Gary Jaacks

 
 

‚Äč A Legend's lifetime in the Construction Industry 

Gary Jaacks, formerly with The Raymond Group.

 

My life began in the heartland of America. I was born February 22, 1939 in
Battle Creek, Iowa and grew up in Correctionville, Iowa*. Correctionville is a small
farm town in northwestern Iowa, population 1,000 at the time I was growing up
there. Most of the surrounding towns were of similar size, established primarily
to support the farmers within a reasonable radius of the town. Sioux City was the
nearest city. I am the oldest of ten children. My Dad had a trucking business
when I was very young, and then worked as a mechanic. My Mom was a stay at
home housewife. To this day I do not know how they fed and clothed 10 children,
but they did, and we seldom wanted for anything!! They stressed our education
through high school, then get a job.

I never dreamed of having a career in construction, so in some ways I was
unprepared; didn’t know how to do estimating, project management, etc. Still
don’t, but I understand the concept and importance. Unlike some of the other
“Legends” stories whereas the family has been in construction for multiple
generations, my construction experience was almost nil until I arrived at
Raymond. When my Dad was doing trucking, as a young boy I would ride with
him to deliver construction materials to a construction site, which was usually a
home or farm building being built. The summer after I graduated from high
school I worked as a laborer on a paving crew doing concrete and asphalt paving.
That activity ceases when the temperature drops, and the snow begins to fly, and
it was difficult to find any winter employment in an area dependent on
agriculture.

Being idle did not set well with me so I went to see the naval recruiter. He
administered some aptitude tests and said, “If you sign up, the Navy will send you
to electronics school after your completion of boot camp.” I signed on the dotted
line. Several days later I was boarding a milk train in Omaha, Nebraska headed for
San Diego. It was called a milk train because it stopped at every small town it
went through on the way west. It took 6-7 days to get to San Diego.
Now I am in boot camp and this is where my life began to change. I was
put into a group of guys from all over the country; guys from small towns like me,
and guys from the big city. What the farm boy had experienced to date and what
the city boy had experienced to date were miles apart. It was time to start sorting
things out because I knew things were not going to be like they were in the small
rural farm town. I started watching what the other guys did, what got them in
trouble, what got them kudos from the commander, and so on; keep your bunk
made up neat and tight, keep your locker neat, keep a spit shine on your shoes,
shower every day so you do not have BO, etc. So many rules to teach military
discipline!! Didn’t pay to fight them though.

Then I discovered the most important thing to know inboot camp. Almost
every day we were marched around to different buildings to take tests. The next
day the test results were posted on the bulletin board ranked best score to worst
score. I noticed the 3 to 4 persons with the highest scores got easier work
assignments than the lower scorers did. My scores were not that far below the
leaders, so I told myself, “Gary, you are going to be #1 on every test posting the
remainder of time you are in boot camp.” I did it! That was the beginning of my
appreciation for education because I experienced how it paid off. I too, got
excused from onerous tasks. After a few consecutive #1 scores, the commander
came to me and said, “Jaacks, you are doing well on testing, and we think you can
keep it up if we involve you in boot camp graduation ceremonies. You will need
to do all of your regular duties as a recruit plus go to rehearsal drills to perfect the
parade skills for presentation to the base command and the families who attend
the graduation ceremonies. For this, you will get some perks such as Chief Petty
Officer patches for your uniform so you can walk around base unaccompanied,
etc.” As such, I got to lead the graduating classes (several hundred recruits) onto
the parade ground, wearing a fancy uniform, carrying a saber and giving the
orders to the assembled recruits per the graduation ceremony dictates.
From boot camp I went to the naval electronics school at Treasure Island
where I was taught basic electronics and naval communication equipment.
(About 6 months)

When I graduated from electronics school, I was assigned to the USS
Duncan DDR 874, a radar picket ship that is usually positioned far ahead of the
main fleet to detect any enemy threats as early as possible. This is when I learned
why I should not have joined the Navy. On my first, and only, cruise I was puking
my insides out before we were out of San Diego Harbor. It seldom got better
after that, but the Navy did not have any sympathy. But fate is always around the
corner! You just need to be ready to grab hold.

