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July 2007

President's Message

Masonry MagazinePositive Changes on the Horizon

This year, the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) is entering its 57th year of incorporation. The Association was established to help educate, train and represent mason contractors, and to help maintain the industry's competitive edge over other construction methods. To this day, although some of the landscape may have changed, the MCAA has remained tirelessly steadfast in its goals to represent mason contractors and their businesses.

In the last year or two, we have seen remarkable changes in the political establishment of our country, with one of the main concerns being immigration reform. Along with many other MCAA members and industry peers, I attended the annual Masonry Industry Legislative Conference held in our nation's capital in May. It was inspiring to see members from MCAA, the Building Stone Institute, the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute and the National Concrete Masonry Association taking part in this event, especially with so many legislative topics in play that can have such an impact on our industry.

Current legislation — such as the comprehensive immigration reform, 3 percent government withholding tax and estate tax reform, to name a few — can prove to be a boon or a burden to our industry. From the diligent work of the MCAA Director of Government Affairs, Jessica Johnson Bennett, in Washington, D.C., to the influence of MCAA's political action committee (MACPAC) in helping to support industry-friendly political candidates, to our sponsorship of the Masonry Industry Legislative Conference, MCAA has been at the forefront of trying to see a positive outcome for our members in the legislative arena. Especially with immigration reform, we anticipate quite a few changes on the horizon, and MCAA will continue to doggedly pursue positive action concerning this issue.

In other pursuits, MCAA announced the creation of the National Certified Mason Contractor program. Over the years, we have seen our market share decline, with poorly constructed masonry buildings tarnishing our industry's reputation for quality construction. Nothing can hurt our industry more than to have unqualified mason contractors selected by construction customers simply because they were the lowest bidder.

The Association concluded that the only realistic way to stop low-bidding, sub-par contractors from degrading our industry's standards and weakening our future is to raise the level of professionalism and to educate our customers that buying quality ultimately will benefit them. In an effort to curb any further loss to our industry's market share, the MCAA introduced certification for our nation's mason contractors. Sticking to our roots, this is the 21st-century answer to achieving our Association's goals of education, training, representation and protection for our industry. Once again, we anticipate that this program will create positive changes on the horizon for our masonry industry.

Last, but certainly not least, I am pleased to announce the appointment of Jeff Buczkiewicz as executive director of MCAA, effective July 1. As many of you may recall, Jeff served as MCAA's director of marketing and membership for several years. During the interim period, he has served as executive vice president for the Building Stone Institute. We welcome Jeff back to the MCAA and look forward to working with him well into the future. And, as before, we anticipate nothing but positive changes on the horizon.






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