As you arrived at your office this morning, read your emails, caught up on LinkedIn, spoke to your leaders and engaged in the many ways you stay in touch with the daily reality of your company, you likely got some unsettling news. A shipment of supplies or equipment has been delayed, a job has been shut down due to COVID-19, prices have been increased, or some bit of long-awaited news arrived, and now you need to make a decision and deal with the change.
It’s time for a bit of reflection. As I look back at my career of over fifty years, it brings me great satisfaction to visualize the journey. If you are like me, I trust that you likewise can look at the history of your career and say, “It was good!”
I’ve heard it said, “Look forward to live and look back to learn!” Just like driving a vehicle, most of your attention needs to be looking forward through the windshield, combined with a small amount of time looking in the rearview mirror. Every one of us has made a mistake at some point in our lives or careers, and we definitely need to look back to learn from it. But if we get fixated on the past – in the rearview mirror – we will surely crash our future! Whether you are early in your race, or nearing the finish line, setting goals and planning for progression sets the tone for victory!
To my fellow construction industry friends: is it just me, or are you, too, sensing an unfair trend in the policies and practices of the current administration? It sure seems like they are creating an atmosphere that is highly toxic for free enterprise!
I ask you to consider a current bill that is requiring all large government jobs to have a PLA (Project Labor Agreement). Simply interpreted, this means that only union contractors may bid the job. The ramifications of this are obvious – the end of free enterprise as we know it! The passage of this bill means that over 80% of contractors are unable to bid government jobs, and for ABC especially, this is unacceptable.
Are you along for the ride, just going with the flow, or are you directing the course and determining the outcome? As businesspersons, leaders, and managers, are we spending our talents and treasure on those activities that bring the best results, or, are we allowing time and events to slowly divert control of our companies away from our choices and decision-making and instead towards mandates made by government? Are we voluntarily giving up control?
We are now in the month of June. It is our mid-way point for 2021, and I want to begin by recognizing and congratulating our dedicated Apprenticeship leaders and training staff for a championship year! Cindy DeWire (Director of Apprenticeship), her assistant Erin Hiles, and our instructors have done a great job making this an incredibly successful year – we thank you all for your hard work and dedication! Your outstanding efforts have allowed ABC Keystone to graduate the largest class in over 15 years! 108 apprentices from seven trades walked the stage on May 20, at the Clipper Magazine Stadium (home of the Lancaster Barnstormers)!
As the blossoms and beauty of May abound all around us, it is a great time to reflect on the value of our membership in ABC. Let me begin by thanking many of you for attending my Inauguration on April 16, at the Marriott, in downtown Lancaster. It was great to see so many of you in person, at what hopefully will be the first and only Inaugural delayed by a pandemic. It was an unusual Inaugural for sure, one without “swearing in,” of the board, as that was done virtually and on schedule in January. Again, thank you to everyone for your support!
Everyone needs a career or a purpose to get up in the morning. In today’s fantasy world of TV, video games, 24-hour news, and Hollywood’s imaginary world, purpose seems like a dream. Drones, electric cars, computers, and many other things make reality seem far away! Well, let’s get back to reality, not ‘Reality TV’ (which is really far from reality). Let’s instead get hitched up to actual reality and chart our journey and our destination.
As we are inching our way towards spring and summer, I trust your opportunities are rising in tandem with the temperatures! Seeing March on our calendars likely reminds many of us of March 19, 2020 – that Thursday when our phones blew up with Governor Wolf’s order for all construction to shut down the next day! Initially, we believed it was going to be short term, and we would soon be back to normal. Yet, many of us today are still not sure what normal looks like.
Alas it is winter, and we just celebrated – or endured – Groundhog Day. Old Punxsutawney Phil has predicted six more weeks of winter for our 2021 Pennsylvania weather! My purpose in referencing Groundhog Day for this article is taken from the 1993 movie of the same name, when Weatherman Phil repeated Groundhog Day over and over until he learned important life lessons and got it right.
As I humbly step into the Chair position of the ABC Keystone Board for the year 2021 – or maybe it is better described as ‘sitting’ in the Chair position – I wish we were entering a more predictable future for our industry. Looking around, I still hear the COVID-19 ‘Goliath’ stalking and yelling at us to fear him, attempting to intimidate us by his threats. What we really need is a ‘David’ to slay this enemy and allow us to get back to business! To my great delight, I discovered that, lo and behold, we have not one but two Davids in our arsenal to overcome this adversary! A big thank you to David (Dave) Sload and David Greineder, who have led us through the last nine months by increasing and growing our ABC influence and value, staring down any fear that the ‘big old giant’ is attempting to bring our way! We are incredibly grateful for your work!
I believe it goes without saying that 2020 rolled out differently than anyone could have predicted this time last year! The “Year of COVID” was certainly filled with many challenges and setbacks in our personal freedoms and financial successes. However, based on the high performance of our team at ABC Keystone, along with the continued commitment of our members, it is with great optimism, that I believe opportunity will be knocking on many doors in 2021.
Over the past two months, ABC Keystone has gradually and safely returned to holding in-person training and classes for apprenticeship, professional development, and safety. The Chapter also brought member social events back into action.