From Bob’s Desk: Recession talk

Recessions make me nervous.

In my 40+ years here at Elm I have been through three major economic recessions. They were in 1990, 2001 and 2008.

The worst for us was 1990. It had a major impact on the construction business. The cause was sloppy bank lending to builders and developers. Several regional banks failed and some folks even went to jail for fraud. Elm was much smaller then and we came very close to running out of work that year. As a company built on its good people we never want to run out of work. I was pretty freaked out when we had only a couple weeks of work. But we landed a couple of projects and things began to recover. Ever since then when I hear the word “recession,” I get nervous.

In contrast to what we are all seeing and hearing in the media business, at Elm our business continues to be strong and normal. Tim Rzeszutek told me yesterday his backlog is good and we will need to work to get it all done. Derek Helie and the One Development team just landed an industrial building project that will anchor that group for over a year. Mike Holmberg tells me the engineering group has enough work and good prospects, but can’t get materials because of supplier shortages that have existed since COVID. This has put a serious drag on our automation business.

Construction and industrial service work has held steady. Keith Saltmarsh feels the outlook is okay. We continue to bid and get projects at appropriate pricing levels, and our industrial client activity is normal.

While I admit to being a bit nervous, our actual data and backlog look pretty good and some recessions seem to pass us by. As always, if you know anyone who would be a good fit here at Elm send them in.

Thanks for all you do!

Bob Bacon

PS – Now would be a great time to increase your 401K contribution while the market is down.