Hoping that you all had a great and blessed holiday season! With everything happening in the world, it is nice to reflect on how lucky we are to be in the best industry in the best country in the world. (Yes, we’re still the best country!) Let me spend a little time on how I saw the results of 2022 and then chat a little bit about what I see facing us in 2023 and making the most of whatever cards we are dealt! In talking to a lot of other companies, as well as the company I work with, Summit Companies, 2022 was a very good year. Backlogs increased and are still in very good shape. There didn’t appear to be a weakness evident in any part of the Summit footprint, which exists in a good portion of the United States. Budgets were attained while growth reached double digits! With over 200 open positions still posted for Summit, it’s still a labor issue and not a workflow issue. 2022 was indeed a very good year from my perspective. Other industry folks have talked about what they thought of 2022, and their comments are included in this edition of Sprinkler Age. Please review this article to see how people in your market saw 2022 and what they feel like 2023 has to offer. Our goal here is to get you as prepared as possible to take your company to the next level and to survive whatever our economy throws at us.
As many of us know, at least those of us around my age, we are a lagging industry when it comes to the “R” word (not saying it here). We see it coming even if we’re unsure how deep or how long it might last. We prepare for it in many ways;
• Maintain a profitable backlog to carry us through (profitable is the keyword)
• Focusing on our ITM divisions that actually grow if the “R” word happens
• Cash is king, so we manage our balance sheets by focusing on AR and only spending money on things we must purchase, and being fiscally responsible … more than normal
• As well as other focused initiatives
In this edition of Sprinkler Age, projections for 2023 will be discussed by folks who are more knowledgeable about the economy than I am. FMI, Dodge, ABC, and others have provided comments on how they see the construction industry moving forward into 2023. Make sure you read that article so you, too, will know what to expect in the upcoming year.
Whatever happens, understand that AFSA is here for you!! We are here to help you prepare with our outstanding training programs. Whether it’s our existing ITM and designer training programs or the new Apprentice Training Program, AFSA’s exemplary training materials and instructors will prepare you for what you’re facing today, as well as what might be facing our industry in the latter part of 2023. See articles included in this edition of Sprinkler Age for more detail on these training programs. Remember that during the Great Recession in 2008 that hit us in 2009, AFSA maintained all the services we provide to our members. The Board of Directors made decisions based upon the needs of our members, not so much the status of our bank account. God forbid we ever have to face another one as we did in 2008, but AFSA has already shown you what the response will be from our Board.
May God continue to watch over this association today and throughout 2023. May He also bless you always and in all ways.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: At-Large Director and Chair Jack A. Medovich, P.E., is president & CEO and founding partner of Fire & Life Safety America, formerly known as East Coast Fire Protection Inc., in Richmond, Virginia. A 1983 graduate of the University of Maryland School of Fire Protection Engineering, Medovich served three years as fire marshal of Fairfax County, Virginia, before joining the fire sprinkler industry 35 years ago. He has been active in AFSA since 1991, is past chair of the Chesapeake Bay Chapter, and served as the chair of the Virginia Chapter and a member of its board of directors for many years. He represents AFSA on the Correlating Committee of NFPA 13, 13R, 13D, 24, and 291. In the past, he has served as a member of the following NFPA committees: NFPA 14, 20, 25, 101 and 750.