We caught up with some Florida contractors on the trade show floor at the Electric 2001 show in Orlando. Below, they discuss how the drop in the economy has affected construction in their area.

Roger Schnabel, plan work specialist for Walt Disney World, Orlando, Fla.

Schnabel helps coordinate building, electrical, plumbing and HVAC contractors on different jobs within Disney World. He said many Florida contractors are feeling the effects of the slowing economy.

“It's probably hurt Florida a lot more than some other areas because it's so tourist-driven and with the economy down, the tourism drops. As the tourism drops, everything drops — including construction. It all just kind of stops until tourism picks back up again.”

Schnabel said when the economy slowed down, Disney World stopped all new construction projects across the property. “If you were building a building, you would have to finish it, but everything else was put on hold until the economy straightened out again. That affects all the contractors because we subcontract out. If we haven't been assigned projects, we don't bring in the electrical contractors.”

John Woodard, senior project manager for Bycosin Corp., Port Orange, Fla.

Woodard's company treats heavy fuel oil in power plants.

“Fuels are bad and they need to be upgraded and treated so they can burn better in diesels and boilers. Everybody is using power and keeping their lights on. As long as they're using energy or running ships, I guess business is good for us. I live in Florida and everything I read in the newspapers says that Florida is still having a construction boom, especially in the Orlando area.”

Greg Welker, senior estimator for Electro Design Inc., Orlando, Fla.

Electro Design Inc. does airport, commercial and industrial work.

“We're in a slump right now because there's more competition. It seems like everyone ran out of work at the first of the year, and all of a sudden, everyone is looking for work. The banks are holding the money back. Last week, I bid on three jobs in one day. Our percentage of hits is poor because the market is so overwhelming with contractors looking for work.”