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January 2008

For the Record

masonry MagazineThe Year Ahead

As we launch into 2008, I bring you good news: We survived 2007. Many of you prospered, while others muddled through a flat year. The housing decline affected some businesses negatively, but otherwise merely veiled what was a strong year in the commercial markets. Gains were seen in the private, non-residential building market, including the office building and lodging markets. Those contractor businesses led by smart people took advantage of this healthy segment of the commercial market. The really smart ones applied a green mentality to the way they did business. Green, my friends, is here to stay. It's not a fad; it's not a trend. It'll soon be the way we are programmed to live, work and play. Many contractors and industry professionals recognize this and are acting accordingly.

What else shook out from 2007? A need for education. Training, training, training: It's what's for dinner. Or at least, it's on our menu of what we need more of 2008. From basic skilled masons and knowledgeable bricklayers to architects and engineers who understand how to incorporate masonry into their plans early on, this year can and should be a year to expose everyone to this vibrant industry, full of opportunity and promise.

Lastly, we have to acknowledge the white elephant in the room we can no longer ignore as an industry: technology. While many of masonry's finest do a fantastic job incorporating technology into their businesses, from the software they use to their robust, interactive Web sites, we still need to work hard at getting everyone onboard. It's a flat world, and those who aren't "linked in" with the age of Internet will be left behind. As a result, the industry suffers as a whole.

Beyond these issues, I would like to say I look forward to working with you all in 2008. I received a warm welcome from so many of you, and it has made my transition into this world of masonry both pleasant and smooth. I wish you the best as we usher in a New Year with unlimited opportunity.






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