Mar 28, 2018
The World is Our Oyster
In the 1980s, the new wave band Frankie Goes to Hollywood released an album with its second track titled “The World is My Oyster.” The song is all of one minute long, but has been sampled in a variety of decadently-indulgent remixes—including Frankie’s own works—that this editor and child of the ’80s finds “groovy.”
Why should I bring a 34-year-old musical aside to the beginning of the World of Asphalt/Agg1 2018 edition of an asphalt industry publication? Because the oyster sits before us right now with a big, fat pearl of opportunity inside.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM) practically wrote this column for me when they reported 10 predictions for infrastructure development and growth after the State of the Union address. The trends they highlighted stem from optimism and a positive outlook. The industry is abuzz with energy and forward momentum.
Take a look at the positive trends AEM believes TRC Companies—an engineering, environmental consulting and construction management services firm—has got right on the money.
First, AEM and TRC believe “[i]nfrastructure spending will intensify as a result of comprehensive federal infrastructure legislation potentially bankrolling projects both big and small across the entire country.”
Second, they believe “[s]tates will rely on alternative approaches to planning and construction to pay for their projects. This could include more design/build transportation projects or more public-private partnerships.”
They anticipate trends toward greater renewable sources of energy and higher priority for energy storage, as well as a push for smart grids from utilities and regulators. You can check out the article “Vary Energy Use” in the January issue for some tips on that concept.
An unsettling trend they reported, and which our industry has been trying to cut off at the pass, pertains to the labor pool. “There will be a boom in projects in some states that will prompt labor shortages across the board. This will, in turn, lead to delays for many companies if they don’t plan for this challenge.”
Also watch for “[t]echnological advancements [that] lead to increased air quality monitoring.”
It’s apparent the asphalt industry has a busy season coming up. This is the time to invest in employee development, safety training, equipment, components, innovations, and the business elements that will catapult you to the front of the bidding line.
Carpe diem. No grit, no pearl. Shuck the oyster.