Thanks to Todd Plain at the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District for producing this video (and in one take, no less). It's from Sac State's heavy construction equipment lab.
The American Institute of Architects released it's September Architectural Billings Index (ABI). It's at 54.3, up from 53.8 in August (a value >50 indicates and increase in billings). The ABI is considered a leading indicator for construction activities.
The above figure is courtesy of Bill McBride at the Calculated Risk Blog.
Some other details:
Over the last year, multi-family led the pack. It will be interesting to watch if commercial/industrial stays out front.
Winning team for the 2013 Associated Schools of Construction Healthcare National Competition (from left to right: Nate Boyer, Rob Clark, Kim Braga, Alyssa Zayas, Preston Tziouvaras and Mark Oliveira)
I just got off the phone with Dixie Reid in Sac State's Public Affairs office. She asked me why winning this competition is important to the University. I told her this affirms what our students, alumni, faculty and industry partners already know: Sac State's Construction Management Department is nationally prominent. Let me be more frank: we are one of the best programs in the country. We win a lot of competitions, but winning on the road dispels the myth that we are just a regional school.
DIxie and I joked about Sac State's stigma as a commuter school (the dreaded "C" word). Most people outside of northern California know very little about us. Except in the construction industry. In the construction industry, we are known for creating students that highly sought after and are incredibly successful upon entering the industry.
The above group personifies Sac State CM. They battled against schools much larger than ours and won. If only there was a March Madness for CM...
Two things happened this week, one sad and one triumphant, that remind me of how important it is to give back to the people around you. As I wrote on Tuesday, the arenas of construction and construction management education lost a true ally. Mark Benjamin gave a lot of his time and effort into building Morley Builders and into supporting ACCE, ASC and other vehicles for supporting CM education. He was a busy guy, but he understood the importance of giving back to the construction industry. His contributions will be sadly missed.
More recently, we had a local example of giving back that has a much happier ending. On Monday, Tony Moayed, Steve Hunter and Ken Cohen of TMCS and Tricorp Hearn Construction held a golf tournament fundraiser to benefit the Sac State Construction Management Department. Tony, Steve and Ken have been supporting this tournament for several years, through good times and bad. This year they truly outdid themselves this year, raising a tournament record $25,188!
Like Mark was, Tony, Steve and Ken are busy guys. But they know the importance of giving back and have done so generously and in style. I personally want to thank them for all of their generosity over the years. Tony's involvement goes back a long time. He was an instructor at Sac State and was one of the guys who got our ASC Reno competition teams off the ground. He's a forefather of one of the events that allows Sac State CM to display its greatness to the greater public.
If you read this, I want you to take two things away from it: 1) show gratitude to those that help you. Gratitude seems to be a dying art these days, but don't be complicit in its demise. Thank those that help you with their money and time. You know who those people are. Shoot them an e-mail, or better yet, pick up the phone and call them. When you see them, tell them "thanks for all you do." It's easy and it makes everyone feel better. 2) At some point in your life, you will be in a position to give back. So do it. If you're a Sac State CM student, you have, directly or indirectly, benefited from someone's help (actually, a lot of peoples' help). Pay it forward! Be a giver.
The construction industry lost one of its truly good people yesterday. Mark Benjamin, President of Morley Builders, along with his son Luke, were killed in a plane accident on Monday. I had the pleasure of sitting next to Mark this past summer at a meeting of the American Council on Construction Education, an organization dedicated to improving construction management education that Mark has donated a lot of time to. In our brief encounter, I could easily determine that he was a genuinely decent man. In an industry filled with ego and bravado, Mark was thoughtful and spent most of our 20 minute conversation plumbing me for ideas on how to improve the industry and what he could do to help.
In addition to his work with ACCE, Morley Builders is the sponsor for the Associated Schools of Construction Region 7 Mixed Use competition. Sac State has done very well in this competition over the past few years, placing in the top 3 several times and placing first back-to-back in 2011 and 2012. Even when the economy was poor and Morley wasn't hiring, Mark continued the company's dedication to the competition because he understood its importance to construction education. He is man that will be sorely missed in the construction industry.
The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC) was supposed to report on construction spending in August but can't due to the government shutdown (the Census Bureau is closed). This data point was going to be very interesting seeing as the AGC previously reported that construction employment increased in 194 of 339 metro areas year-over-year (August 2012 to August 2013) and that construction employment increased in 26 states from July to August. Both of these reports lean towards an ongoing improvement of the construction industry.
In its most recent press release, AGC states that the government shutdown may hamper the construction industry's long climb out of the hole created by the great recession. According to Stephen Sandherr, the AGC's CEO, "This shutdown poses a real risk of undermining the industry's long-awaited recovery."