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Contractors Put Recession Lessons to Work hen the Massachusetts building economy collapsed in 1990, remodeler Paul Eldrenkamp says, "It was like driving off a cliff. I can still remember the precise moment I knew I'd been caught out. I was driving home from this job that I really didn't want to take because it had red flags all over it. It was a stinker from the word go, but I realized I had to take it because I simply had nothing else out there. I swore I'd never let that happen to me again." Eldrenkamp's business dropped 50% over the following two years before slowly rebounding. As every New England contractor knows, he wasn't alone. Thousands