• The Pallet as an Economic Indicator

      The lowly pallet was first developed in ancient Mesopotamia, as products were moved on a skid like device. The real development of pallets occurred in the 1930’s, as forklifts were first introduced into the workplace. While we think of pallets in the traditional form (wood), variations of plastic and steel have also found a

    Read more

  • Giving Back

    For more than 40 years Habitat for Humanity has been building homes around the world.  Their unique “sweat equity” model of providing housing for those less fortunate, has provided more than 800,000 units, on every continent but Antarctica.  As compared to the largest US home builders, (DR Horton, Pulte and others), Habitat for Humanity would

    Read more

  • And Now the News!

    It’s commonly known that politicians from Winston Churchill to JFK scanned numerous newspapers each morning to stay abreast of the world, national and local happenings.  As recently as the 1980’s, it was considered the height of luxury to have a newspaper delivered to one’s bedside (presumably by a butler).  In fact, in the fanciest of

    Read more

  • Round Barns

    The fall harvest is underway.  As the combines efficiently capture the spring planting, we are reminded of a unique architectural element of the Illinois farm landscape………the round barn. The round barn is not an American creation.  Rather, the first circular structures were created in Europe.  But America quickly adopted round barns as their own.  In

    Read more

  • Irma & Harvey – What’s the economic impact of the hurricanes?

    Miami, Florida, while not suffering a direct hit from Hurricane Irma, offered up one of the more enduring images of the damage left behind. Three large construction cranes in downtown Miami all suffered structural failure. The broken assembly is a stark reminder of the power of a hurricane, even when not in the proverbial “eye”.

    Read more

  • The Visual Revolution is Here.

    Digital camera offerings now include 360-degree imagery. The “full view” of any image comes alive, as the camera captures the item of interest, along with everything surrounding the camera. As an example, displayed via Google’s Street View, the interior images of the International Space station, offer an incredible tour of a place that few will

    Read more

  • Meet the Next Generation of Construction Professionals

    Did you start your high school day at 7 am? For the enthusiastic students of Effingham County’s CTEC program (Construction Trades Educational Curriculum) the answer is “ABSOLUTELY”! Now entering its third year, the CTEC program offers high school seniors “experiential” learning in the construction trades arena. Meeting from 7-9 am, every school day, the students

    Read more

  • New Life for Malls

    The news is filled with stories of the changing face of retail, as impacted by online shopping. From store closings (Sears, Penney’s, Macy’s, & CVS) to bankruptcy (Gander Mountain, Payless, Gordmans, & HH Gregg), retail faces a tsunami of a head wind. The retail fallout is also impacting that uniquely American creation – the shopping

    Read more

  • Housing recovery – Economic Recovery

    The US housing industry is recovering and that’s good news for the overall US economy. In 2016, housing (both investment and services) represented 15.6% of the US GDP. But for the previous 60 years, the housing sector averaged nearly 19% of the GDP. (By comparison, the US auto industry only accounts for 3.5% of GDP).

    Read more

  • It’s war! A century old debate has just been reignited.

    It was 1888. Serial inventor, Thomas Edison envisioned an America powered by direct current electricity. Former Edison employee, Nikola Tesla argued that alternating current was more flexible and inexpensive. The biggest drawback to the DC current, advocated by Edison, was the short distance that power could be transmitted. In fact, Edison envisioned lighting New York

    Read more