The week of Thanksgiving is historically “minor” in the construction industry. I usually take it off because it is one of those times when, no matter what my areas of responsibility lie, the phone just does not ring. So it is easy to click off my brain and relax. Not this year; did not budget my time off correctly.

So the plan for the week was to get some of the things done that usually do not because they take more than the average amount of focus. Besides being a bit ADD, my work lends itself to constant interruptions. Not complaining; it is nice to be needed and I like to solve problems. The week went along just fine and was slow as usual but the news affecting the roofing industry was pretty spectacular on several fronts.

In no particular order, here are the things that captured my attention in the three-day week: President Obama signed the bill repealing the 2006 law calling for the retention of 3 percent on payments to contractors on payments more than $10,000. NRCA and many other business groups lobbied hard for this bill, which went largely unopposed through both houses of the Congress.

We received word on Tuesday that Tecta America COO, Brynne Smith, was promoted to President and CEO. Current CEO, Mark Santacrose, will assume the role of Chairman. Santacrose has been President and CEO of Tecta America since 2001 and oversaw its growth from 16 locations and $160 million in revenue to more than 40 locations and more than $400 million in revenue. Perhaps more notable was the fact that he oversaw the successful consolidation of large commercial roof contracting firms following several years of failed attempts by others seeking to launch the model ‘nationwide’ roofing company made up of existing firms.     

Last, but certainly not least, we received word by way of the American Trucking Association (ATA) that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and Pipelines and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration issued the final rule to ban the use of hand-held cell phones by commercial vehicle drivers.

According to the ATA release, the rule allows for the continued use of hands free devices stating "The Agency (FMCSA) does not believe sufficient data exist to justify a ban of both handheld and hands-free use of mobile telephones by drivers operating CMVs in interstate commerce."

Note also that the rule bans the use of push-to-talk technology which the agencies consider to be cell phone technology but does not ban the use of CB radios because "The use of CB and two-way radios and other electronic devices by CMV drivers for other functions is outside the scope of consideration in this rulemaking."

And, in spite of all the challenges in our world, nation and industry, we all have much to be thankful for. Not to mention a nice four-day vacation. Let the holidays begin!