This is the second Gold Key edition of Rural Builder that I’ve had the privilege to work on. It’s a privilege because I get to work closely with the suppliers and manufacturers who you have chosen through the voting process as being worthy of the Gold Key of Excellence honor. It’s an opportunity for me to get to know them a little better, and it’s a chance for you to get to know them better, too. As you will see in the special section, many times, the award recipients share not only their appreciation of being recognized by you, but they also share what’s important to them. It’s no surprise you’ll often find high-quality products and services that meet their customers’ needs at the top of the list. I’m sure many of you feel the same way when it comes to serving your customers.

This is the second year we’ve given a special Gold Key of Service award. This year’s Gold Key of Service award has been granted to Hire Heroes USA, a nonprofit organization that helps veterans transition into civilian life. The organization serves veterans by providing job and interview coaching, resume help, and connecting veterans to other organizations and service providers who can help them in their efforts to find a job after leaving military service. While I already have some ideas for next year’s service award, if you know of an organization deserving of the Gold Key of Service, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly; keep in mind it must be a nonprofit. 

I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the Construction Rollforming Show, which was held June 3-4 in Cincinnati, Ohio. For me, the best part was talking with everyone face to face. And without wearing a mask, too! It really was fantastic seeing and talking with attendees and exhibitors, actually shaking hands, and catching up. There was an excitement in the air that I find hard to adequately express. (I don’t think it was only me feeling it.) While emails are good and phone calls are better, there really is no substitute for meeting with someone in person. I find exchanging ideas is more open and spontaneous when conversing in person. I come away from trade shows not only having learned a lot, but I also come away with more article ideas for our magazines. Now that the world has opened back up, I look forward to all the trade shows on the horizon and to visiting builder and manufacturer job sites. 

Here’s to getting more business done in 2021!

Until next time—be well.

Karen Knapstein