Sep 25, 2019
What Can You Control?
BY Sandy Lender
There’s a prayer for serenity that people like to alter to get a laugh. While waiting on Hurricane Dorian, which thankfully did not cause damage in the county where I live, and watching various computer techs manipulate my desktop to fix problems caused by hackers, I contemplated what I can and can’t control. One of AsphaltPro’s advertisers and long-time friends, A.J. Ronyak, has referred to computer hackers and “complainers” as “people who don’t have cable.” They are people who sit around, bored, looking for something to complain about or trouble to stir up. I’m paraphrasing his actual words, of course.
We can’t control neighbors who might complain about truck traffic or asphalt odor, but what aspect of that scenario can we control? As an industry, we have already come up with odor solutions (i.e. Ronyak’s product) and ways to route trucks away from popular or sensitive commutes. We can attend zoning and planning meetings to help MPOs understand the lunacy of building high-price residential luxury condos a hundred or so yards from an existing quarry’s active face. Yes, I exaggerate, but you get the point.
We can’t control the attitude of an entire generation of latch-key kids raised by Netflix and microwave meals, but what aspect of these new workers can we control? As an industry, we have already reached into high schools and trade schools to proselytize a career in asphalt paving. We can hand out copies of Asphalt Lane (published by AsphaltPro) to the younger kids and we can implement training programs like the Asphalt Paving 101 online course (also from AsphaltPro) for new employees, but attitude is everything. Those younger kids are where it’s at.
We can control the upcoming attitude toward our industry.
We should be sharing with sons, daughters, nieces, next door neighbors, kids in Sunday School, the whole Little League team, that a career in asphalt construction is rewarding. At the end of a day paving, you can see the fruits of your labor. You get instant gratification, which kids can relate to.
Making sure the next generation understands that construction workers are working hard to build, create, engineer new transportation ideas, keep our economy moving, keep our infrastructure safe, and recycle and reuse materials, gives the next generation a positive picture of construction workers. The attitude of sneering at the dirt or grime of working with your hands has got to go. Working with your hands to build an infrastructure is incredible. It’s worthy. It’s laudable. It’s an image we can control.
Editor Sandy Lender