Vice Chairman’s Message by Steve Eckert – The Aggregate Industry, A Look Back at 2020 and Looking Forward to 2021
We all know the issues that we faced last year with COVID-19 and the impact it had on our daily lives from toilet paper shortages, to wearing masks everywhere we go, to people working from home, or worse, losing their job. For the aggregates industry in Texas, there were challenges in keeping workers and customers safe, not knowing if jobs were going to be cancelled due to available funding, or if the supply chains would be impacted.
Despite all these struggles and challenges that were faced; the industry fared better than a lot of other ones. Construction was deemed a critical industry, the weather cooperated for the most part, and both fortunately and unfortunately, good workers were easier to find and hire. The frac sand industry took a big hit in March due to the price of oil and the energy industry downturn, but this put skilled workers back into the job-hunting market, and current employees were not looking for an opportunity to jump ship for a nickel more.
2021 is looking to be another good production and sales year as the vaccine started rolling out this past December, giving everyone a glimmer of hope. There were additional dollars put towards infrastructure; commercial projects are relooking at their backlog, and hopefully will release some of those dollars.
Either way, Texas is continuing to grow as more and more people relocate here, and that requires materials to build their homes, subdivisions, schools, grocery stores and a multitude of other infrastructure. We will have to see what all shakes out with the new Federal Administration, and yes, it is another year that the Texas Legislature meets, so we will need to stay on top of proposed bills. One thing for sure, it will not be business as usual, and the industry will adjust as they have in the past.
TMRA Vice Chairman