Chairman's Message: May 2023

Words: Larry Vacala

This article is a follow-up to last month’s, “A blueprint for success”.  The MCAA has many passionate people Working behind the scenes to better our industry.  There is so much happening, it will be difficult to include all the details in just one article. I wanted to highlight what our March board and committee meeting discussions were about.  

We had a few Board changes and new appointments. Gary Joyner announced his retirement as regional VP for Region B.   Melvin Hinton agreed to take that position. Steve Wheeler was named chairman of the Marketing Committee. Liz Graves was named co-chair for the Generation Next committee.

Generation Next is replacing South of 40 committee.   The committee has chosen a new logo and branding. Two separate sub committees were formed to explore educational programs and new events. Since the younger generation is the future, we are working on ways to interest them.  An idea was given by a member (anonymous for now) to have a seminar called “How to fire your dad”.  For the record, Mackie Bounds quickly made a motion to object. Duly noted Mackie,  they will probably do it anyway. Sounds like Mackie is still having too much fun.  Another member (anonymous for now) added it should not apply only to dads. Sounds like individuals from the Generation Next group are ready to take over.  I’m sure there are many more. Let’s help them get there. 

Jeff Buczkiewicz and Ryan Shaver recently had a conference call with the Department of Labor. They discussed the DOL possibly endorsing a national masonry pre-apprenticeship program that Ryan has been developing in North Carolina. This program will allow 16–18 years old students to work on jobsites and potentially earn high school credits.  They would also use those hours worked towards an apprenticeship program.  The gentleman from the DOL seemed very excited. He said they were already making plans to roll out a youth/pre-apprentice program.  They did not have an industry to work with, which was holding them back.  He sees masonry as an industry to work with, which means the first national youth pre-apprentice program roll out could be masonry. To continue these discussions, Jeff, Ryan, Kent Huntley, my son Tyler, and I scheduled a follow up meeting with the DOL team in D.C.  

MCAA is also developing a comprehensive national workforce development program. We have assembled a committee consisting of individuals passionate about workforce development. This committee will begin to assess what is currently working in our industry throughout the country. They will assemble what can be adapted nationally and then develop a comprehensive plan to implement a national program. 

Steve Borg, our lobbyist, is currently in discussion with two individuals from Congress who would like to submit a bill on immigration.  We are working with them to include language on a guest worker pass for individuals who are currently here.

The Construction Industry Safety Council (CISC) is submitting frequently asked Q and A to OSHA. OSHA has agreed to answer questions regarding their national Heat Illness emphasis program.

The Foreman Development program hosted their first Deep Dive Zoom meetings in April.  They are doing deeper dives into topics they touched on in the class but did not have time to elaborate.  These meetings will be open only to individuals who have attended our Foreman I class. 

Registration for the 2023 Mid-Year meeting September (17 – 21), in Hersey Pennsylvania is now open. We have a great program setup for this year. Final touches are currently being worked out.  Our midyear meeting has become our premier event. Come see some of the finest masonry products and materials on display. Attend open forum round table discussions, committee and Board meetings with your peers. There will be plenty of activities for all age groups.  We encourage you to bring the whole family. 

We will hold our MCAA Hall of Fame dinner at midyear. Sola/Kesson committed to be our Hall of Fame sponsor once again. We thank them for their support. The submission for potential inductees is open and will run now up to May 19.

This year’s Speed Dating event will include indoor and outdoor vendors. This event gives a brief presentation from manufacturers and producers about their latest equipment and products for our industry. We added a break zone feature to this year’s program for 4 additional vendors.  

Skills USA is set for June 20-23 in Atlanta.   AS always, we welcome anyone to be a part of this fun and exciting event.  

The Lowes program is going well and is starting its third year.   If you have not signed up or begun using the program, we encourage you to do so soon.  Take advantage of being a member with the saving you’ll receive from Lowes.  

We are in discussion to make our Fastest Trowel competition a regional qualifying competition for 2024.  That would mean to compete in Vegas the contestant would have to win a regional competition.  Likely these would coincide with a Bricklayer 500 regional.  More on this soon.

Thank you to everyone that participated in The MCAA annual auction. A very special thank you to all the individuals and companies that donated the fantastic items. 

Stay Safe, Stay Strong!
Larry Vacala

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