Happy New Year! Welcome to 2010. What’s that? The calendar says 2009?

Happy New Year! Welcome to 2010.

What’s that? The calendar says 2009? Actually, that’s good news to someone who can’t afford to skip a year.

Talking with some plumbing manufacturers at the ASPE show in October and since, I’ve been startled by the number who apparently want to skip 2009 and go straight to 2010. Typical conversations begin with me asking about business conditions and when they will improve.

I get replies about a deepening recession and tightening credit leading to a slowdown in commercial, industrial and institutional construction. The most optimistic people in this group expect their business to tread water this year without a real turnaround occurring until 2010.

According to the rules and the calendar, though, we’re not allowed to skip a year. Fortunately, I’ve spoken with others who understand this. They agree that 2009 will be tough, but they’re prepared to make the most of it.

One person told me he is determined to work harder than ever this year. He’s ready to scrape for every job he can find.

Another said he sees opportunities in the sluggish market. He will work on increasing his company’s market share at the expense of his competitors.

Here are three examples of opportunities for you: existing buildings, green construction and our nation’s infrastructure.

Existing buildings will make up as much as 50% of construction in the commercial and industrial sectors by 2010, according to one forecast I heard recently. Even if overall nonresidential new construction slows down in 2009 as expected, buildings already in place will demand attention.

These same existing buildings will provide a wealth of green construction projects. The green building movement is transforming the nation’s existing buildings with mechanical and plumbing systems representing much of the required work.

The nation’s infrastructure, including sewer and water systems, is demanding attention. The new administration in Washington has pledged to spend federal dollars to fix our infrastructure after years of neglect.

Of the people I’ve spoken with in recent months, I choose to side with those who see the opportunities in the new year, or are willing to look for them. Atpme, we’re committed to making the most of 2009 - as evidenced by our new identity and look, which serve a couple purposes.

First, our updated design does a better job of differentiatingpmefrom other magazines you may receive. Second, we want to provide a brighter, easier-to-read format for you to find the information you need to take advantage of the opportunities this year.

In the coming months, we’ll publish more articles about green building and other trends. We’ll introduce new sections that help keep you up to date with what’s happening in the market.

We welcome your feedback and suggestions, as always. Our pledge to be your must-read resource for engineering excellence will allow us to explore together the opportunities for you in 2009 and beyond.