept other points of view and look for things that make us better, not tear us apart. We can decide to treat people who have opposing views with respect while still being true to our convictions.
    
Our industry will continue to evolve as highlighted in themes in this issue of AWCI’s Construction Dimensions. We will explore how our industry and market segments have changed with time. In my own experience, we have moved away from traditional retail centers to building more data or distribution centers. Healthcare and life science will continue to change as new technology, medical advancement and pharmaceutical manufacturing comes state-side.
    
These are exciting times, but they come with an obligation to quickly embrace change. AWCI evolves to remain current and provide value to our members. We are listening closely and doing our best to react to members’ needs. We are the gathering place for new ideas and conversations about the future. I hope you join us in these discussions and provide your insight. All voices are welcome.

Shawn Burnum is the 2021–2022 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry and vice president of operations at Performance Contracting, Inc. in Lenexa, Kan.