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SWOT Away the Blues

As we go into the first months of 2019, I wonder how everyone is doing when it comes to setting goals and expectations for the new year. One key tool that has been instrumental for us at Baker Triangle is our SWOT questionnaire, which we send to all of our field and office personnel. We ask employees to give us five strengths, five weaknesses, five opportunities and five threats to our company.


I was amazed that the majority of our employees gave the same responses for each of the five categories. Their top response for the company’s strength is a solid, experienced field and management team, while our greatest weakness is an aging field and management team. Our biggest opportunity is in a strong market with plenty of potential for growth, though that is hampered by our greatest threat: a lack of qualified and experienced workforce.


After identifying these top four, we are tasked with creating a game plan. We must figure out how to use our strengths, reduce our weaknesses, take full advantage of the available opportunities in a strong construction market, and deal with the threat of labor shortages.

I can assure you that we do not have all the answers, but the SWOT process has been a beneficial part of our 2019 planning. It has encouraged us to figure out different means and methods to build our strengths and opportunities while trying to address our weaknesses and the threats we face.


On another note, Steve Etkin and I recently attended the Drywall & Interior Systems Contractors Association annual dinner and awards event in New Jersey. It was an honor to be there and to speak on behalf of AWCI. This fantastic event was well attended, very upbeat and festive. The featured projects definitely deserved the awards given. I hope to see these projects entered into the national AWCI awards program ( and see them again during our convention at Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md., April 22–26.


In addition to being 2018–2019 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Jerry Smith is president of Baker Drywall Austin, Ltd.

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