In an interview with construction website Construction Dive, Chuck Goodrich, CEO and president of the Indianapolis-based Gaylor Electric, which works in 27 different US states, says that not all is doom and gloom in the future of construction, as some have been predicting.
“We’ve been fortunate that our work has been considered essential in all jurisdictions we work in. We haven’t had a site shut down for even a day, although some of our service accounts have wavered as factories shut down and didn’t need us to keep their operations running.
“We had to lay off about 200 people out of 1,500, but about 30% of them are back now, and the rest will be back by the end of the month.
“Now that things are getting back to normal, we’ve started to see a tightening of work. We have been maintaining a backlog of about $230 million, and as a $300 million company that makes sense. In February and March, we picked up $30 million each month in new work, and that number went down to $15.6 million in April. In total, we are down about 10% in revenue at this point.”
When asked about where he sees the future of construction, he is optimistic.
“It looks to me like the availability of work has slowed, and indications from economists and ABC are that we’re going to see pretty a tough scenario in the third and fourth quarters and into the first quarter of 2021, but after that we should see a pretty big lift in the economy.
“Where we once thought everything was pointing to a record-setting economy this year, the way things are turning out has got people worried. I do think we will have a stumble because of the virus — there’s no way the economy doesn’t see the effects of this as a three- or four-month slowdown.
“But I’m cautiously optimistic, and here’s why I say that: Have you ever gone to Cape Canaveral to watch a rocket take off? If so, you’d know the way the rocket shakes as it’s getting ready to blast off. That’s how construction is right now, just waiting to take off again. We want to be prepared for when that time comes.”