Our goal is to make ENR the most useful resource for construction professionals all the time—but especially during times of crisis. This week, we bring you intensive coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic—see stories on p. 10 and p. 32. It is the latest in decades of responding to earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis and war.
This week we mark the retirement of one of our war correspondents, Andrew Wright, who embedded with Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 7 supporting the First Marine Expeditionary Force in 2003 during the conflict in Iraq. Wright’s own military service in Vietnam was with the Army. He moved with the Seabees into Southern Iraq and then moved on to cover the reconstruction efforts in Baghdad. Wright, who came to ENR in 1992 as a technology editor, previously covered mining for Coal Age. He shifted to support the magazine’s growing environmental coverage in 1994 and then to leading development of our growing website, ENR.com. His most recent job was national news director. Wright says assignments took him to more than 20 countries.
Virgilio Mendoza, a database coordinator and well-known to firms ranked on ENR’s top lists, also retires this week. Mendoza started at ENR in 1999 and was critical in transitioning the surveys to an online database. He was the point person for continuing survey platform upgrades and worked tirelessly to ensure the top lists were published accurately and on time. He knew the firms and the markets so well he could spot inadvertent errors that participants might make in their own data entry—a misplaced decimal point or numbers entered in the wrong market sector, for example.
In contrast to other disaster coverage, the current outbreak is permeating every home and business in the U.S. and around the world. It isn’t the first pandemic we have covered. The same year Wright was in Iraq, ENR wrote about the SARS pandemic. In 1918, we wrote about the tens of thousands of fatalities in major U.S. cities from Spanish flu. Editors at the time felt advances such as safe water supplies helped save lives, writing: “What the death toll would have been under old time conditions, can only be imagined.” Will we be able to echo that statement in this crisis?