With the start of a new year, there is always excitement over the goals and initiatives we set out to accomplish. Likewise, there are many exciting initiatives that we are working on at ABC Keystone for the upcoming year.
First, we look to establish the Inclusion, Diversity and Unity committee. Unfortunately, the construction industry has an image problem. For too long, it has been considered a white male profession. While attending the 2021 ABC Leadership Institute, we saw how other chapters are making significant inroads with the minority, women, Veterans and LGBT communities. As we look at an aging workforce, the answer must be attracting new talent to this industry. ABC Keystone and all ABC chapters should tell the story that construction is a great industry in which to work, you can make a good living, and it is an industry for all.
As my year as Chair of the ABC Keystone Board draws to a close, I am filled with gratitude for our President-CEO Dave Sload, the entire ABC Keystone staff, and of course, our tremendous volunteers that give so selflessly to make our various events a reality. Likewise, I wish to extend a heartfelt thanks to my fellow Board members and the many Committees and Chairs whom I’ve had the pleasure of leading and serving this past year. Most of all, it was my honor and delight to serve the entire membership of over 530 companies in 2021.
We are now in the month of November, and my mind is drawn to our traditional Thanksgiving holiday and the customs that surround this annual occasion. We all have memories of learning the history of the early Pilgrims and the indigenous people that lived here before the Pilgrims arrived. The history of America’s beginnings can bring a variety of opinions regarding how the history should be presented, but we can all agree we are thankful that history created early America, and we can be thankful for ABC.
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.