Full Speed Ahead!

PETER GERSTENBERGER

Out of the proverbial frying pan …

It seems like only yesterday – oh wait, it was yesterday – that we were all feeling the downstream effects of COVID. Supply-chain issues caused interminable delays on the delivery of new equipment and supplies. A single COVID case would cause an entire business to shut down for the duration of a quarantine. An unhealthy portion of the already-tight labor pool simply evaporated like rain on hot asphalt. Fuel prices doubled in a matter of months.

We’re a trade association and a publisher, and we feel these things too. Two months ago, our cost to print what you’re reading right now jumped 17%, and we expect it to increase 4% month over month for the next six to nine months.

Much of that is the paper. Paper is a commodity market and has historically been subject to up-and-down cycles, but it’s different this time. COVID initially reduced demand and caused some mills to either close or retool for more lucrative markets, like cardboard for boxes. That’s right, Amazon thrived while the print media suffered.

Thankfully for most of us, the work has been there. Most folks in tree care held their own or even thrived despite COVID, because the work was there. But now, disposable income and consumer demand seem threatened by what’s on the horizon. Things likely will get worse before they get better – but they will get better.

In a recession, member organizations like TCIA suffer along with our members, while, ironically, the demand for the services we offer increases.

A very wise man used to say, “When the economy is down, education is up.” Al Shigo’s words more than 20 years ago have proven to be prophetic over and over.

So, if anything, we’re speeding up. We will focus even more on high-quality content to help you be more proficient and more profitable. We are going to bring you a killer TCI EXPO this fall, full of education and innovation on many levels. Next year, for the first time in almost 20 years, we’re adding an expansive new venue to the TCI EXPO rotation.

And if fuel prices and other concerns keep you closer to home, we’re going to bring the education to you with innovative, interactive, online learning courses. Further, we’re empowering trainers everywhere to take full advantage of these new offerings.

In short, we’re growing because you need us to grow. We plan for our gross revenue – what you call sales – to grow. But we also project that our net income from operations – what you call profit – will be zero. We’re committed to helping this industry survive and flourish no matter what comes, and we’re not going to do that by being conservative or timid.

Peter Gerstenberger, publisher

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