There’s That Word Again

Laura M. Porinchak / September 2018

Because ceiling and wall contractors and small business owners in the industry are our primary readers, our feature articles usually involve interviews with those people—the contractors. In the past we have put spotlights on outstanding projects done by AWCI member contractors, on interesting business challenges and even on “day in the life” scenarios. We have focused on parent/child/sibling relationships in family businesses, and we have focused on contractor businesses that are run well and safely.

But this month we decided to go in a different direction for some new perspectives. It is rare that we round up a group of wall and ceiling product manufacturers for an interview, but that’s exactly what we did this month. In the article that begins on page 32, we talked with AWCI Lifetime Member manufacturers about current industry trends, the future, pricing, the labor shortage, tariffs and much more. Not all the manufacturers we contacted were available for interviews, but I think you will agree that this article has good representation from major players in the industry’s major sectors (ceilings, drywall, steel, etc.).
    
I particularly enjoyed learning about how manufacturers are helping to ease the labor shortage with innovative tools and partnerships. FYI, next month we put the spotlight on the labor shortage itself; that’s something to look forward to.
    
I also couldn’t help but notice that the word “prefab” is used quite liberally again this month. If you recall (and I know you do), when we interviewed contractors in the East last month, many of them were using prefabricated materials as a way of beating the shortage of skilled manpower. I found it interesting that manufacturers are thinking along the same lines as contractors—who knew?
    
I know prefabrication and panelization have been around for a while, but it seems that that type of construction is getting more recognition these days. There is just more talk. Based on how often I am hearing about the inroads prefab is making, I think it’s safe to say you’re going to find one of our 2019 issues devoted to the subject. Do you agree? If you do, what questions would you like to have answered? What successes or failures have you experienced in the prefab arena? Let me hear from you: porinchak@awci.org.
    
Now it’s time for the suppliers to get some recognition. Actually, AWCI’s member suppliers are the reason the magazine you may now be holding in your hand is a little heftier than usual. The Buyers’ Guide that begins on page 41 is contains tons of details about the products supplied and distributed by AWCI members primarily throughout the United States and Canada. These companies are devoted AWCI partners, and we hope you will consider them first when ordering materials for your next project.
    
That’s it for now, but please do contact me regarding your prefab experiences and/or if you would like to have some input on the upcoming article on the labor shortage.    
    
In the meantime, enjoy!