Made Here, Built Here: The Infrastructure of Community
Authored by Barry Zekelman, Executive Chairman and CEO, Zekelman Industries
We now understand better than ever how important we all are to one another.
We need community.
We need the crowd at the ballpark, the congregation in the place of worship, the shoppers in malls, the audiences in the movie theaters and concert halls, the kids in the parks, the full restaurants and all the people we collaborate with at work every day, whether that’s on a computer screen or — better yet — face to face.
There’s an important emotional component to the idea of infrastructure. It goes to the fundamental human need for connection that we all feel.
It’s a need that in a modern industrialized country like ours can only be met by a safe and reliable, world-class infrastructure that’s up to code and fail-safe.
It’s a matter of public record that the quality and efficiency of our infrastructure is lagging behind that of the other leading nations.
The physical structures that house our schools, hospitals and public service facilities are too often in disrepair. Almost without exception, our roads and rails, airports, shipping lanes, docks, bridges and tunnels need upgrading. All the components of our supply chain that protect us and get us and the things we need are badly in need of attention.
Everyone is well aware of the significant investment required to step up our game. Just as we’re all aware of the detrimental impact of inaction.
Even with all our differing approaches to problem-solving, it seems as if we are all starting to get on board to tackle our infrastructure issues.
As always, it comes down to the strength of community, of what we can do when we come together to get it done.
That’s one reason why my team has been stressing the importance of domestic manufacturing and reshoring for so many years now. It’s something we believe in for a lot of reasons, but chief among those is the way it provides the revenue and capabilities necessary to make the infrastructure improvements the country needs.
And that includes human infrastructure. The value of providing jobs that make us feel we’re part of something bigger, that contribute to the nation as a whole, while earning decent paychecks and benefits while we’re at it, to support families and by extension the local communities that make up this country, cannot be understated, and its power cannot be denied.
What we make and where we make it helps build infrastructure in hundreds of ways. It also builds community. And at the end of the day, that’s the infrastructure that matters most.