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Ed-Sauter-1We are emerging from the worst recession this country has experienced in my lifetime (I’m getting old but wasn’t around for the 1930’s) and construction is approaching levels not seen in at least 5 years.   Nearly everyone is optimistic about the future, although I would call it cautious optimism.   Operations were cut to the bare bones as the recession deepened and most companies are still operating very lean, cautious about taking on too much overhead until they are certain (that is a relative term) that we are headed into a period of extended recovery.

We see the signs in our conversations with members.  Contractors in nearly every region are reporting improvements in almost every sector of construction.  One even reported to us that they will have their best tilt-up year ever in 2013.  We see the optimism as an Association with membership experiencing double-digit growth for the second consecutive year.  We predict it will continue for several years as we strive toward our goal of five hundred member firms by the end of 2017.  We see it in the performance of our recently completed convention in Houston with record attendance, participation, and profitability.

While a return to prosperity is long overdue for most of us, a gradual return is probably in our own best interest.   Considering the levels to which the economy dropped, double-digit improvements shouldn’t be terribly hard to realize for at least two to three more years.  We will never return to “business as usual” as experienced in the past decade.  The boom and bust cycles do not lead to real improvements, in fact they invite an opportunity for less qualified companies to undermine what we are trying to achieve.
It will take time for us to recover but when we do, there will be a new norm.  We will all participate in its development and we will need to adapt in order to survive.  It will be one that expands social networking, education, electronic communications, BIM and other internet-based technologies to heights we haven’t even imagined.  It will involve fewer people doing more work in less time with fewer resources.

If you are to succeed in this new world you will need to embrace these changes.  Research, listen, network, read, experiment – all of these concepts are more accessible than ever before with the internet.  You need to try new ideas (not all will be successful) and you must be open to change.  Proceed with optimism, even if it is cautious.  All of the indicators for continued improvement are there.

Let us help you as you move forward.  Make TCA part of your business plan for the future.  Another of TCA’s strategic goals is to maintain TCA as the technical authority for all things tilt-up.  As you are adjusting to this new reality, as you explore, as you research, as you experiment – make certain that you include the TCA in your network.  Utilize the tremendous resources we have at our disposal.  That is why we exist.

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TILT-UP TODAY, a publication of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, is THE source for Tilt-Up industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the Tilt-Up industry. A subscription to TILT-UP TODAY is included in a TCA membership. Subscriptions for potential TCA members are also available. If you would like to receive a complimentary subscription to the publication, please contact the TCA.