Wednesday, July 15, 2009

How Are You Doing?

(from the December 2008 Editor's Note in AsphaltPro Magazine)

It's difficult to avoid gluttonous imagery during the holiday season. By the time you read this, we'll have just recovered from a turkey coma and be hard-pressed to find a news station not bemoaning this year's consumer reports and what they mean for retailers. The focus around us is on "how much" we should be spending, taking in and consuming. No matter which religion you claim, I think this time of year should bring something more peaceful to mind instead.

In light of current market conditions, your AsphaltPro staff has offered cost-cutting strategies and equipment-stretching maintenance tips in the past few months. We'll continue to do so, but, this month, as you prepare for the holiday season, winter downtime, seasonal layoffs, end-of-year accounting, annual maintenance, etc., I wanted to ask a sensitive question.

How are you doing?

Are you taking the current down-swing in stride and working diligently toward the day when we start our up-swing? Are you making phone calls and sending e-mails to your representatives so they know how important the new highway funding bill will be? Are you keeping your equipment in tip-top shape so it performs beautifully for you on every commercial, residential, county, city or state job? Are you maintaining a positive attitude?

I know that positive affirmation stuff often comes off sounding trite. I've sat through a couple of those "power-up" seminars in my day. But let me tell you something. There are eyes in Washington watching our industry-watching for the signs of readiness. The great and wonderful news is that the asphalt industry sits poised and ready to pounce on the projects that will heal and protect our nation's infrastructure when funding rises to the occasion. The asphalt industry still researches and develops the environmentally safe, innovative ways to restore our roadways even while funding falters because we know to be ready. When funding slides back in place, we'll be there to come to the rescue.

That's a pretty positive picture.

In this issue of AsphaltPro, industry experts have offered not just their opinions on the state of the construction industry today, but their tips for getting through a prolonged downturn in the industry's cycle. I can't imagine how irresponsible a reporter would be to leave you with the gloom and doom of "we're in a down cycle." Instead, the folks who have offered their insights to you also offer words of wisdom to keep your spirits up. When I ask how you're doing, I want to know. I want to know how readers are implementing the ideas experts offer in AsphaltPro pages. I want to know how you're using ideas passed down through your family business. I want to know how you're keeping your positive attitude alive in your business-in your employees-as you stride through the current marketplace.

I also want to wish you a peaceful, hope-filled holiday season. There is much to be thankful for this year, no matter what the economists say. I'll start by thanking each one of you for reading the magazine. It's a pleasure to bring you industry information each month, and I look forward to spending the next year with you!

Stay safe,
Sandy Lender, Editor

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