I had a chance to talk with a couple of pavement consultants the other day, and they both report the world has changed from their perspective. Both consultants work extensively for commercial clients, many of whom have locations spread across the country. The consultants evaluate parking lots, develop bid specs, and in some cases screen contractors and oversee work. One national property management company has put a halt on all pavement maintenance work for the time being. The consultant explained it's not that the firm doesn't believe in pavement maintenance -- just that they're tightening their belt as much as possible. That's a big chunk of work lost at least for the time being. Luckily for this particular consultant his company also works in the public sector and has already been awarded some projects as a result of the federal stimulus package, so 2009 is shaping up to be a good year. The other consultant has seen a major shift in the way one of the corporations he works for is handling its properties. The consultant works for a major corporation that managed virtually all its properties centrally. In 2008, however, many of the properties were franchised, and much of the decision-making became fragmented at the local level. Probably good for local contractors, not so good for this consultant. But he does still work for the parent company, and he has a number of other national accounts who not only are not cutting back on pavement maintenance but are actually ramping up some work. So 2009 is looking fine, though different, for him.