The future and how we plan for it seem extremely uncertain at first glimpse.

This issue ofRoofing Contractormarks our 20th anniversary — 20 years of reporting on an industry on the move, an industry of change.

I could ramble on about the many advances that the roofing and insulation industries have made over the past 20 years. It had been my intention to take advantage of this bully pulpit to simply wax nostalgic about the past 20 years of this publication.

Change, however, has again moved the agenda.

We find our federal government in the business of prosecuting a war against the terrorists and nations that support the terrorists responsible for the atrocities of September 11th. Our nation has settled into what will be a long and protracted war effort, and we have been urged to carry on with our enterprises so the mighty engine of the world’s economy will maintain the ability to sustain life and freedom.

So we must go on with our business. The future and how we plan for it seem extremely uncertain at first glimpse. But stop and consider that we do have history on which to reflect. True, the devastating attack on American soil by cowardly and maniacal enemies was unprecedented. But the cycle of a wartime economy will probably be borne out again in a similar fashion as in conflicts of the past. Most recently we have the experience of the Gulf War. The economy and many of our businesses suffered for what turned out to be a relatively short period of time. This was followed by nearly a decade of growth.

Several issues ago we put forth the notion that as the nation’s economy was cooling it might be a good time to consider growth initiatives. It might be a good time to begin planning for a return to more robust sales. While our nation being at war does change many things, it does not change the basic elements of business cycles and how that affects our business planning. The length and depth of the “bottom” may have moved a bit, but most of the fundamentals have remained the same and interest rates are incredibly low. So I’m sticking with the same line that this is a great time to begin planning on your next expansion. A time to consider at least the obvious advantages we have today in financing or acquiring business improvements.

It may seem crass to illuminate this in a time when lives have been lost, and many more are at risk. My sons are in their early 20s and I have two brothers in the Air Force. So I, like many Americans, have a very personal stake in this conflict. But consider how many people in the world count on the economy of the United States for their prosperity, if not their very existence. Everyone in this economy has a job to do, and we are no different or any less important. The military-industrial complex that is capable of defending our nation counts on our services for its day-to-day operations and to house the individuals who carry on the same.

We must carry on.

It was a time of change in the early 80s when roofing contractor Danny Carson along with Deborah Currier-Liftig cooked up the idea of publishing a magazine for roofing contractors to address the issues unique to contractors, simply called Roofer Magazine. I dedicate this issue and this 20th anniversary to my friend Danny, himself a decorated war veteran, whose passing we had the sad duty of reporting recently. We work hard to honor the original ideal of editing our magazine “for the contractor,” and look forward with great anticipation toward the next 20 years. Change and all.