The USS Duncan was in a fleet exercise near Hawaii and the Duncan had
certain assignments it was to perform. As it would be, the key radar required to
perform our assignment went on the blink. In electronics school, I had been
assigned to communication equipment, so did not have much knowledge of radar
equipment at that time. However, electronics is electronics. I came out of the
communication room and the Chief and the 1st class petty officer were trying to
fix the radar. The Capitan of the Duncan was screaming mad. It was a small space
and I could not get past, so I observed the shapes on the oscilloscope, looked at
the schematic drawing (akin to a set of plans for a building, except for an
electronic device), and noticed there was a voltage regulator circuit involved. I
thought the shapes on the oscilloscope were the same as a voltage regulator that
had gotten out of its range and was trying to find it again. I told the Chief to
adjust the regulator. He did and, BAM, problem gone, radar working, Captain
happy and Chief could go change his underwear.

A few days later when the fleet exercise was completed, the Chief came to
me and said, “Jaacks, I know I have been leaning on you hard to make the Navy
your career, but now I owe you one and am telling you to get out when your
enlistment is over. I know you are seasick a lot and when we get back to San
Diego, if there is any chance to get you to shore duty, I will do it.” When we
returned to San Diego there was an order for the Duncan to send two ETs
(electronic technicians) to the Fleet Anti Warfare Training Center out near the end
of Point Loma. The Chief said he did not want to lose me from the USS Duncan,
but if I wanted to leave, he would allow me to do so. I took the new assignment
and spent the rest of my enlistment at that facility, plus 4 extra months because
the Russians were putting missiles in Cuba. During my tour of shore duty, I was
able to explore California and learn the joys of living here. I met some jazz
musicians and discovered I really liked jazz music which I still follow and listen to
today. The second good thing about my extension was still being in the Navy
when the 1st class petty officer exam results were released, and I had passed the
exam and was promoted a 1st class P.O. Electronic Technician (E6). This proved
beneficial acquiring future positions requiring electronics experience.

I was finally discharged in June ’62 and I returned to Iowa to figure out
what to do with my life after the Navy. My Dad and a brother worked for Iowa
DOT, and one day a new person walked into the shop and started looking around
and asking questions. Turned out he was an electrical engineer hired to set up a
statewide two-way radio system for Iowa DOT. My Dad told him about me and
that I had a 1st class FCC radio license. The man immediately hired me to install,
and do maintenance, for beta test sites before committing to installations in all 99
counties. I did that the summer of ’62. I lived in Ames, Iowa where Iowa State
University is located, and apartments were difficult to find. I lived in a basement
apartment, so did not know much about what was going on outside until I went
outside. I went out to go to work on a November morning and it was snowing.
While standing at my door looking at the snow, my telephone rang. It was a
recruiter from Philco Corp. offering me a position in a class to learn about a new
computer system they were getting ready to ship to customers. “Sounds good;
but give me a day to think about it.” Without going into detail, that day working
in the snow and slush made my decision to move on to a new adventure.

I went to Philadelphia and attended the class and was assigned to Ford
Aeronutronic in Newport Beach. There was already a larger Philco computer at
this site. Later I went back to Philadelphia for a class on this larger computer.
These were the days of punch cards, magnetic tape drives, raised floors in the
computer rooms for the miles of cables to connect all of the devices to the CPU.
There were no microchips in those days and the electrical components generated
so much heat it took tons of AC being forced through the cabinets of the
machines to keep them cool. It was my job, as well as others to keep all of this
equipment running. These computers were used for various administrative
purposes such as payroll, etc. but were heavily used for scientific purposes such
as missile design, etc. One of these larger computers was used by NORAD to track
missiles, objects in space, etc. A very powerful large scale scientific digital
computer at the time. Eventually I was promoted and put in charge of a similar
computer site at Chrysler Missile in Warren, Michigan.

I later moved back to California to work, at a new company trying to use
small computers that had become obsolete for their original design, for use as a
payroll system for small manufacturing shops. The computers were old design
and needed lots of AC to stay cool. The customers would not spend the money
for the required AC so the machines would overheat and fail. The CEO asked me
to pad the amount of time I spent at a customer’s site so he could bill the
customer for more time than I spent there. I said no and began my plan to exit
the company.

