By Paul Deffenbaugh
What is the mission for the members of the metal construction
industry? Sell more products? Build more buildings? Yes, of course,
both of those. But the mission is also greater than that. The
mission for any business or industry is greater than that.
If we focus only on revenue and profitability, I believe, we
lose sight of what can be truly important and great about our
industry. We lose the ability for businesses to impact our country
in a far greater way.
Consider what we create. Our industry constructs commercial,
industrial and municipal buildings that become environments for
learning, productivity and change. Without a dynamic built
environment, utilizing the latest technologies and efficiencies,
those buildings become little more than shacks to keep the rain
off. We're so much more than that.
I have long believed that every business should have a clear
mission statement. And every mission statement should include as a
key point this phrase: "to be a valued part of the community."
For every metal construction business-from manufacturers to
contractors to fabricators to installers-that means we are involved
in the community in which we work by providing jobs and security to
families, resources for the improvement of the community such as
roads and schools, and a toxic-free environment which allows the
whole community to thrive.
Companies that earn revenue and profit and don't strive for
those other goals can be detrimental to the community. (Of course,
they're not as detrimental as companies that don't earn any profit.
You have to make money to be able to provide value.)
We sometimes need to remind others of the value we provide, and
we sometimes need to fight to remind people of that value. But if
we keep our eye on that mission-to be a valued part of the
community-all that we do will more easily be recognized.
I know that with NIMBY attitudes and "no-growth" sentiment, the
construction industry often faces more pushback than others. But I
know many businesses that have been able to smooth the most
contentious moments because they have sterling reputations in their
communities. They achieved that through long-effort and concerned
Let me come at this in another way. If you pick a strong
community, I think you will find these three attributes: strong
schools, vibrant spiritual involvement and steady businesses.
Remove one of those legs and the stool will topple.
The metal construction industry is a steady business that is
essential to the overall health of our communities, whether that
community is local or national. That's our value. We need to remind
people of that.