How has your year been? Pretty good, I'd guess - unless your market focus is new residential construction. A recent report by Associated Builders and Contractors finds that in the 12 months from September 2006 to September 2007 nonresidential construction spending grew almost 17% while residential construction spending declined almost the same amount, just over 16%. So contractors invested primarily in that market have felt the seat belt tighten and heard the tires screech as residential new construction slammed on its brakes, and those contractors probably are trying to decide what steps to take to make sure they don't go through another year like this one. While there are no simple answers - every contractor in every market has his or her own issues to contend with - diversifying the services you offer and the markets you do business in can certainly help smooth out the spending bumps in the uneven construction road. I'll be out at National Pavement Expo West in Las Vegas, this Thursday through Saturday, directing a conference program that just might offer some insights into how you can protect your business by helping you diversify, grow, or simply operate more effectively. If this week isn't good for you check out National Pavement Expo, Jan. 30-February 2 in Nashville, which has even more you can learn. For more information on either show visit www.nationalpavementexpo.com. And if you make it out to Las Vegas later this week make sure to stop by Room S222 of the Las Vegas Convention Center and say "Hi."