The Near – and Far – Future of Masonry
As 2012 leaves the building, here’s what I know: We have an industry full of people just as strong as masonry itself. No one can be certain of what the next four years will hold. But I do know that most of our industry weathered a hell of a storm during the last four.
Next year, whether we continue to bounce back or flatten somewhat, we still are far from where we stood in 2009 and 2010. Heads no longer hang down in despair and gloom when our staff attends trade shows, meetings and events. Companies are able to do what they do again, including looking to the future and what positive growth it holds.
The near future looks a lot greener than it once did. Sustainability is a real component to how we do business, and that will only strengthen, year after year.
The near future also looks more technical and digital than ever. From iPads on the jobsite to contractor software back at the office, we are working more efficiently. Social media gives companies unique identities and exposure. Building Information Modeling and the design-build concepts create maps and records for the life of large construction projects. Every project can have a pedigree, if the contractors so desire.
The far future is a little trickier, but it is in our hands. We need to promote masonry. Masonry needs to be everywhere. I have had big players – suppliers – in our industry ask me why masonry still is relevant. We need to use our passion about our industry to educate others at every turn.
The far future also will depend on our ability to keep skilled workers. High school and technical school programs are strong and commendable, but we need to increase this in all areas of the country. Skilled labor is a good thing, and we need it if masonry is to thrive.
Our industry isn’t without worry, but we are solid. Masonry is solid. Masonry isn’t going anywhere, and neither are we.