Since graduating with my construction management degree in 1990, I’ve been making a long-term observation about the business world at large. A growing number of global industries have been completely reinvented by some of the world’s most daring and successful leaders – who have inspired radical change and massive growth and profitability.
Ted Turner chose the cable television industry. Jeff Bezos chose online retailing. Steve Jobs chose personal computers, smart phones, tablets, and the entire music industry. Elon Musk chose e-commerce, electric cars, solar power and space exploration. And the list goes on. All of our lives would be qualitatively different right now, if those people had focused on smaller industries or settled for anything less than absolute revolution.
As I marvel at their accomplishments, I’ve realized that perhaps my highest intention when speaking to construction professionals is really a call to action – to inspire and challenge the most talented people of our industry to kick things up another notch ASAP. The faster we up our own game, the better chance we have of competing with other global industries to attract elite entrepreneurs, and our fair share of the creative, intelligent young people entering the work force.
I often wonder – who will be our industry’s Elon Musk?
Maybe it’s you. Or someone you know who has that kind of potential.
As an industry, we need and deserve that level of change agency. After all, what we do for a living is undeniably important to the world. It’s up there with water, food, and energy. Stop and think about it. Nearly everywhere you go outside of your own home was built by the commercial construction industry. We literally fail to touch no one.
There are only a handful of industries on the planet that are truly essential to human civilization—and ours is one of them.
Some of the places and spaces we’ve all helped to build are awe-inspiring. They’re beautiful works of art that stand as a testament to our ingenuity, craftsmanship, and endurance—and yet, they fail to attract the growing number of brilliant minds required to propel us ever-forward, in pace with our global industry competitors. Unfortunately, most of today’s uber-talented youth still wants to go work for those other guys. Can we blame them?
Perhaps our future lies in how quickly we can make the construction process . . . the experience . . . the industry itself . . . equally sexy to the buildings we build.
This is our collective call to action.
Coty Fournier is a U.S. commercial construction executive, entrepreneur, author, and keynote speaker with sustained success in construction operations and business development, on both sides of the Owner-Contractor equation. She is also the co-founder and former CEO of Jobsite123.com, acquired by The Blue Book Network® in May 2013. In addition to her leadership role as Vice President of Network Solutions for The Blue Book Network®, she continues to serve the commercial construction industry as one of its most prominent thought leaders on industry relationships, executive talent development, and marketing platforms. For more information, connect with Coty on LinkedIn, or email her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org