I was watching the news the other night and I saw a report about a recent comment by Vice President Joe Biden. Speaking on Mitt Romney’s experience as CEO of investment for Bain Capital, Biden said it “no more qualifies you to be president than being a plumber.”
That got me thinking that maybe a plumber’s approach isn’t such a bad thing. I think one thing we can all agree on, regardless of our political stripes, is that our country is facing some huge problems that we need to solve, and solve soon. Our political system is stuck in gridlock and very little is being accomplished.
What does a plumber do? Well, one thing a plumber is really good at is unclogging pipes. If ever this country needed a plumber, now is the time because we’ve got some major clogs. We need leadership that isn’t afraid of removing clogs that are preventing things like a long-term transportation bill from getting through the pipes and into the books.
Come to think of it, plumbers and precasters have a lot in common – we are both solutions people. We solve difficult, sometimes messy problems by rolling up our sleeves and providing exactly what our customers need. I’ve never shied away from the fact that my style of leadership is a hands-on approach. If a driver can’t make it into work, I’ll drive the truck. If something breaks, we’re shorthanded or something isn’t going right, you’ll find me on the plant floor. That’s the way I’ve always been and always will be.
I’m not saying I’d make a good politician, but I think we could use some more of that leadership approach in Washington. There’s a shortage of practical, hands-on solution providers who aren’t afraid of the consequences of taking charge of a messy job and seeing it through to the end.
Plumber, precaster, politician – the jobs we do may be different but the end result should be the same. We face the problem head on and provide the customer with a solution that works. If a plumber, or we as precasters, don’t live up to the promises we make, we pay the price. I think it’s about time we start holding our politicians to those same standards.
Board Chair, National Precast Concrete Association