There are many reasons to take pride in being part of the construction industry. Ours is an industry that builds wealth and a better standard of living by actually creating something, not just through creative finance. We build and service tangible, practical, and necessary structures and infrastructure. A contractor and everyone working with them on a project can point to that project after completion and say “We did that.” And it is usually something that lasts.
I think the source of greatest pride for most folks in the industry is that much of the work they do is local. They help build and maintain a better place for folks in their state, their county, and often their own hometown.
I’m also convinced that this place of pride in the community is not an accident of geography. I believe that the type of person to start up or work for a local construction company is the type of person who, by nature, wants to make a positive difference to those around them.
The best contractors I know, when they talk about projects that have meant the most to them, always call up the memory of the time they added a wing to their local hospital, replaced the roof of the local high school gym, or ran crews around the clock for days to help businesses get up and running after a bad storm. This trait remains true even after a firm grows well beyond their local borders. The projects that stick with them are the ones that they recall from their days as a local business.
What brought all this to mind was an event yesterday in Fort Lauderdale where the National Utility Contractors Association, NUCA, is holding their annual conference. My construction software firm is one of a number of sponsoring companies, and so I had the opportunity to attend.
Among the many events was a team building exercise involving the construction of mini-golf courses using boxes and cans of food. What made this event special was that after it was over, we were asked at the end to place all the food - boxes of pasta, cans of meat and vegetables—on stage. Then a young man by the name of Conner, age 8, took the stage, took the mic, and thanked us all for helping him with his project to help feed the hungry in his hometown. Conner and his Mom started out by handing out 10 Thanksgiving dinners a few years ago. They’ve grown exponentially since then.
It doesn’t get more local, more tangible, more necessary that that. I was beyond proud to have played even such a small role in this event. An event, not surprisingly, arranged by local area contractors who are NUCA members.
There may be no place in our ledger books to track the debits and credits of the things we do as members of a community – that’s because they do much more than contribute to profit and loss. They define who we are.
If you’d like to learn more about the work that Conner and his Mom are doing, visit www.operationconnershare.com.