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Projects without borders

By: Joe Yovino//May 3, 2010//

Projects without borders

By: Joe Yovino//May 3, 2010//

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By Sean Ryan

When times are tough at home, builders simultaneously become more xenophobic and more open to the idea of crossing borders.

I’ve spoken to builders who crossed the border this season to get jobs in Minnesota and were derided by the locals as foreign invaders. But I think the animosity goes both ways, with us badgers not enjoying the thought of a bunch of gophers coming to town to get our local projects.

But the borders blur more often when there’s not enough work at home to keep equipment and crews in the field. Just last week, Meade Electric Co. Inc., McCook, Ill., trumped a pair of Wisconsin bidders for the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District’s methane pipeline project.

Also last week, the federal government announced plans to invite U.S. companies to Riyadh and Dhahran to rub elbows with Saudi Arabian companies that are planning to build six new cities in the next 10 years.

These new cities being built by the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority will cost about $150 billion and create 1.5 million jobs by 2020. Mark you calendar, the meeting is from Dec. 6-8.

Think about it, one day you can brag to the kids that you built the spires of King Abdullah Economic City.

It’s inevitable -– down right instinctual, I’d say — that the forces that drive us to cross borders to find work will also make us more protective of the opportunities within our own lands. But the reality is we cannot build a one-way street, and that in order to chase opportunities elsewhere we’ve got to deal with hostiles here.

Sean Ryan, a staff writer for The Daily Reporter, rarely goes outside the state for work.


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