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.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the ensuing public health issues, and the economic shutdown have been front and center in most of our lives since the end of February this year. President Trump, the CDC and Congress issued many new guidelines and restrictions to control the spread of the virus. Many of these federal mandates were designed to allow for state or local representatives to enact additional restrictions based on the regional virus outbreak as needed. In March, our Pennsylvania Governor closed schools, ordered citizens to shelter at home, and closed all “non-essential” businesses.
Every September, the ABC Keystone Board of Directors hosts an annual strategic planning meeting where board members, committee chairs, and other chapter leaders come together to review and evaluate the current strategic initiatives and tweak them for the upcoming year. Every three years this process takes a deeper dive to determine if a new direction needs to be considered.
After three long months of shutdown, members are looking to regain some form of pre-COVID momentum, the strong momentum that was evident in the first quarter of 2020. According to ABC’s Chief Economist Anirban Basu, construction employment, backlog and contractor confidence are on the rise again, which is good news for recovery.