A decade after taking over the ironworkers’ union at a particularly low point in its history, General President Joseph J. Hunt, 68, is stepping down, expressing confidence that the union now is one of the most “transparent and progressive” in the building trades. Replacing him—as of Feb. 1 in an expected succession—will be Walter Wise, general secretary since 2008. The union has 125,000 members, according to a spokesman. Hunt took over the top post of the Washington, D.C.-based International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Iron Workers in 2001, several months after the resignation of his predecessor, Jake West,
The market is generally healthy and steadily growing, and margins are up for large specialty contractors. Further, advances in design tools and owner demand for collaboration are giving subcontractors a seat at the table early on in projects.