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See You at Build23

For the most part, when we have interviewed AWCI’s member contractors, they are generally in agreement in answering questions about current issues in the industry. This month’s hot-button issue is manpower, and it is probably the first time in a long time that the responses were divided.


Has the cost of hiring and retaining new staff changed over the last few years? Many said yes, some said no. Have salaries or hourly rates increased over and above the cost of living? It depends on how you look at it. What other personnel-related costs have changed? It depends on whether you’re a union company or an open shop.


But all do agree on one thing: Manpower is a problem—not just on the worksite but also in the office, and it is having an effect on overhead and profit margins. Turn to page 24 to start reading more.


After that, the article on page 30 can help you avoid risks in ceiling contracts. Read it to learn about specific sources of potential risk, how to respond to risks and how to plan for no risks at all. Of course you can’t anticipate the unknown, but this quick-read article could make the difference between signing the contract or taking a pass.


Except for a possible paper cut (if you are reading our print edition) or finger sprain (from clicking your mouse if you are viewing our digital edition), there is absolutely no risk to turning to page 35 and viewing the information provided by companies that will be exhibiting at Build23: AWCI’s Convention + Expo, March 15–16 at the Paris Las Vegas hotel. Can I just tell you how excited I am about this? COVID-19 shut things down just as we were planning to attend AWCI’s 2019 annual convention and trade show, which was supposed to be in Las Vegas. I love going to Vegas, and from the looks of past attendance numbers, our members like it too. So I am very much looking forward to reconnect with the folks who I didn’t see in 2022.


I am also anxious to see what new products and services our exhibitors have to offer. I also like to see the old products demonstrated in new ways. Build23 is a new name for AWCI’s event, but following AWCI’s long tradition, Build23 remains the largest trade show in the wall and ceiling industry, and I guarantee attendees that they will not be disappointed. Whether you come for the ceilings, the trucks, the software or the networking, just make sure you’re there—if you want to keep your competitive advantage.


Finally, this month we are introducing a new column called “Safety & Health”  (page 18). Written by AWCI’s safety expert, Pete Chaney, and appearing every other month, “Safety & Health” will cover the industry’s latest news on OSHA rulings and standards, AWCI’s safety program and much more, all with an eye toward helping our members and readers send all their workers home safe every workday.


Last month we also said good-bye to Bob Grupe, who had been writing our “Wachuwannano” column (now called “Codes & Standards”) for several years. His insights and inspiration will be missed, but I have no doubt that Bob has already moved on to bigger and better things. Best of luck to Bob in his new chapter!


See you in Vegas next month!

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