There’s probably something in the air we breathe that erodes our ability to talk about our mistakes. Think about it: When was the last time you freely admitted to your peers that you goofed up?

Even President Bush has difficulty. Witness a recent press conference, in which he answered a reporter’s query about whether or not he’s made mistakes in his post-9/11 planning, with: “I wish you would have given me this written question ahead of time, so I could plan for it.“ He then later said that although he was sure he had made mistakes, nothing was popping into his head.

When researching our cover story, we discovered a similar reticence among building service contractors to discuss their errors. Sure, they made jokes. “Going into the business to begin with was a mistake.” But, aside from the few brave souls we profile in the article, most readers kept mum.

So, thanks to those brave BSCs, we introduce a more personal, even vulnerable side of the people in our industry. I suspect you’ll find some of these stories strangely familiar; it is, after all, a fact of life that everyone screws up.

And as for my biggest mistake? Well, maybe another time.