Face the Strange

Laura M. Porinchak / June 2021

Ch-ch-ch-ch-changes. (Turn and face the strange.)—David Bowie

I have seen many changes in my lifetime, and perhaps one of the best and most valuable is seeing how the roles of women and people of other cultures have evolved. Lucy and Ricky, Laura and Rob and many others couldn’t be shown on television sleeping in the same bed in the 1950s and 1960s. Then came Mary Tyler Moore, Diahann Carroll and Marlo Thomas portraying businesswomen in the 1970s. Although the progress has been slow, the list goes on. Today there is much talk about the “woke” culture we live in. Currently under fire are the Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Grammy Awards for their lack of diversity. Gender no longer refers only to males and females, and age almost doesn’t matter anymore. Our melting pot now acknowledges many more ingredients.
    
Along those lines, the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry’s board of directors recently adopted a new diversity and inclusion policy that extends beyond the walls of AWCI’s headquarters building and into the industry. You can read all about it by turning to page 44. You’ll also see that page 44 is just one of several pages that address this topic. Anti-harassment and anti-discrimination policies are discussed along with many other related subjects in the article that begins on page 40. Here you will find suggestions for having difficult conversations with employees, how to reduce tension and how to avoid potential litigation. This is an article that I’m sure all our readers will find useful.
    
Prior to the above-mentioned article is our tribute to the winners of AWCI’s Excellence in Construction Quality and Innovation Awards. Yes, the last year has been a test, but building continued in our essential industry, and pages 32 through 39 highlight some of the challenges faced and met by AWCI members. As always, our members do great work and make us all proud. Good job, everyone, and congratulations to the winners!
    
Our first feature (page 26) takes a hard look at the effects of the pandemic on contractors’ safety policies and procedures. We asked AWCI member contractors for their thoughts on what changes had to be made to protect staff, and, more importantly, which of those changes will remain with us long after the crisis is over. Will we still be keeping our distance and wearing masks? How has interviewing and training been permanently changed? Are new sanitizing measures destined to become standard operating procedures? You’ll have to read the article to find out what our contractors anticipate.
    
As if a pandemic weren’t enough to deal with, contractors are also now trying to figure out how to operate effectively in a time when material prices are climbing and supplies are becoming scarce. Make sure you have a look at Construction Trends, which starts on page 8, to learn about the current situation and what’s ahead. Among the other articles in this section is one that addresses passwords that are worrisome to security experts, and another about how the online searches for house plans have changed as a result of COVID-19.
    
Stay safe!