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Lessons Learned

They say you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Some of our readers probably felt that way last month when Doug Bellamy wrapped up his 24-part series in our Management Desk column. (Did you like the end? Did you see it coming? I sure didn’t.) But fear not, loyal readers; Doug is starting another series this month. Turn to page 16 to see the latest subject matter on his menu, and visit to read current and past articles from Doug in our magazine archives.

Some of us also didn’t realize how good we had it in 2007–2008 until everything started crashing around us. The notion of a seven-year economic cycle—seven years up, seven down—was tossed out on its ear. Who could have guessed how quickly the fall would happen and how long it would last? A lot of contractors didn’t see it coming until it was too late. Lessons were learned.


That’s the subject of the article you’ll find on page 32. We asked AWCI member contractors what they learned about running a business during a recession, and surprisingly, many of them are in agreement that they should have acted sooner with whatever strategy they wanted or needed to implement to stay afloat and keep the front doors open, from war chests to cutbacks. Some also stressed the importance of having a good banker, a good lawyer, a good accountant—you get the picture. You know it’s not easy running a business, and you know you can’t do it alone. Hopefully this article will help you prepare for the next downward cycle, and the lessons learned can and will be applied during future “rainy days.”

This is also our annual buyers’ guide issue, which begins on page 41. This is the manufacturer edition; next month will focus on suppliers. Based on MasterFormat®, the products listed are those used most in the wall and ceiling industry. Keep this issue as well as next month’s close by as you will hopefully use them as reference tools throughout the year.

Finally, I want to again encourage you to visit AWCI’s website,, and not just for the media section. The section on annual events has updated information on AWCI’s fall conference next month, AWCI’s learning academy in the winter and AWCI’s convention in the spring. We’ve also introduced a new technology section that covers everything you’ve always wanted to know about wall systems, and more than 75 people have already taken (and passed!) our online education program for project managers. The Foundation of the Wall and Ceiling Industry and AWCI CARES also have sections on the website. And don’t forget to enter our scavenger hunt contest ( for a chance to win a Home Depot gift card.


The site also includes links to other major industry trade associations, so let be your one-stop resource for industry information. Enjoy!

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