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Downturn Offers Opportunities

Construction in many parts of California (my home state) and other states in the union are in a down cycle, but this slow time can be an opportunity for contractors to evaluate their businesses, best practices and make improvements to help prepare them for a reinvigorated economy. Updating your IT systems and engaging with business customers are examples of what you might want to put on your agenda during less active periods.

Consider redeploying under-utilized personnel in areas of your business where they can be most productive. We have shifted project engineers and project managers away from their work into jobs such as estimating and business development. Some of those who have technical skill sets are making improvements to estimating software. Others are assessing best practices to secure future contracts.

This might also be a time when our companies engage in value engineering with our general contractor partners, many of which are feeling the pinch as well. We can do a lot to optimize cost efficiencies and timelines to help convince owners to take the freeze off projects and get us all working.

It is difficult to predict when better times will come because of the political situation on the home front. Regardless of what party you support, it is going to be a volatile time going through the election cycle. Also factoring into the uncertainty ahead is what is happening on the world’s stage, the wars in Israel, Ukraine and the increasing volatility in other regions.

I am very confident that a strong cycle will return. For those of us who have been around a while, what we are experiencing is not new. But for a lot of young managers, this downturn is a first. It is a time to remind them that we projected these times, and reassure them that it is part of the cyclical nature of our industry.
After a busy year as the president of your association, I will be signing off soon. It has been a rewarding year and a pleasure to meet so many of you across the nation. I have learned much from you and will carry that with me as we move forward.

All the best to you, and keep up the faith.

An image of Travis Winsor.
In addition to being 2023–2024 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Travis Winsor is president and CEO of The Raymond Group, which has offices in California and Nevada.

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