The construction industry has been hit hard by the economic recession that has gripped our nation over the past 12–18 months. Everyone in this industry—including S. M. Wilson—has been adversely affected by the slowdown in construction activity and the credit crunch in the commercial real estate and retail industries. We’ve been through some pretty tough times together in the last two years and no doubt there will be others in the future, but as I write this, I am more confident than ever that 2011 and 2012 will bring improvements to our industry.
This edition of Building Partnerships points out some of the bright spots we are seeing on our radar screen. Healthcare and education continue to provide opportunities for us to build new facilities. Here are some great examples: The recently completed $205 million BJC Institute of Health at Washington University for Washington University School of Medicine and BJC HealthCare was the single largest project in our company’s history, while the new 89,000-square-foot Duncan Wing patient tower at Alton Memorial Hospital opened in March after completing the rigorous state health inspection in a single day.
A $10 million renovation and addition project at Fontbonne University and major building programs for the Clayton School District in Missouri and Mascoutah Community Unit School District 19 in Illinois show continued strength in these markets on both sides of the Mississippi River.
Despite these successes, we have had to downsize our staff and streamline our operations, which has not been a pleasant experience for any of us. But as the clouds of the economic storm begin to clear, we find ourselves well positioned to survive and thrive in the years ahead. We have had the pleasure of developing and retaining an outstanding staff to manage our business and build our projects, and we now have a more effective organizational model, internal processes and procedures second to none, and a focused strategic plan in place.
And, two other very important points that will help us spring into action when the economy turns are: we have never been more financially stable, and we have the best portfolio of completed projects we could ever hope for. Come on economy, “bring it on!”
We are starting to see the calm settle in after the storm, and we’re once again moving in the right direction. I hope you are riding the storm out as well.
Your partner in success,