Monthly Archive for December, 2009

Be Prepared

Greg ColorJust 10 years ago a high percentage of the population was concerned about the new millennium… Y2K was upon us; all of our computer systems were going to crash; the economy was going to tank (well that concern was legitimate but it took eight or nine years to happen); there were going to be invaders from outer space and Angelina Jolie was going to grow a wart on the end of her nose while Brad Pitt grew a third eye. None of this happened.

We as a species are paranoid. That’s why we have survived and been in control as long as we have. We over react. We always over react and we always regret our actions and decisions. For the last 18 months plus we have been performing on par.  We have no confidence in our system, economy, way of life, or politics. We look for the worst and always find it.

Our news media only feeds our paranoia by publishing mostly negative news. When was the last time you read anything encouraging or heard anything positive on the news? Even our weather reports – “Tomorrow will be bright and sunny with a high of 76 and a low of 62 but there are possibilities of rain in the late afternoon or early evening.”

How many papers would USA Today sell if the headlines were, “Economy Shows Modest Gains As The Stimulus Package Gains Traction?” Would you even pay attention?

How are we doing economically? Look around. Have you been to the store lately? The shelves aren’t bare; the store isn’t empty; finding a good parking spot is a pain; the prices haven’t come tumbling down.

Have you been on the Interstate lately? Have you noticed two very important economic indicators – the volume of construction and truck traffic? I just made a run from Birmingham AL to Atlanta GA and went through three or four construction zones in 150 miles and encountered truck traffic like I haven’t seen this year. There were trains of 20 to 30 trucks forcing me to inhale their diesel dust and nauseating fumes most of the trip. Understand, this is not a complaint, quite the contrary. I love trucks, orange cones and work zone signs more than I can describe. They mean the industry is working. The trucks mean that goods are moving from the manufacturer, docks or terminals on their way to stores, other distribution centers or dealers.

I scoured the news to see if anyone was reporting on the increased volume of construction work or truck traffic and guess what? Nothing! There wasn’t a lot of positive news and you have to be dedicated and work hard to find information on new constructions projects.

A couple months ago I attended an industry trade show that had its second highest attendance in its more than 30-year history. Manufacturers and distributors were selling product, not promises or dreams. Attendees were buying.  A number of manufacturers introduced new products. In fact, AEM, the show host, listed over 150 new products in the pre-show announcements. The atmosphere was positive; exhibitors felt that the attendees were serious customers and the attendees were very active in spite of the uncooperative weather two out of the three days.

Are we there yet? No but we are on the way and we need to think positive. Let’s face it. You can’t throw almost a trillion dollars at something and not have some of it start producing results. Maybe the trickle down is just that, a trickle-down and it hasn’t reached the level that produces jobs, products or pavements.

As we ease our way out of this recession we should have a plan on what we are going to do to be part of the early growth. You don’t want to wait and hope that something will happen, you need to make it happen. Study your market. Know which segments are doing the best; where the money is being spent; what competitors are doing to get their share of the business. It’s not going to be easy but then even in the best of times it’s been a challenge. It’s never been easy. There’s always some problems to overcome. This year it’s simply a different set of problems that we have to handle.

Even if you weren’t a Boy Scout you need to adopt their motto, “Be Prepared.” This is probably the best advice you will ever get anywhere from anyone.

Greg Sitek

Note: This appeared as the editorial in all January 2010 issues of the ACP magazines.

Dynapac USA To Become Part Of Atlas Copco Sales Organization

As of January 1, 2010, Dynapac LLC, a company within the Atlas Copco Group, will become fully integrated into the sales organization for all Atlas Copco construction products sold in the U.S. market.

imagesThe goal of the integration allows Atlas Copco to maximize efficiencies and manage costs by sharing its business structure with Dynapac. Over the long term, this means Atlas Copco and Dynapac customers will have access to more complete product lines and an extensive parts inventory and distribution system.

“Both Atlas Copco and Dynapac bring qualified and experienced people to the table, which will provide stronger resources for dealers and thus strong local product support,” said Torbjorn Redaelli, president and general manager, Atlas Copco Construction Mining Technique USA. “There is a strong mutual fit because both companies have an identical technical approach to the market and a strong parts and service focus.”

Through the integration of Dynapac, the Atlas Copco companies reaffirm their dedication to the U.S. construction market with construction, drilling, compaction and paving products.

Bruce Truesdale, president of Dynapac USA, said, “This move will benefit customers by allowing us to continue the focus on expanding our product offering and services to our customer base.”

Recovery Act Funds 10,000th Highway Project

Tens of Thousands of Jobs Created, Critical Milestone Reached

Reaching a major milestone in creating jobs and improving the nation’s infrastructure, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray images-1LaHood announced that as of today, the Federal Highway Administration has approved 10,000 highway projects funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) since its passage in February.

“What better way to cap off the year than with 10,000 highway and bridge projects putting people back to work, strengthening the economy, and making travel safer for everyone,” said Secretary LaHood.

Of the $26.6 billion available for highway projects through the Recovery Act, $21.8 billion has been obligated to 10,000 projects nationwide – of which 6,092 highway projects are underway. This money is helping employ tens of thousands of men and women and significantly improving more than 27,000 miles of roads and bridges.