Remember fate being right around the corner? Around that same time, I
received a call from a V.P. from Philco asking if I would consider returning to
Philco. When I asked why, he related Philco had serious problems at the
Aeronutronic site. The person in charge was unable to get the situation under
control. He wanted me to come back to fix the problems, but I would need to
report to the person who was unable to fix the problems. A rather awkward
position. In that day computers required 24 hour coverage, so the technicians
were rotated through three 3 shifts; 8 am to 4 pm, 4 pm to midnight, and
midnight to 8 am. By this time, I had decided to go to college full time, but I
would still need to have a part time job. I saw an opportunity, so I told the V.P. I
would get them out of trouble if they met my conditions. I would only work the
4 pm to midnight shift, not rotating shifts. The person in charge did not rotate,
but always worked 8 am to 4 pm. We could pretend the other person was in
charge, and I could pretend I did not report to him if he left work before 4 pm and
I came in at 4 pm. Something like two ships passing in the dark. The response
was, “WE CANNOT DO THAT!” My response was “OK, GOOD LUCK. THANKS FOR
CONSIDERING ME.” Two days later, “OK! How soon can you report?” I ended up
with a full-time job with benefits while I would be going to college.

In about two weeks I had all of the problems resolved. I knew at that point,
from my past experience, I could keep everything purring along, barring any major
equipment failure, by doing two hours of preventative maintenance each shift.
That left me 6 hours to study and do my homework assignments. Greatest job
ever for going to school!! Just as I was to begin my final year at Long Beach State,
Aeronutronic decided to discontinue using the larger computer. They were going
to continue using the smaller computer I had installed when I first came to that
site years ago. Philco told me I would be terminated, and the in-charge person
would remain until the smaller computer was to be discontinued. Most of the
problems I had been brought back to resolve were associated with the smaller
computer system. DAH!

I was getting my degree in accounting and management, so I decided to see
if I had learned anything. I determined how much the spare parts were worth and
made a proposal to Aeronutronic that they purchase the spare parts (by this time
Ford Motor Co. had purchased Philco Corp., so Aeronutronic and Philco were both
part of Ford Motor Co.) and hire me part-time to tend to the repair needs of the
small computer system. It was a slam dunk when they saw how much they would
save with little to no risk. In that position, I came in about 7 am, went to the
cafeteria next door to the computer facility for breakfast, then checked out the
equipment and retired to my technical space to study and do my homework.
About 11:30 am I went back to the cafeteria and had lunch, made one more
inspection of the equipment and then went to Long Beach State for classes.
Another great set-up because I was single at the time. I completed my bachelor’s
degree at the same time the use of the small computer was discontinued.

Now to get a job with a Certified Public Accounting (CPA) firm. Long Beach
State held a career day near graduation whereas students could interview with
prospective employers. This was the early ‘70s before age discrimination laws. I
was 33 at the time. I interviewed with all of the “Big Eight Accounting Firms” as
they were known then. They were very forthright in telling me I was too old! We
want a person less than 25, with a wife and kids, a mortgage and car payments
and a picture of his wife and kids on his desk so he will say “YES” to the long hours
we will ask him to work for little pay. (You had to work two years for a CPA firm
to qualify for a CPA license, so they had the leverage.) A guy your age will balk at
that, so we will not hire you.

Shortly after my last scheduled interview, I ran into the man that organized
the career fair and he asked how my interviews were going. I told what I had
experienced. He thought he could get me an interview with a CPA firm in the next
lower tier of larger CPA firms during their lunch break. He made the
arrangements and I went to the interview with two representatives of the firm. I
decided I would take the lead in this interview. I walked in and said, “I am 33
years old and if that is a problem for you, let’s go have lunch and I will buy!”
Almost shocked them out of their chairs, but they said, “Let’s chat about you here
now.” I got hired.

I worked for this firm almost 4 years doing audits and other accounting
work for various clients in many different industries. Toward the end of my third
year, a partner came to me on a Friday and said, “Gary do you have any
experience doing percentage of completion accounting? I have a construction
client that wants to begin having an annual audit. I want you to work with this
client. Come to the office tomorrow and I will teach you percentage of
completion accounting.” I think you may be able to guess who the client was,
Raymond. I did work at Raymond and other clients for the CPA firm until August
1976. In August 1976 I became controller at Raymond. I had to convince Carl I
would not run off after a short time. I was divorced, since 1968, and Carl said he
had been burned when he had hired previous divorced men who later ran off
chasing a woman. I convinced Carl I would not do that to him, and he hired me. I
married Kay in October 1981 without running off. I am writing this in October
2020, and we are beginning our 40th year together.

