Industry Image Is Morphing

The editorial "Industry Image Initiative May Be Dying" (ENR 5/10 p. 48) accurately describes the meeting of the National Construction Industry Image steering committee as a watershed event. The purpose of the meeting was to reflect on achievements and to refine the vision of Chairman Pete Wert, who led the start-up effort.

We are indebted to Pete for tilling the rocky soil of cynicism and industry self-deprecation. Under his leadership the committee launched the National Hard Hat Heroes award program and developed an industry recruiting DVD that speaks to the interests of future generations to make a difference in the world, repair the unintended damage done by our built environment and enhance our collective quality of life. The committee also established a network of change agents who proactively exchange best practices and innovative solutions for local application. In his final act as chairman, Pete challenged the group to redefine the future of the industry.

The editorial provides a cautionary warning in citing the failure of past efforts to change the industry image. The decision to abandon the classic committee structure reflects careful study of the issue. The adopted "champions" structure is a solution for a new era.

It is unfortunate that the editorial failed to grasp that what was happening in Dallas was a metamorphosis. Rumors of our death were greatly exaggerated!

Welcome Vets with Jobs

I was so impressed with the initiative of the cover story "Helmet to Hardhats" (ENR 6/14 p. 28) that I read it twice. It is very important that we, the people of a free, democratic country, welcome back our military servicepersons and give them the opportunity to earn the living they sacrificed while in the military. This has not been the case in the recent past.

My brother served in the Army during the Vietnam war. He was drafted out of a Ph.D. program in laser physics to serve for three years. Upon his discharge in 1972, jobs were few and there was little to no help from the Army. One hundred rejection letters were devastating to his self esteem, resulting in his characteristically accepting a low-paying job.

Bill Gaul is to be applauded for seeing the void in the system and starting The Destiny Group.

Arlington Heights, Ill