With Change Comes Opportunity

SMACNA President discusses how to remain flexible and adaptable during these uncertain and turbulent times.

Al LaBella

As I write this, the seasons are changing. While there isn’t a noticeable change day-to-day, it always serves as a reminder to me that change is constant. I see it in our businesses, in our industry, in our economy, and even in our association. 

This issue of SMACNews covers a variety of topics that involve change, whether it is an introduction to new laser welding and how it can reduce time, to the duct fabricator role some contractors are turning into a steady revenue stream, to the outsourcing of BIM work becoming bigger business and enabling contractors to ramp up design work without impacting full-time staff.

And for those contractors who own service fleets, there is no bigger change than the rise in gas prices. SMACNews shares some tips from a fleet management expert on how to manage this.

Remaining flexible and adaptable in this fluid economy is a skill we all have, but in 2022 we need to hone and sharpen these skills as never before as we face uncertain economic forecasts. 

Economists are predicting a recession in 2023 or 2024. Of note, the triple threat of rising prices, supply chain issues and labor shortages are creating enough uncertainty to delay some construction starts. Evidence of this comes from industry data that shows construction backlogs are increasing with the greatest increase coming to the industrial sector with large projects from manufacturers expanding operations in the U.S.

Hopefully, the latest round of interest rate hikes will have the intended effect without throwing the economy into a recession. A good hedge against recession is to take advantage of new projects in the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. These federally-funded projects often take place later in the economic cycle, making them good sources of revenue if a recession hits. Right now, Wall Street economists see a recession at a 40% chance next year.

SMACNA has been sharing information on various federally funded programs. Check out the information on SMACNA’s website under “Resources.”  Information is provided for both contractors and their potential customers, showing building owners and operators how to tap into funding to improve indoor air quality in the home, the office and our schools.

With change comes opportunity, and sometimes uncertainty. No matter what we face as an industry, I trust SMACNA to be right there with us, helping us find the opportunities and be as competitive as we possibly can in any business climate we face.

Sincerely, Al LaBella, SMACNA President