In a speech for AWCI’s Opening Session in Las Vegas in March, Chris Macey, president of Gypsum at USG Corp., gave his overview. USG sponsors the event, which includes opening remarks by USG giving recognition of the outgoing and incoming AWCI presidents and a keynote speech by Navy SEAL and author Chad Williams.

“Let’s take a moment to recognize all the efforts that the entire AWCI staff and board, along with CEO Mike Stark, have done to put on this incredible event,” Macey said.

Macey has spent his entire career in building materials, beginning with Owens Corning before going to work at USG. He has worked in sales, marketing, manufacturing and general management in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

“It’s not lost on me or my peers, all that each of you did to think and operate differently over the last few years,” Macey said.

This is an interesting time in our industry. As we all see in the news, there is uncertainty in the market, he said.

“This shows in decreased housing starts,” Macey said. “The Dodge Momentum Index is down. Home sales have slowed. Labor continues to be a challenge that we’re all facing.

“As I’ve spoken to our customers and others in the industry, we are hearing that companies are off to a better than anticipated start to this year,” he added. “This is at both the manufacturing and distribution levels.”

When Macey attended the Harvard Joint Center for Housing conference, almost all executives in attendance had a similar view of cautious optimism for the first half of the year.