2007 Commercial Contracting Roundtable: Outlook for Commercial Market Good For Now

If it’s 15 educational sessions, an entertaining and informative keynoter, an interactive closing session focusing on solutions to real-world issues, and networking opportunities with some of the country’s leading commercial contractors, all packed into a day and half, it must be the Commercial Contracting Roundtable Design/Build Seminar.
The nearly 160 attendees at this year’s event, held October 24-25 in Baltimore, were treated to sessions that included Real Life Court Cases and How They Could Have Been Avoided; How to Build a Positive Company Culture Across Departments; What Does the Future Hold for Design/Build? Building Automation, New Opportunities for Integration; and How to Thrive in the Sustainability Market.
The list of presenters was a veritable all-star lineup, including Skip Snyder, The Snyder Company, Upper Darby, PA; Larry Spielvogel, P.E., L.G. Spielvogel, King of Prussia, PA; Ed Blum, representing Contracting Business’ 2007 Commercial Contractor of the Year, A.O. Reed Co., San Diego, CA; Ellis Guiles, TAG Mechanical Systems, Syracuse, NY; and Dan Thayer, Thayer Corp., Auburn, ME.
The attendees also received valuable insights from this year’s keynote speaker, Martin Regalia, Ph.D., vice president and chief economist, economic and tax policy, U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Dr. Regalia said that while the short-term outlook for the economy and the commercial contracting industry is good, there are some looming concerns that could cause a downturn within the next two or three years.
“The economy is still growing, and if you look at the fundamentals, it should continue to grow,” Dr. Regalia said. He pointed out that job growth and wage growth provide the base underpinnings to gross domestic product growth. Those two elements are in place, which means Americans will continue to spend.
“Dispensable income is growing because new jobs are being created, and real wages are growing,” Dr. Regalia said. “Those are the primary drivers of the economy, and they’re much more important than any other factors.”
However, while the short-term outlook is good, “many economists we be surprised if we don’t have a recession” in the next 36 to 48 months, he said, pointing out several economic factors that are “not pro-growth,” including diminishing worker productivity, the nation’s debt policy, and the weakness of the dollar internationally. While the economy could weather any of these elements individually, having two or all three occurring simultaneously does not bode well.
This year marked the fourth year of Contracting Business and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America co-hosting the Commercial Contracting Roundtable Design/Build Seminar. For more information on the 2008 event, watch for updates at www.contractingroundtable.com or call Richard Ware at ACCA, 703/824-8843.

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