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What Page Are We On?

Over the past several months I have attended our Texas and Florida chapters’ annual conventions, an executive committee meeting in New York, and I was in St. Louis representing AWCI at the ASTM and AWCI’s Steel Framing Industry Council. It has been a pleasure meeting many of our members and other industry associates through these travels. More importantly, it has been a great benefit for me, giving me a better feel for the construction trends in other regions, and it has given me opportunity to discuss how some of our fellow contractors, distributors and manufacturers are dealing with the current economic climate.

What is “this” climate, and what is in store for the future? I have been reading a myriad of construction economic reports—this area is down, another sector is up; certain indicators in the area say good things while other sector numbers are indicate something else. According to the American Institute of Architects’ latest semi-annual Consensus Construction Forecast, the turn for the better is predicted to be in mid 2011. In a recent poll taken of AWCI members via our monthly e-newsletter, the majority of respondents indicated things are going to get better by next summer.

While our poll and some forecasts predict a “recovery,” these roller coaster trends of post period construction economic reports along with the general unemployment rate hovering around 10 percent for over a year now as our leaders in Washington continue to tout on all the new jobs being created, sure make it difficult to plan on when.

I got some insight on my recent trips about how others are managing their businesses to ride through these troughs. Many companies are operating in line with our company as well as 10 of your fellow members interviewed in this month’s article on page 48, Keeping the Ship Afloat. They too have shown some sound logic in their approach, and I am sure you will find their words encouraging, as I did.

If you participate in industry events, you know that, AWCI member companies are the cream of the crop in the wall and ceiling industry, and unlike all the contradictory forecasts and conflicting results we have been getting, all seem to be on the same page in getting through it.

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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