The current recession will undoubtedly continue into 2009, perhaps bottoming out before summer and then resuming slow growth in the second half of the year.

Central Pennsylvania in general, and Lancaster in particular, will be rife with problems. But, there will also be surprising stability that many other areas of the country lacks. Part of that stability is the result of having valued our various assets conservatively—sometimes flat-out undervaluing them.

To the victor goes the spoils: Figure out how to turn these pairs of problems and assets into opportunities in 2009, and prepare for a very prosperous new year.

This is the first post in a series of eleven. Here’s the first pair; the other ten will follow soon.

No. 1: Construction

Problem: Construction is expected to grind to a halt.
Assets: Lots of skilled workers and lots of tools and equipment.

Photo by Flickr user robertpogorzelski

Financing for new construction projects has dried up, and few people are ready to take the risk of initiating those projects. Unfortunately, that is going to lead to a lot of skilled workers without work. There will also be a lot of tools and equipment sitting unused.

One obvious opportunity involves investments in public infrastructure.   To get a slice of the money President-elect Obama is promising, we’ll need to show that we have shovel-ready projects where the plans and approvals are in place and people can be quickly put to work doing the actual building. Locally, the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce & Industry [disclosure: yes, that’s my employer] is already working to coordinate the efforts of state and federal legislators and other officials and back them with broad local support.

Aside from getting ahold of federal money to put construction workers and equipment to work, what opportunities do you see in this convergence of problem with assets?

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Read Part II – Journalism

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