Armstrong’s keynote speaker was Darrell Mitchell, sales development manager for Armstrong’s commercial design/build division. Mitchell challenged those attending the reception to ask themselves if they’re doing as good of a job as they’re able. “When people do their jobs as well as you do yours, there is a tendency to assume that the status quo is good enough, things cannot be done better. There is a tendency to stop asking, ‘Is that the best I could do?’”
Mitchell asked audience members to stop and wonder what they could have done just a little bit better in their jobs. “Do you make buildings, or do you make great buildings?” he asked. “A great building isn’t just a big one, or an expensive one, or one that happens to catch the eye of a historical society. A great building is one that delivers the best possible performance out of the imposed constraints. And a great building helps a lot of people, even when they never have to walk inside it.”
Mitchell noted that a great building could be an inner-city school lasting for 60 years rather than 45, which would let taxpayers pay for books rather than floors. Or, a great building could be a subway station that takes millions of people to work and costs less to operate, saving a fare hike for people who have no other way to get around. Or, a great building could be a skyscraper that inspires people, attracting high-profile businesses and the jobs that go with them.
“Each of the buildings I’m talking about is a performance making life better for thousands, if not millions of people over decades. Have you made that performance great?” Mitchell asked.
Mitchell ended his speech by noting that engineers, contractors, and dealers have a permanent responsibility to millions of people they never meet. He once again asked audience members to “Ask one simple question in everything we try — ‘Is that the best we could do?’”
Publication date: 03/03/2003