Concrete inFocus - Winter 2015 - (Page 10)

corporate suite Creating Partnerships and Facing Labor Shortages, "Can't We All Get Along?" John Hansen, NRMCA Senior Vice President, Local Paving I n 1991, Rodney King was arrested after a high speed chase in the city of Los Angles. Four LAPD officers pulled King from his car and beat him, all while their actions were recorded on video by an amateur photographer. The officers' acquittal in April 1992 triggered riots in South Central Los Angeles. More than 50 people were killed, more than 2,000 were injured and 9,500 were arrested for rioting, looting and arson, resulting in $1 billion in property damage. On the third day of the riots, King made a public appearance, making his now famous plea: "People, I just want to say, Can't we all get along?" King's request for unity was in the wake of great social unrest, but it is a plea that the concrete industry is giving new meaning to as we take on threats to our livelihood. We call "getting along" partnerships, and in the growing number of threats to concrete's market share, getting along and partnering will determine our future. Zig Ziglar, bestselling author and motivational speaker in the 1970's and 80's, preached that "you cannot hit a target you cannot see". And Michael Corleone shared his father's wisdom in Godfather II to "keep your friends close but your enemies closer". So what does all of this have to do with concrete and concrete construction, you might now be asking? 10 ı WINTER 2015 I recently was in a large meeting room with over 80 concrete contractors. I started my presentation asking if anyone in the room had heard of the Wood First Initiative. No hands went up. I was surprised. I thought in a group this large, with all of them presumably earning their livings building with concrete at least some of them would have heard of this well-funded threat to their livelihood. But not a single hand went up. Oh, they might have seen the press release about the 12-story wood building in one city, or the 10-story wood building in another, or had even driven past the 7-story wood building in their downtowns, but none had realized these projects were part of an ever growing number of low to midrise buildings that in years past would have been either some type of concrete structure or steel, or a combination of both. See keeping your friends and allies close is good and important, but knowing what your competition is doing, aka your business enemy, is even more important. And once you have your business enemy in your sights, it becomes much easier to hit "the target you can see". My most important job that day in front of this gathering of concrete contractors was to share this information, and to impress upon them that even though there might be competitors in the room, our competition was not in the room. We are all partners in the face of the true competitors, the wood and asphalt industries, and we must "all get along" and work together to succeed. Partnering for success is easier said than done when compensation comes into play. I have been in meetings where I have observed concrete industry rivals belittle and disrespect each other in front of important companies and clients. One such incident was related to me by an NRMCA National Account client some years back. During an initial meeting at its headquarters, one of its construction and design members made the comment to me that "you concrete guys don't play well together." When I asked him to elaborate, he told me how individual company representatives would comment on

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Concrete inFocus - Winter 2015

From the President’s Desk
Corporate Suite Column
Enviroscene Column
Smokey Point Concrete
The Right Mix: A Guide to Pervious Concrete Mix Design
Union Threats: The Rules of the Game Have Changed!
Index of Advertisers
2015 Mixer Driver Recruitment and Retention Survey
2015 National Ready Mixed Concrete Association Driver Recruitment and Retention Survey

Concrete inFocus - Winter 2015