Beyond the Build


Fire: Nature’s Preservation Tactic and Business’ Opportunity to Evolve

Last week when I was at the University of the South, Sewanee, I traveled through the new Spencer Wing of Woods Laboratories on the campus. I found myself in the Forestry Department in front of a plaque that reads “Restoring Our Forest,” with the subtitle “Importance of fire in the forest communities.”

It goes on to explain the benefit of flames. When fire strikes a wooded area, the species living there adapt to survive, often using the disturbance to their advantage. If the flames are suppressed, it can actually hurt the adapted species. It’s an intriguing concept. The very thing that tears a forest down is essential to maintaining it.

I couldn’t help but think of the times we are in. The last couple of years have been difficult, challenging and devastating to some. It feels like the blaze is rising high around us, but I believe we will be just like the species of the forest community. We will survive, adapt and find a competitive advantage in our experiences. Until the fire is extinguished, I’ll be thinking about how it can help my team evolve.

Merrill Stewart Jr.

Merrill Stewart is Founder and CEO of The Stewart/Perry Company, a commercial building contractor based in Birmingham.