This issue puts the spotlight on management and managing, but more specifically, the article on page 32 focuses on the labor shortage’s effect on the way we are managing our jobs and offices. It seems that you can never go back to the way things were. Your backlogs may have been slowly improving over the last few years (months?), but you simply cannot manage your business today the way you did eight years ago. Everything from technology to attitudes have changed or are changing, and you must look forward and embrace those changes if you want to keep moving forward.
When we interviewed AWCI member contractors for this article, many of them told us that the current labor shortage stems from the elephant in the room that continues to stay there: Construction simply isn’t attractive or sexy. Our industry has a labor shortage, and it’s complicated by the fact that young people aren’t attracted to construction. We’re fighting competition from other industries that, at least on the surface, appear to offer more than construction. More benefits. More money. More air-conditioning. “They just don’t make them like they used to” and “It’s hard to find good help these days” go hand in hand.
The interviewed contractors offer tips for success in hiring as well as advice for dealing with the current pool of available applicants. And once you find the right match, what are you going to do to make sure he or she stays and grows with your company? You’ll have to read the article to find out.
Also make sure to give a look to the article that starts on page 46. This wrap-up of the regional reports given by AWCI’s board members during their April meeting will give you a great perspective on how the wall and ceiling industry is doing across the globe. And surprisingly, not everyone is experiencing a labor shortage—yet.
You should know that the situation in Puerto Rico has changed since AWCI’s April meeting. Things were looking bleak for the territory when the board met, and just as this magazine was going to press, they got even worse when the U.S. Supreme Court voted that Puerto Rico can’t restructure its $72 billion in debt or file for bankruptcy. Without help from Congress, the island is likely to fall head first into a financial crisis. We will continue to monitor this situation.
I’m writing this on my 23rd anniversary with AWCI, and I have to say that I can’t remember a time when AWCI members gathered and there wasn’t someone in attendance from Liddle Bros. Contractors Inc. In business since 1941 and a member of AWCI since 1945, the Nashville, Tenn., wall and ceiling contractor has given AWCI its 2016–2017 president, Mike Taylor. Mike is the son-in-law of Leonard Liddle and executive vice president of Liddle Bros., and he has been participating in AWCI events and on committees for as long as I can remember.
The article that begins on page 42 will tell you all about him, his industry outlook and his plans for AWCI’s bright future.