I never dreamed of running Raymond. In a family owned company, if there
is a family member available, there will be a family member in charge. I knew I
would probably be the financial guy as long as I worked there. Carl and I were the
same age, and I worked closely with him from the beginning. He taught me about
the industry, the players in the industry, the key players in the company, etc. It
was a very productive situation. I thought I was doing a good job!? Then Carl
came to me one day and said, ‘Gary, I want you to get a Master’s Degree in
Business Administration (MBA). I said, “Carl, I am already a CPA, and I am tired of
going to school.” He said, “Your position requires an MBA, so if you want to
remain in the position, you need to get an MBA.” So, off to Claremont Graduate
School (CGU) where I was able to have a couple of classes taught by Peter
Drucker, known as the “Father” of modern management theory. More work all
day, drive to Claremont for classes twice a week and some Saturdays. Homework
the nights I had no classes and weekends. Carl did not give me 6 hours each day
to study like Philco had done!!!!

The experience was not pleasant in some ways for Kay and me at the time,
but when Carl got ill and I had to run the company, I was glad I had done it. As an
aside, because I was working, in class, or studying, Kay said she might as well join
me, so she went to CGU and got her MBA at the same time.

When I arrived at Raymond, I already knew a lot about their accounting and
administrative procedures, so I did not need time to learn how things worked.
My knowledge about wall and ceiling construction was very limited. Basically, I
knew they screwed gypsum board to metal studs and used big machines to spray
plaster onto walls covered with paper backed chicken wire. These were specific
processes of the wall and ceiling industry, like every industry has its processes to
produce the goods and or services to offer to their customers. Because Raymond
had been doing this since 1936, I figured they knew how to do it well. I thought
my contribution could be improving the management of the processes, managing
risk, and improving profitability, etc. At this time George M. Raymond Co. was the
primary company doing lath and plaster, much of it residential. Raymond Interior
Systems was the newer drywall company. Relative to today, things were simpler,
and the projects were smaller. I assumed the company would grow and better
controls would be required. Sure enough, over the ensuing years the commercial
projects got larger and the residential work went non-union so Raymond dropped
that segment of business.

I could see all kinds of uses for a computer, so I decided my first task was to
find a computer system and software that would work for a construction
company. In 1976 there were not a lot of choices for either computers or
computer programs for construction. I finally came across an IBM salesperson
who told me IBM had a new offing for contractors. The package consisted of an
IBM System 32, a small, but relatively powerful computer with a keyboard and
printer attached to one end; i.e. one input and output source, but no remote
terminals. IBM assured me the next model in this line, System 34, was in
development and would be expandable and support remote terminals for added
input capability.

I asked IBM to give me the documentation for the CMAS software
(Construction Management Accounting System) so I could review its capability.
CMAS was primarily designed for general contractors and did not have all of the
capabilities a specialty contractor that manages high cost labor would need, but
the basic framework was there to build around. I told the IBM salesperson we
would buy the system IF IBM would let us have a copy of the source code for
CMAS. That is normally a big NO! NO! I never knew if IBM said OK, or if the
salesperson snuck the source code out the back door, but he delivered the source
code and we purchased the system. At the time, I think Carl was wondering if this
new guy he had hired knew what the hell he was doing.

Now to make the system work for Raymond! I knew a programmer from
one of the other accounting clients I had done work for and knew he needed to
make extra money. He kept his job, but I hired him as a consultant to make the
changes to CMAS I wanted done. We modified payroll so it would work for a
union contractor. We made the job cost more sophisticated. We took an accounts
payable module that came with CMAS and changed the credits to debits and vice
versa to create an accounts receivable module, etc. We did this from 5pm until
1am weekdays, went home and got some sleep, and then back to our day jobs.
We would usually put in 8 -10 hours on Saturday. Once we had a specific module
complete, payroll for instance, an accounting person could begin entering the
employee info, pay rates, union fringes, payroll tax tables, etc. We did this for 3-4
months until we had a basic system we could rely on and go live with. From that
point we could concentrate on enhancements to reports management required.

Sometime later the System 34 came, and we were able to do more to
enhance the management systems and reports. As Raymond added other offices,
we went to a PC based system with LANs and WANs and new software that had
become available. It also allowed Raymond to do projects all over the U.S. It
allowed Raymond to segue into computer estimating quickly. As a matter of fact,
one of Raymond’s estimators grasped, and adopted, one of the first computer
estimating systems with such fervor she eventually became the CEO of that
company. Today Raymond runs digital systems, using digital plans, directing
machines to roll coils of steel into metal studs cut to the exact size required for a
specific wall, etc. on the project while the gypsum board required for the
assembly is being cut by a different machine. The components are assembled in a
factory/warehouse, palletized, shipped to the job site and put in place. No job
site debris and a safer workplace. I am extremely proud of my efforts to bring
Raymond into the computer age early, and they have continued to adopt the new
technologies and capabilities afforded by computer technology. When Carl
became ill and I began running the company, it was comforting to have the
management reports we had created, and I was thankful of all I had learned
about the business to create the reporting system. When I opened a Raymond
office in Las Vegas**, I knew I could monitor the activity there without physically
being there. Same when I opened a Raymond office in San Diego. It helped that I
had set up systems in Northern California when Carl bought a company there to
create a Raymond presence.

