In the mid 80s the economy was so bad in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction and Real Estate worlds that we started to give slogans for each year to provide a little levity or, as my Dad used to say, “To laugh to keep from crying.” In Houston in 1982, we doubled the square footage of available office space in one year. That left us with lots of “see-through” office buildings that it took the rest of the decade to lease up. So we started those slogans to keep our spirits up.
The slogans went something like this:
- Shut the door in ’84
- Staying alive in ’85
- Pick up sticks in ’86
- Look to heaven in ’87
And when it began to turn around we went to:
- Doing great in ’88
- Doing fine in ’89
I was reminded of those years when several folks in the industry recently reminded me that, with few projects underway, many firms in the construction industry are struggling for survival. Even though the architectural index is inching up, there is an 18 -24 month lag time before those projects get under construction. 2011 will be the year of restructuring, more bankruptcies, consolidations and mergers and acquisitions.
I would suggest that maybe we should recapture that slogan from ’87 and apply it to this year. So, here you go: Look to heaven in twenty-eleven. I will leave it to you to propose a slogan for 2012. Not many words rhyme with twelve other than shelve and we don’t want things to continue in that direction.