“Highway projects are moving forward across the country,” said FHWA Administrator Victor Mendez. “Thanks to the Recovery Act, drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists will see significantly improved roadways in 2010.”

Construction on some of the nation’s largest infrastructure projects is just beginning, such as the Caldecott Tunnel in San Francisco, which is set to start construction in early January. At $257 million, this project, which relies on $192.4 million in ARRA funds, is one of the largest ARRA projects in the nation. Several other major projects have recently begun construction, including:

  • I-215 Widening Project in San Bernardino and I-405 Widening in Los Angeles. During the summer, work began on two billion-dollar projects in California – the I-215 Widening Project in San Bernardino, which is using $128 million in ARRA funds to reduce traffic congestion that had been crippling the local economy, and the other using $189.9 million in ARRA funds to add 10 miles of carpool lane on Los Angeles’ northbound I-405, one of the most congested routes in the nation. Both projects are expected to continue through 2013.
  • US19/SR 55 Interchange reconstructions in Clearwater, Fla. Construction on this $109 million project began in early December. Expected to be completed in July 2014, it will reduce congestion by building two new interchanges, removing numerous traffic signals, and creating 12 miles of uninterrupted travel for the route’s estimated 89,500 daily drivers. The $45 million in ARRA funding made it possible to begin this project two years earlier than originally planned.
  • I-405 “Braids” in Bellevue, Wash. In November, construction began on this $278.6 million project to help a Seattle suburb with traffic congestion of up to eight hours daily. The project will “braid” multi-level ramps to separate vehicles entering and exiting northbound I-405, add a bypass lane for eastbound traffic, and improve access from downtown Bellevue. When completed in late 2012, the project will reduce congestion, improve safety for drivers, and enhance pedestrian and bicycle access. The $30 million in ARRA funding helped this project start a year earlier than planned.

To date, the DOT has approved more than 11,300 transportation projects, worth $32.1 billion in Recovery

images

Act funding, of which 7,600 projects are currently underway. In January, the DOT is set to announce $8 billion in grants for high-speed rail and $1.5 billion under the TIGER Discretionary Grants program, which will spur job creation as major national projects get underway.

AEM Elects New Members – Closes Out Year 800-Plus Companies Strong

The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) closes out 2009 with more than 800 member companies that produce and market equipment, products and services used worldwide in the agriculture, construction, forestry, mining and utility sectors. The AEM_logo_wo_cmykinternational trade group, which provides business-development resources for the off-road equipment manufacturing industry, announces the latest companies that have been approved for membership.

“It’s certainly been a challenging year for our industry and the overall economy, and we’re pleased that companies see the value of our services to help them increase business efficiencies and productivity,” stated AEM President Dennis Slater.

Slater reports that membership is still at near-record levels, and that the association continually assesses and adjusts programs to ensure they meet industry needs.

Association core areas include product safety and technical support, market information and equipment statistics, public policy representation and trade shows, as well as global business development services, education and training programs, worksite safety/educational materials and workforce development activities.

Here are the latest members to join AEM:

  • ACE Group LLC (Willmar, Minnesota), manufacturer of parts and components for the asphalt industry
  • DeltaTech Controls (Shakopee, Minnesota), manufacturer of operator controls, electronic joysticks, multifunction grips, foot pedals, displays
  • Eager Beaver Trailers (Lake Wales, Florida), manufacturer of construction equipment trailers
  • EQ Consulting Services LLC (Overland Park, Kansas), provider of research, marketing and implementation services
  • Euliss Business Development LLC (eBDc) (Jamestown, North Carolina), provider of business development services (sales and marketing, product development, sourcing)
  • GVM Inc. (Biglerville, Pennsylvania), manufacturer of sprayers and spreaders
  • IMT Partnership (Ingersoll, Ontario, Canada), manufacturer of forged and machine components
  • National Tube Supply Co. (University Park, Illinois), manufacturer of seamless and carbon and alloy mechanical tubing and pipe
  • Quickstart Global Inc. (San Francisco, California), provider of HR and international sales development services
  • Remote Dynamics Inc. (Plano, Texas), provider of fleet management solutions services
  • Rock-Tech International (Alvarado, Texas), manufacturer of hole openers, carbide hammer bits, percussion hammers, bit retrieval systems
  • Sherwin-Williams Co. (Cleveland, Ohio), manufacturer of power and liquid coatings for OEMs
  • Trilix (Johnston, Iowa), provider of advertising and marketing services

Texas Contractor At Industry Show

Walt Robertson manning the Texas Contractor booth Oct 19-20 in Austin for the 26th annual AGC of Texas Trade & Equipment show.

Walt Robertson manning the Texas Contractor booth Oct 19-20 in Austin for the 26th annual AGC of Texas Trade & Equipment show.

Walt Robertson, associate publisher, was joined at the show by Liz Moucka, editor of Texas Contractor. The booth displayed the ACP magazines in their new format as well as the Texas Contractor magazine logo that had been reactivated when the new owners took over the more-than century old family of regional construction magazines. Show attendees commented on the fact that they were glad that Texas Contractor and the other ACP magazines were back.