The mood at WOC this year was more optimistic than it has been in many years--and the final attendance proves it. It felt like the entire industry was breathing a deep sigh of relief. From contractors to manufacturers to producers to associations, there was nary a negative word to be heard. Even PCA’s famously cautious economist Ed Sullivan couldn't find much in the way of gray clouds, especially with the new low price of fuel. And ready-mixed concrete industry guru Pierre Villere said, "In 2015, we expect a full recovery will be firmly in place, with accelerating growth due to pent up demand."

So how should a concrete producer react to all this? It would seem that the time has come to invest in people and equipment and technology, to get workers certified, to turn down work that doesn't appear profitable, and to fire that customer who’s been making your life miserable. After the dismal times of only five years ago it’s scary to take those kinds of leaps, but the contractors that are ready have an opportunity for big growth over the next few years. Sure, this tide will turn again—it always does. But the trick is in knowing when to put your foot on the gas and when to brake.