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A Mission for Metal Construction

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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 involvement.

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.

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