Paul D. Little, CEO, Alston Construction Co.
“Resilient” was the term that we used to describe our staff and operations throughout the past year. At Alston, we have learned to embrace change and to face the challenges and obstacles that are in front of us, head-on. The challenges we have dealt with have come in multiple forms. There were pandemic related issues, supply chain disruptions, cost escalation, political divisiveness and labor shortages. The list goes on and on!
However, and in spite of all of these challenges, we have continued our growth trajectory, added staff and expanded our client base. In fact, we have increased our work-in-place by more than 25% year over year for the last 5 years. Perhaps more importantly, our safety performance metrics have improved during this same period. Certainly, the market conditions have contributed mightily to our success, but you cannot deny the strength of our people, their resiliency, and their passion for defending our culture that has sustained us through these unique and challenging times.
Our outlook for 2022 is very optimistic. We entered the new year with record backlog and healthy prospects for continued growth with repeat customers. With historically low vacancy rates in the warehouse distribution space, e-commerce will continue to drive our core business. Additionally, we are focused on food and beverage production facilities, freezer-cooler space and manufacturing buildings, as more of the production of household goods returns to the U.S. We have also made great strides in the multi-family segment. Finally, we have modernized our entire suite of software systems to help improve our efficiency and have continued to ramp up our Virtual Design and Construction capabilities to help better serve our customers with a highly advanced service platform.
We certainly anticipate a few headwinds in 2022. The world economy, including the U.S., is predicted to slow over the coming year. The Federal Reserve has indicated that it will likely have multiple interest rate increases during the year to help stave off the current high inflationary period. These factors along with persistent labor shortages, increases in construction costs and uncertainty due to the ongoing pandemic, will likely continue to present challenges to the commercial construction market throughout 2022.
The good news is that we are seeing some stabilization in commodity pricing, and in some areas, coming back down. We are also seeing improvement in factory production of key building components. Lead times for deliveries of materials are also shrinking in places, which should improve pricing structures.
While the current conditions create a mixed bag of opportunities and challenges, Alston’s culture of people-first priorities, resiliency, versatility and creativity positions us well to continue our trajectory of growth in 2022.
Thank You for a Successful 2021
In 2021, Alston’s 35th year in business, we reached the most man hours in our history, added many new team members, and started/completed nearly 300 projects across the country. Across all business units, Alston completed over 28.5 Million SF of construction in 2021, and we’ve grown our national footprint and committed to opening 4 new offices in Boise, ID, Alexandria, VA, Austin, TX, and a second location in Nashville, TN.