Whether you’re a fan of John McCain or not – and there are strong feelings on both sides of that fence – there’s an important lesson we can learn from him as we begin our fourth year since the start of this “great recession.”
When McCain was a prisoner of war for seven years during the Vietnam War, he determined he had a choice. He could either accept that he was going to be there for as long as it took or he could convince himself he would be free by a certain date and inevitably be left feeling hopeless as the date came and went.
The same applies to the economy. As we start 2011, we need to understand that there is still no definitive timeline for when a full-fledged recovery will occur. There’s going to be one, but when and how fast is only a matter of speculation for even the best economists.
We’re in this for the long haul, however long that is. And the truth of the matter is, after three-plus years we should all have a pretty good idea of what the challenges are and what must be done to survive. I talked to one precaster who saw demand for his primary product begin dry up so he started making an entirely new line of products that are still in demand. That’s what it took, so that’s what he did. It saved the company and made it more diverse and better suited for the future.
I’ve always believed that great challenges provide great opportunities, and that is certainly true of this economy. The precast concrete industry is uniquely positioned to take advantage of the recovery, whenever it comes around, because there is going to be a higher level of appreciation for plant-made products cast in a controlled environment.
Precast offers quality, faster installation, lower lifetime maintenance costs and a longer service life. And, there are nearly endless possibilities for sizes, shapes, colors, textures and applications. Concrete is the most commonly used construction material in the world, and the versatility of precast makes it the most dynamic sector of the concrete industry.
But to take advantage of the recovery, precasters need to emerge from this recession leaner, meaner and strong enough to handle the increased demand for high-quality, on-time production. And you know what? There’s no time like the present to get started.
President, National Precast Concrete Association