Friday, November 13, 2009

The sounds of silence

William C. Beckman, CEO at X-nth (Maitland, FL), a 350-person international consulting engineering firm that was 10th on the The Zweig Letter 2009 Hot Firm List, chimes in with his thoughts on the state of the U.S. economy:

"How can the politicians think that the economy is going to get better if the design industry isn’t cranking out designs NOW? We all know design is ahead of construction by one to two years.

"From my viewpoint, too many firms are idle, especially with respect to the U.S. market. Construction drives the economy in a big way. Contractors are steadily eating through backlog. Designers need to be designing NOW to fill the pipeline.

"So the question is: what can we, as members of the building services industry, do to get the government to sit up and take notice so that this so-called changing tide in the economy becomes a reality? Shouldn’t the government be backing lenders who create construction projects rather than banks only interested in shoring up their bottom line?"

What are your thoughts? How can you and your firm make sure there's a true turnaround in the economy?

1 comment:

  1. Bill,
    You're absolutely correct that if the credit market remains tight, we'll be in for an agonizingly long recovery. I was at a client's shareholders meeting yesterday and there was some lively discussion of what the shape of this recovery is likely to be. We've all heard about the "V" or "U" shaped recovery, and of course the dreaded "W" (another dip before the real recovery begins). But one of directors suggested we might be in for the inverted square root shaped recovery (draw it and you'll get it). I think George Soros gets the original credit for the concept. What it basically means is after slight blip of a recovery, we settle into a new normal which represents a significant step down from the past peak.

    I believe the stimulus spending has probably helped (at least in some quarters), and will continue to have a positive impact in 2010 (when the largest chunk of ARRA spending is projected to occur), but such spending is like applying a defibrillator. The shock won't get the heart beating again if the blood and oxygen isn't reaching it.



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