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Working Through COVID-19 and Moving On

As I begin my tenure as president of AWCI for the 2020–2021 year I am excited to provide you with my first monthly update. I will say though, it is not exactly how I imagined things would look. The first part of this year has been extremely odd. We have faced civil unrest and a worldwide pandemic that has not only affected the construction industry but the world economic outlook.


At this time last year, the AWCI executive committee was meeting to begin the process of finding a new CEO as AWCI’s CEO was retiring after 24 years of service. Our outlook for the future looked very promising. We have experienced some great years in our industry, and the association has certainly benefited from this growth.


But no one expected COVID-19. We have had to cancel the annual convention and trade show and are now repositioning ourselves to guarantee the long-term survival and growth of our association and its members. We plan to accomplish this by working with our members to offer a variety of educational programs that are designed to assist them in weathering the storm. We all need to work together to make sure that we not only survive these challenging times but come out the other side positioned for success and growth. Make sure to check out the video, “The Field’s Best Practices for Fighting COVID-19,” on AWCI’s COVID-19 Resource Center. Also, be sure to stay current on the information continuously updated on the site.


While there have been events and other opportunities that we all missed out on this year, we want everyone to know, these will be back in the future. Things will eventually return to somewhat normal times, and we will all be able to get together again soon. We were hopeful that AWCI's Industry Leaders Conference would go ahead in Boston this fall, but safety comes first. AWCI is now committed to creating a “virtual” conference that will deliver engaging, educational and valuable information to all participants. AWCI’s Convention & INTEX Expo will be held in New Orleans, April 10–14, 2021, and I hope everyone looks forward to the show as an opportunity to reconnect with everyone they missed this year.


I also want to recognize the work of our CEO, Mike Stark, and the entire AWCI staff through these challenging times. This certainly has not been an easy period to step into a new position and navigate the association. Mike has done a great job leading the association and making some difficult decisions that turned out for the best. Even though the staff has been working from home during these times, they have been able to adapt and learn new ways of doing things that have been very beneficial for collaboration that they will continue to utilize moving forward. We will continue the strong partnerships among the staff, board of directors and our membership as a whole, which will continue the advancement of our industry and the association.

In addition to being 2020–2021 president of the Association of the Wall and Ceiling Industry, Chip McAlpin is division president of the Jackson, Miss., and Louisiana offices of F.L. Crane & Sons.

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