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Our Time

DSC_0121-Edit-EditThe Winter Olympics has just concluded and it brought back memories of the 1980 Men’s Olympic Hockey Game between the US and Russia. The two teams were very different. The Russian team was made up of professional players who had been working together for years. The US Team was new and young hand-picked by Coach Herb Brooks from various, often rival, colleges. Remember this was in the middle of the Cold War, and the hockey game was a microcosm for the multiyear conflict between East and West. The US Team was not favored to win because they lacked maturity and tenure as a team.

Coach Brooks knew that to be champions, this group of young men needed to realize that by playing as a team they were more than the sum of their individual parts. He instilled leadership up and down the roster that set the tone of selfless play. Every player checked their ego at the door and played with a singular goal of winning for their teammates and for their country.

This is the message and the lesson that transcends sports and applies to business. If people are not able to put aside their own personal agenda, no matter how talented they are, they will never be able to be the best that they can be. As Coach Herb Brooks so eloquently challenged his team, “You think you can win on talent alone? Gentlemen, you don’t have enough talent to win on talent alone.”

The cohesiveness of a team is what makes it great. Skating, passing, flow, creativity, can easily be translated into our daily lives as hard work, determination, communication, and cooperation. We must remember that being a team is bigger and stronger than any one of us.  “When you pull on that jersey, you represent yourself and your teammates,” said Brooks. “And the name on the front is a hell of a lot more important than the one on the back!”

Team USA went on to beat Russia and win the gold because they were a group of uncommon men who believed in selfless play. It was their time and they took it.

And that is what I think 2014 is for us, for our industry. It is our time. A cohesive team with a clear vision is what it takes to overcome adversity and challenge. The construction industry still has and will most likely always have challenges; the economy, consistent funding for infrastructure, compressed construction schedules, incomplete drawings, restrictive lending and, of course, competitive markets. But there are also more opportunities than ever before. I believe that if we work as a cohesive team we can overcome the challenges and make 2014 our time.

My favorite quote in the movie Miracle on Ice, which is based on the 1980 Olympic Hockey Game, is by Coach Brooks, “Great moments are born from great opportunity,” and that is what we have in 2014, opportunity. Dodge McGraw Hill is forecasting double-digit growth in our core market segment, Non-Residential, as well as robust growth in the Residential Market Segment. Residential growth is a solid indicator that our economy is strengthening. Most companies I have talked to have spent the last three years building their internal infrastructures, cutting operating expense, getting better at what they do and hopefully building a bench of talented players.

The weather has been impactful in January and February, but pent up demand and strong backlogs are waiting. Economists are predicting that the demand after this harsh winter will fuel second quarter growth as temperatures moderate. For all of 2013 the economy grew at a lackluster 1.9%. Analysts think that GDP growth will rebound in 2014 to as high as 3%.

March is here and although it is no heat wave, we are seeing temperatures and daily sales revenue increase. At AH Harris, we have stepped up the communication and I recommend that you do the same. We are monitoring projects closely and beefing up inventory levels. We spent January and February training and investing in our people. We are giving our Associates the tools they need to develop their talent and bring value to our customers. When the projects come, they will come fast, and it is critical that everyone is prepared and responsive so that we do not miss opportunities. The speed of construction offered by the tilt-up method will be in high demand. We need to take advantage of every open net, of every power play, and a score a few hat tricks along the way.

Great moments are born from great opportunity. And that’s what we have right here, right now. Now it is up to each of us, to go out there and take it!

I think 2014 can be OUR TIME.

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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.