The other thing that gave me comfort was I knew the people I would have
to work with and trust. One of the things that attracted me to Raymond in the
first place was the culture I experienced when I was doing work there for the CPA
firm. I wanted to protect that culture so at some point in time I made it a policy
to interview every person hired that was not a tradesperson. If they did not meet
my culture test they were not hired. By the time I was running the company I
had been involved hiring most of the non-field personnel.

One other thing I am proud of doing at Raymond, for numerous reasons,
was a safety program. I did not know much about insurance other than it was
something a company had to have. One day shortly after I started working at
Raymond the insurance agent came to meet with Carl and Jim Pecora and they
asked me to come meet the agent. The agent said he had renewed the insurance
and needed a check for $xxx,xxx. My jaw dropped, but I kept quiet. After the
agent left, I asked how the process worked. For the dollars involved I thought we
should have gotten competitive bids. From that day on I used a risk management
consultant to renew insurance every year. Three brokers were chosen to give
quotes. We chose the broker we thought would give us the most for our dollar
throughout the policy period. That was not always the lowest quote at renewal
time. Result: Better coverage, better service and lower cost.

I did some research and found the workmen’s compensation (WC) was the
big dollar insurance. I found out WC premium was $x per $100 of payroll
modified by an experience modification (Xmod) based on accident losses. Wow,
this can be a forever growing cost as union wages went up, the company grew,
and especially if you did not control accident losses. I told Carl and Jim I was
going to start a safety program. They chuckled and said, “Go ahead but it won’t
work.” I started holding safety meetings in Montebello in 1978 and led almost
every safety meeting, even though I had to drive or fly to the remote offices to do
so, until I retired in 2004. I ran the foreman safety meetings, then the foremen
held a safety meeting at their job site. Because Raymond’s projects were all over
the greater LA basin, I had a young woman that kept track of insurance, safety,
etc. set up foremen meeting places in different areas so the foremen did not have
to always drive to our office. We had food and soft drinks, we always had a safety
topic to talk about, and we acknowledged safety achievements with personal
recognition and a small non-monetary gift, usually a personalized coffee cup. The
greatest reward for me in this process was getting to know the foremen.
Everyone in the company is important, but if you don’t have foremen who can
organize a crew to execute that set of plans within the “estimate” the office
turned out, you are in trouble. These guys (not enough gals) were smart,
creative, talented, great supervisors and managers. I have the greatest respect
for them, and I really enjoyed being among them at these meetings and on the
job sites. It was, and is, amazing what they can achieve.

When I began the safety program Raymond’s Xmod was say 1.15 for an
example. That means if the WC rate was $10 per $100 of payroll, Raymond would
have to pay $11.50 because of accident losses. In a couple of years, I had
Raymond’s Xmod down to 0.39, or $3.90 per $100 of payroll. It was impossible to
hold the Xmod that low, but the safety program made it possible to keep
Raymond’s Xmod below 1.00 most of the time after that. It was good for the men
because there were fewer injuries. It was good for the company because it made
Raymond more competitive, or more profitable, however you played the cost
advantage. During my time at Raymond, the safety program saved several million
dollars of insurance premiums. I suspect that is still the case.

Now, 40+ years later, I hear and read, a safety program and good safety
record is almost mandatory to qualify to work on some projects.

I spent 28 years at Raymond and got to see and participate in the
company’s growth and development, and for that matter, my own development.
I have concentrated on how I got to Raymond, the systems I created to manage
risk. I developed great relationships with the bank and bonding company by
having these risk management systems, so much so that all personal guarantees
were removed, and Raymond had essentially unlimited borrowing and bonding
capacity. I got to know and respect the other wall and ceiling contractors in
WWCCA. I saw Raymond do some fantastic projects in California and Nevada,
other states throughout the U.S., and even Hong Kong. Raymond did great
projects with Martin Bros. as joint venture partners. I even enjoyed WWCCA
meetings with Doug McCarron at The Pacific Dining Car, a Los Angeles landmark.
Sadly, it just closed, a casualty of the pandemic.

