What about the little guy?

Lack of Top 10 nominations may take luster out of prestigious list

Blog Entry July 05, 2016
Bill Wilson

Bill Wilson is the editorial director of ROADS & BRIDGES magazine and has been covering the industry since 1999. He has won seven Robert F. Boger Awards for editorial excellence, including three in 2011. He also was the creator of the Top 10, Contractor's Choice Awards and Recycling Awards platforms, as well as ROADS & BRIDGES Live.

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What separates Roads & Bridges’ Top 10 Roads and Bridges lists from all others is the little guy.

When I first created the list in 2000, we simply looked at the biggest projects in the U.S. and ranked them 1 through 10. The following year we thought we would allow you, the reader, to nominate your best project. The results were unbelievable, and we were able to recognize some of the smaller projects that contained just as many challenges as the mega ones. Back then we received over 200 nomination forms a year.

Then the recession hit, and jobs were eliminated. Perhaps many of those positions were the ones responsible for submitting Top 10 nomination forms, because the number we received began to drop. However, up until this year we were still receiving a healthy enough number to produce great lists—which receive national media attention every year. The deadline for the 2016 Top 10 Roads submissions was June 27. To date, we have about 10 road projects that were nominated—10. It is the lowest number ever. What is the reason for this? We marketed the heck out of it—placing the announcement on our social media sites daily, inserting it in our weekly e-news and sending out weekly e-blasts. Is this prestigious list getting too long in the tooth? Is the presentation not what it used to be?

One thing I know for certain, the Top 10 lists will carry on no matter the participation—but we need to hear from everybody. We need to hear from the big guy and, most importantly, the little guy. If the number of nominations continues to drop we will be forced to go back to the original approach—determine the biggest projects in the U.S. and sort them 1 through 10. You, the reader, have made this list an elite one. We need to keep it that way. The deadline for Top 10 Roads submissions has been extended to July 8. Click here to go straight to the nomination form, take a few minutes and submit your best project. If you want you could send a project link to [email protected]. Also, if you have stopped submitting, please let me know why. Like I said, the Top 10 lists will always be around—it’s the little guy who could soon become extinct.

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