In 1965, I was just an eight-year-old kid when the Byrds came out with their rendition of this Pete Seeger tune. At the time, it was the glorious sound of that twelve-string Rickenbacker electric guitar played by Roger McGuinn that got my attention. But as the years passed and I learned more about the lyrics to this song, the more interesting it became to me.

Fact: all the lyrics, except the last line, come from the Book of Ecclesiastes, and posit that there is a time or place for everything.

Being of the folk song genre, Turn! Turn! Turn! is usually sung as a call for world peace. Seeger’s contribution (the last line) says, “I swear it’s not too late,” and cements that interpretation, at least in my mind.

As we wrap up this, the eighth year of the 21st Century, “peace” is certainly something in great demand. And I’m not just talking about the war in Iraq, but all the little wars we fight everyday, like those in our political system, our economy, businesses, and daily lives.

It’s been a turbulent year. The economy, which began to slip in 2006, continued it’s downward trend throughout 2008. Housing starts stopped, the real estate industry went to sleep, and the credit crunch stepped on our wallets like never before.

In January, the AHR show in New York was filled to the brim with bright promises of earthfriendly products and services. The show was geared to growing the idea of “green” in our industry while putting “green” back into our wallets. But the economy kept taking turns for the worse and it was (and still is) a tough year.

Stop the Presses!
But all wasn’t doom and gloom. Contracting Business Contractor of the Year winner Mitch Cropp declared war on the recession that economists said, at the time, wasn’t happening. “Recession?” Cropp asked. “What recession? We choose not to participate.”

His company, and many others across the nation chose leadership over surrendership (if that’s a word) and found ways to incorporate brand, quality, and environmental stewardship into the way they operate their companies. The recession, for the most part, missed them. Good plan.

Part of that stewardship was to turn over a new leaf and commit to recoverying and recycling refrigerants. In case you haven’t been paying attention, a severe shortage of R-22 is just around the corner. THIS is the season to get your head out of the sand and onto the recycling bandwagon. And while you’re at it, think about the evolution of our economy and the hot button of carbon footprint reduction. Consumers are embracing this concept, but want proof that you can really help them attain it.

Some of that can be done through technology — from smart systems to alternative refrigerants. The key is to achieve a level of profitable responsiblity. The rest is up to marketing, service, and having the very best people working for you. And part of that requires education, training, and NATE certification.

Is this easy? Nope. Never was. But to find the peace of mind in success and profitability, you need to plant seeds within your people, your organization, your community. Together you can weather the storm that was 2008 and may quite possibly continue into the next year.

As Roger McGuinn and the Byrds sang:

To everything
Turn, turn, turn
There is a season
Turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under Heaven

A time to be born, a time to die
A time to plant, a time to reap
A time to kill, a time to heal
A time to laugh, a time to weep

A time of love, a time of hate
A time of war, a time of peace
A time you may embrace
A time to refrain from embracings

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time for love, a time for hate
A time for peace, I swear it’s not too late.

From the staff of Contracting Business, have a safe and happy holiday season as well as our best wishes for those seeds you planted to sprout a successful and profitable 2009.