Prepare for the unexpected
Since I have started to feel entrenched in the industry, I have shied away from using data from industry reports in my monthly editorials.
While these reports are interesting and important, my conversations with industry contacts and reporting at events became my muse for topics in this space.
Then there are times when a report finds its way to my inbox and it has to be shared. And that is the case with the CMD Group’s September 2015 Construction Industry Snapshot that reveals some disappointing and startling numbers, including:
• A 62.1% drop in heavy engineering projects (i.e. airports, dam/marine), which includes a 51.3% decrease in water/sewage projects from July 2015 to August 2015;
• Commercial project starts are down 12.9% from August 2014 to August this year; and
• Institutional projects (i.e. hospitals, military, religious buildings) are down 12.7% from August 2014 to this year.
I am not a person who panics easily, but these numbers are disappointing to see. Yet, all the overall industry projections and discussions I have do not show or express any impending doom. That said, now would be a smart time to double-check your company’s projections for the coming year to ensure you are set and will not be surprised by a downturn.
As you are well aware, we are on the cusp of an election year. I expect this cycle of the race for the White House to be the nuttiest one I have experienced since I became a voter in 2000. An argument can be made that it already is with The Donald being a front-runner and Hilary Clinton’s ongoing questions about her emails while she was Secretary of State.
As much as many of us try to ignore it, Washington politics eventually affects our industry. While I am not advocating everyone become a politics wonk, it doesn’t hurt to keep a watchful eye on what may transpire inside the Beltway.
And now some thoughts on a positive industry event that transpired in September. I attended the Hydronics Institute’s Centennial celebration at the Seaview Golf Course and Resort in Galloway, N.J. For a full report on the event, please read the story in this month’s issue.
At these industry events, especially ones where I only know a handful of people, I always scan the name badges of attendees keeping an eye on where people call home. I have been to many of these regions in my travels and it is a way to kickstart a conversation. At HI’s event, it became clear very early the majority of attendees hail from the Northeast, which makes sense since that is where the bulk of hydronics business is conducted.
In addition, many of the people that were shaking hands and sharing laughs — even a round of golf during the second day of the event – are industry competitors. While the Centennial event was a time to celebrate, these competitors stand side-by-side for the good of the industry when HI gets to work on projects such as lobbying government agencies regarding regulations.
It was a welcome sight to see as the summer officially drew to a close.
The calendar officially reads fall and the industry’s final push for 2015 has arrived. Here’s to more cohesion as a collective unit.