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Wild Ride Ahead

The battle lines are drawn. The right versus the left. Conservatives versus Progressives. Big government versus small government, capitalism versus socialism. More regulation, less regulation, tea party versus coffee party. Frame it any way you want, but at the end of the day let’s not lose sight of the fact that we are all Americans.

As history has shown, many battles are won and lost before a final victor emerges. We must retreat, regroup and re-engage another day. That day will come as we approach the mid-term elections this fall. Whether you are for or against the current healthcare legislation, one thing is for certain: This country does need health care reform, and we just differ on how to go about getting it.

The Fifteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution ratified Feb. 3, 1870, reads, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on the account of race, color or previous condition of servitude.” No matter what your race, your religion, your age or whether you are a union contractor or a non-union contractor, stand up and let your voice be heard. United we stand because that is the American way.

As I wind down my term as AWCI president, I would like to share the experiences and concerns I have received visiting our chapters’ members all across the country. Projects that were “shovel ready” before the economic collapse are slowly coming back to life. Unfortunately, projects that may have once been alive and kicking are now often scaled down from original designs. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is competing for this work just to stay alive. The opportunities have diminished to historic levels.

The supply of contractors vying for business exceeds the demand for construction in our respective markets. Healthcare, public schools and government-backed stimulus money seem to be a few bright spots in our industry. If you are familiar with these markets, then you know the slugfest that exists to compete. More often than not, the one who makes the biggest mistake gets the honor of dealing with the bean-counting understaffed and inexperienced project managers in the government sector. All is fair in love and war, so rock on, friends and colleagues, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

On a final note, I would like to pay acknowledgement to Nancy Roylance, AWCI’s director of education and certification programs. After 12 years of greatly contributing to the betterment of the industry, she is now focusing her attention on family. I want to thank Nancy for all that she has done in her time with AWCI and wish her the best of luck.

In addition to being the 2009–2010 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Weber is president of Island Acoustics LLC in Bohemia, N.Y.

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