Same As It Ever Was… And As It Should Be
PDa magazine’s final official issue of 2019 crosses the calendar frontier into a new year and, depending on where one starts counting, a new decade. With it comes the usual reflection about how our lives and livelihoods have changed over the past 12 months, and speculation about what lies ahead. The exercise is particularly eye-popping this time, as many of us grew up with the illusion that 2020 was so futuristic and far away. Now, it’s here.
It’s understandable if things feel any different, or unchanged. For one thing, the new year arrived midweek, which meant many of us worked a few days, had a day or so off, then returned to finish up before the weekend. Aside from those who still write checks or date letters longhand, everything in 2020 was pretty much the way we left it “last year.”
And in some ways, that’s good. Most construction industry observers predict that the current economy should remain good well into 2020, and perhaps longer. Hopefully for most of you, that means staying busy with more work as the current jobs wrap up.
Whether we’re on the cusp of repeating the last century’s “Roaring 20s” remains to be seen, of course, and even that storied decade had its problems. (As Billy Joel once sang, “the good old days weren’t always that good.”) For now, at least, it’s a good time to get as much done as possible, and make prudent investments to offset whatever uncertainties may be in the offing.
A new year also heralds the start of another trade show season. And for North American concrete contractors, it’s a big one, with a double-dose of big Las Vegas shows—World of Concrete in early February, and Conexpo-Con/Agg mere weeks later. Squeezed in the middle, National Demolition Association’s Demolition Austin show will set up shop in Texas.
Each show offers on- and off-site allure that will tempt any contractor’s travel budget, and many factors go in to deciding which one(s) to attend. One bit of advice that we and many other show circuit veterans can offer is don’t simply save the annual World of Concrete for next year. Yes, it will likely be a bit smaller this go-round, but the exhibit mix tends to be more focused on the work most PDa readers are engaged in.
Smaller crowds also means more opportunities for face time with manufacturer representatives, and discussions about how these products can aid in specific applications back home. World of Concrete is also sure to have some product news and surprises that others (i.e., competitors) might miss.
And yeah, it’s Vegas—a prospect that’s hard to pass up, particularly during a season when many other parts of the continent are scraping snow and ice around. Not a bad way to spend a few days in February.
If there’s one thing that should accompany a new year, it’s optimism. Yes, 2020 has its uncertainties, but that caveat can apply to most any hour of any day. For every aspect of life we can control or at least influence, there are infinite others we cannot. All we can do is be aware, be informed, and do good work—same as it’s always been.
Jim Parsons, Senior Editor