Williams Scotsman

The Big Stories of 2016 (Part 2)

“There is nothing wrong with change, if it is in the right direction.”– Winston Churchill

Each passing year brings change. In our previous blog post, we reviewed some of the big stories that helped shape the following industry sectors we serve in 2016:

Disaster recovery

For the second part of our rundown, we highlight the year’s influential happenings in events/hospitality, healthcare, retail/commercial, security/public safety and transportation.


Interest in the U.S. election negatively affected some industries, including the National Football League, which saw its ratings plummet according to Commissioner Roger Goodell. That won’t stop the league’s championship in Houston from being one of 2017’s biggest hospitality events. Another will happen in Washington D.C. in January when the new president is inaugurated. WillScot has helped organizers manage large-scale events in the past, including contributing modular units to previous Big Games and inauguration festivities.


Cost-efficiency and quality continue to be the hallmarks of the healthcare industry, as hospitals and other facilities weigh renovations versus new construction while confronting diminished Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, responding to population shifts and keeping pace with technological advancements. Improved 2016 revenue for the architectural industry points to a doubling of healthcare construction spending in 2017. Mini inpatient centers known as microhospitals and outpatient medical villages that provide a wide array of services are seeing an increase in popularity leading into 2017. The healthcare industry relies on temporary modular solutions so patients have access to uninterrupted service during all phases of facility construction. 


Overall, U.S. retail sales rose less than forecast in November, signaling a spending pause after strong results in previous months. As behemoths such as Amazon continue to eat up market share, the pop-up retail industry is also growing, with businesses from small start-ups to major players such as the Gap using temporary storefronts as a low-cost way to introduce new products and extend brands. WillScot’s AS Flex™ panelized units are perfect for this purpose.

Security/Public Safety:

Localities across North America face a range of space challenges related to security and public safety. Some are now using modular construction to confront homelessness, as is the case in Hawaii, where WillScot subsidiary Hawaii Modular Space supplied units for the Halona Road homeless housing pilot project. Algeco Scotsman subsidiary Target Logistics recently extended its agreement with the Corrections Corporation of America (CCA) through 2021. CCA manages the South Texas Family Residential Center in Dilley, Texas, on behalf of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement to provide residential housing for women and children awaiting due process before the immigration courts. And in Philadelphia, citizens believe public safety is the city’s No. 1 problem, perhaps a result of the strain between the public and police departments throughout the country. As terrorism fears rise, businesses that provide security – both public and private – also face more demand, and more pressure.


Everyone seems to be buzzing about self-driving cars, with Uber piloting such vehicles in San Francisco amidst some controversy. The company continued to be a disruptive force in 2016 as many municipalities held off on transportation infrastructure investment, in some cases subsidizing ride-hailing services that bring travelers to bigger transportation hubs. But that wasn’t the case everywhere. WillScot is contributing more than 50 modular units to Project Neon, a highway expansion that’s the largest public works project in Nevada’s history. President-Elect Trump also made infrastructure investment a large part of his campaign platform as well as his post-election remarks, creating optimism for those in the infrastructure construction industry.

See you next year …

After a year of sluggish results – partly tied to inexpensive oil prices that limited energy company development -- modular is expected to rebound in 2017, according to the Modular Building Institute, the only international non-profit trade association serving the commercial modular construction industry. 

Tell us what you think about these stories. Which ones piqued your interest most in 2016?
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