Editor's Log: Christmas Wishes

By Robert Carpenter, Editor | December 2009 Vol. 64 No. 12

This December brings one of the most disconcerting periods we’ve ever faced as an industry. There are so many factors impacting the underground infrastructure market that it is hard to grasp all the implications, let alone find solid direction for which to set course in 2010.

Forecasts and outlooks vary. We’ll do our best in the January issue to project market prospects. We all endeavor to persevere in these uncertain times, but I do think 2010 will mark industry improvement. But perhaps a little optimism and good cheer wouldn’t hurt.

With that in mind, I felt it appropriate to share these special Christmas wishes I’ve considered from an industry perspective. ’Tis the season to reflect and hope that these wishes come to pass.

Peace: For goodness' sake, stop the aggressive attacks on business. Why is our government so focused on rushing through potentially harmful legislation without so much as a “by-your-leave"? In addition to the well-known, break-neck push for government insurance, carbon taxes and international green accords, there are a plethora of pending rules, regulations, strategic appointments and alarming concepts all aimed at business.

While the underground utility and pipeline construction markets have seen much consolidation over the past 10 years, still, the majority of infrastructure work is done by smaller, local or regional firms. This full frontal assault on business will hit the small companies with just as much overwhelming force as the majors. To pull out of this recession with any hope for long-term stability, business much be allowed to prosper.

Patience: The markets are starting to come back, albeit slowly and with some difficulty. Some will see recovery in the first half of 2010, while others will continue to struggle until later in the year or even 2011.