The annual Dodge Construction Outlook conference was held last week, and for the most part the data is trending positive in the construction world. Overall construction starts are predicted to rise once again, but at a slower rate than the past—6 percent, after gains of 9 percent in 2014, and an estimated 14 percent for 2015. Commercial construction is also being pushed upward with a healthier jump in 2016. The one area to watch is the office category. Dodge is predicting an 11 percent jump, but there’s another analysis that I follow that is not as bullish. Obviously a majority of the audience who read this blog are heavily involved in the office category in one form or another.
The other big take away was that the cycle is looking healthy, meaning there’s still expected growth to happen. We’ve been hearing 2018 and 2019, so this seemingly is another affirmation of those previous predictions. As I think we all know, these forecasts are not guaranteed and have been known to be wildly off, especially during the recession. So everything needs to be taken with a massive grain of salt. Though in the end, I will take these positive notes for sure.
- One of the other big themes of the Dodge event was the discussion about people and talent. Basically, the ability to hold on to your best people is a major concern and it’s something on the radar at companies all over the globe. It also points to the need to train your folks and grow your bench, because it’s surely tough out there to bring folks in.
- Speaking of talent leaving, we as an industry lost a major player to retirement last week. The incredible and iconic Ricky Shaw (Solar Seal, Shaw Glass, CGH) is calling an end to his glass career after more than 40 years of industry-leading moves, especially in regards to equipment and products. I am thrilled for him, even though his loss leaves a hole in the fabric of the Northeast and New England glass and fabrication scene. Enjoy the next phase of your life Rick. You have earned all of the skiing, golf, and whatever other recreational approach you want to do!
- Now, maybe Rick will become a consultant like the technical wizard Chris Barry did when he retired from Pilkington a while back. I got to visit some with Chris this week and even though he’s not associated with a company, his care and passion for this industry has not waned one bit. He still attends trade meetings, and his activity and insight on our products is absolutely crucial for all of us to respect and understand.
- There was a good piece from Julie Ruth in the latest Glass Magazine. Her first hand take of a tornado in her community and then the reaction to it (from a business and code approach) makes for a good read.
- Last this week, a quick book review. Have you ever read a book and 98 percent of it is awesome and you’re so excited to see how it ends, and then it closes with a thunderous dud? Well that’s the book “Almost- 12 Electric Months Chasing a Silicon Valley Dream.” This book about a start up in Silicon Valley was really mesmerizing, as the author wrote about what can go right and wrong (mostly wrong) with a startup. After spending a ton of time with this story and really being invested, the ending just came up very short in my opinion. Anyway, if you want a book with 98 percent of an interesting story with dysfunction everywhere, give this one a shot. By the way after a run of business background books and history books, next one up is comedian David Spade’s biography. That surely will be different than what I have been reading!