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Dealing with Hard Times

Since AWCI’s Convention in April when the Gulf oil crisis began, there has been much finger-pointing as to who is ultimately responsible for this catastrophe and the ineffective cleanup efforts. It seems to me that there have been multiple breakdowns to this tragedy, not unlike events in other industries when poor training, education and decision-making result in bad situations. As time goes by there will continue to be many misperceptions about the well failure in the Gulf. An editorial in the July issue of a national engineering publication put the entire blame of the spill on its own charter engineers.

How can you help your company avoid major problems? You can help by attending important education and training initiatives such as AWCI’s EIFS—Doing It Right program, which serves members and the entire construction industry. Through AWCI’s program, mechanics, managers, design professionals and inspectors are trained in a system and its application.

AWCI, in turn, enhanced this effort by forming an insurance company so our contractors could continue to perform the work, and today EIFS is again a preferred, energy efficient cladding for buildings and is poised to play a major role in our country’s energy independence. To further strengthen our position in the industry, we now offer four other trades to the Doing It Right education series, and numerous periodic programs on how to operate a successful business.

Times are tough, and we are all tightening our belts for better times down the road, but why not continue to spend on education in these times, to invest in employees? What better way is there to show employees they are valued than by offering the education they need? Starting Sept. 29, many such opportunities will be presented at AWCI’s Industry Executives’ Conference & Committee Week in Tucson, Ariz. The week will also provide invaluable networking opportunities. As always, we have several relationship-building events scheduled, including the Foundation Golf Tournament, back after a one-year hiatus, and an event that Cassie and I are both looking forward to: a Western cattle drive in the Sonoran Desert.

Following up in October we will be offering Doing It Right seminars for EIFS and stucco in Washington, D.C. To keep up on hot issues and what AWCI is doing for you, please check out last month’s Wachuwannano online at, regarding stucco walls and the International Energy Conservation Code, or this month’s edition (page 26), which brings you up-to-date on the EPA’s new rules regarding lead paint.

In addition to being the 2010–2011 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Allen is vice president of Compass Construction in Columbus, Ohio.

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