In short, I really enjoyed my career at Raymond, and being part of the wall
and ceiling industry. I have no regrets, and no regrets about my so far 16 years of
retirement. Before I retired, we bought a townhome in Kelowna, British Columbia
and we spent our summers there for about 11 years. I could jump in my Jeep any
time and go flyfishing in the local mountains. Also, fate smiled on me once again.
When we sold the townhouse, I was looking at the tax ramifications and exchange
rates. It turned out at the time we purchased the townhome and transferred U.S.
dollars to Canada, it happened to be the lowest Canadian dollar against the U.S.
dollar ever.

Being in the wall and ceiling industry was the reason for this little aside. I
had had a couple of meetings about buying a wall and ceiling company in Seattle.
Northwest Wall and Ceiling Association (NWCA) was holding their convention in
Kelowna, so I wanted to attend to meet some of the other NWCA contractors.
Kay went with me and checked out Kelowna while I was attending the
convention. A deal in Seattle never occurred because the person I was talking to
passed away on the golf course sometime later and the family decided not to sell.

Kelowna is the fruit basket of western Canada and was becoming the Napa
Valley of British Columbia. Kay fell in love with Kelowna. NWCA had events
planned for the wives during the day and one event was a trip to the Kettle Valley
Trestles in the mountains above Kelowna. This is an old railroad bed that has
been converted to a several mile-long bike path. Because of the mountain
terrain, this bike path had 10-12 trestles spanning the ravines. Spectacular place!
On this outing Kay saw the entrance to a residential development along the road
going there.
 
When it was time to leave, we were driving farther north to a huge ranch
that had a great flyfishing lake, Kay would not leave Kelowna until we went to the
development behind the gates she had seen. It was a beautiful development with
fabulous views, two golf courses and lots of amenities. They were just beginning
the third phase of some townhomes on a ridge at the edge of the development.
We saw a lot with only the basement and foundation completed that had a great
view into the canyon where Mission Creek ran on its way to Okanogan Lake.
When we moved in, and were living there, we discovered there was a wild animal
pathway along Mission Creek. This gave us a chance to watch the bear, deer
coyotes, etc. moved around seeking food safety. It also had a view of huge cliff
structure carved by Mission Creek over the eons. It was called Layercake
Mountain, because in the winter, snow on the ledges in the face of the cliff made
it look like a chocolate cake with white frosting. We decided since I was retiring in
a few months, and the Canadian dollar was low against the U.S. dollar we would
not lose much if it did not work out. We talked the sales office into taking a credit
card deposit to hold that lot for us until we got home to send a check deposit.

This turned out to be a really great decision. We made great Canadian
friends that we traveled with to other countries. We had many American friends
visit us there. Dick and Geri Peckham visited us there and we rode bikes on the
Kettle Valley Trestles trail. I even have pictures of Dick chasing a black bear off
the trail. This side venture to B.C. was a great way to make my segue into
retirement, all made possible by being part of Raymond and the Southern
California wall and ceiling industry.
 
After 2008, some of the contractors said they envied me because I was not
having to deal with the difficult times created by the recession. But construction
has always had good times and bad times, and that will not change.
Unfortunately, I have the feeling the Covid-19 pandemic may create the most
major dislocating changes in commercial real estate in a long time, if not ever.
Covid-19 was so unexpected companies had to switch to digital processes and
allow employees to work at home so quickly they did not have time to make a
planned decision about the change. The pandemic has dragged on long enough
that some of the same companies are finding it is actually working for them. If
these changes last, and some will, the need for office space is going to collapse,
and most wall and ceiling work is about creating space! With excess space in
existing buildings, new towers won’t be needed. Without people traveling, huge
air terminals will not need to be refurbished. If people are afraid to be in large
crowds, new casinos will not be needed. In other words, where will the huge
projects come from to provide work for the increased capacity the wall and ceiling
industry has built up since recovering from the 2008 recession? Hospitals maybe?
Will the Chinese build see thru towers like the Japanese did? Will the use of the
office towers return after the HVAC contractors equipment them with high-tech
air filtering systems? Lots of questions and uncertainty, and few answers until the
pandemic plays out, which may take a long time.



*
“Correctionville, Iowa boasts the longest single-word name of
any Iowa city. The city gets its name from a surveying practice of
making correction lines. ... Since the city's central East/West
street, Fifth St., was laid along such a correction line, the city
was named after the practice.”
**
When I worked at the CPA firm, I worked on the Caesar’s World Inc. (CWI)
account. CWI was the holding company that owned Caesar’s Palace in
Las Vegas. Raymond performed a lot of work