Sam Hoehner Interview with the MCAA

Words: Justin Stengel

Words: Justin Stengel, MASONRY Magazine

The MCAA was fortunate enough to interview the CMHA's new Chair of the Board of Directors, Sam Hoehner on his thoughts, feelings and goals in this new position. 

Looking back at Sam's journey, it is clear to see how his hard work and dedication got him to where he is today. Curious to hear a detailed explanation of how he got into this industry, we decided to start off the industry by asking exactly that:

MCAA: I understand that you are with Lee Building Products, can you tell me about when you first got into this overall industry? How many years have you been involved with this industry? Why did you get into this industry in the first place? Etc.

Sam: In 1993 when I was a teenager looking for summer work, my very first experience was cleaning up the brick and block yard in Frankfort, Kentucky for David Lee. I always tell people if it wasn't for the Dr. Pepper machine that summer, I probably would not have made it because it was about a hundred degrees out. I worked in the summers part-time for several years and then I came on full-time in 2000 when I graduated from Morehead State University and the rest is history. I started my career in our Tennessee operations learning the business and about three months later I moved to Bowling Green, Kentucky where our CFO at the time, Tom Wimp, took me under his wing and taught me the business from the financial side. I began putting together the financial statements, helping company-wide with inventory control and looking at the business through that lens. About five years later, I moved to Louisville and assumed a management role that I've been serving in ever since. I can’t thank Carol Lee enough for the opportunity he gave me to grow in my career and leadership path. I would also like to thank our parent company, Houchens Industries, as they continue to support my involvement in this association.

If you know anything about the CMHA, it is easy to understand how important this new position is. It comes with a lot of responsibility and dedication, which Sam is not a stranger to. Hearing about his strong work ethic and his determination to get through the hot summer is simply motivating. 

After understanding how Sam got to this point, it felt right to ask him what obtaining this position means to him: 

MCAA: Congrats on being announced Chair of the Board of Directors; what does that title mean to you?

Sam: I think it means that I'm going to learn a lot over the next year and I appreciate the trust in our association to have me involved at this level. It is an honor and a responsibility to serve in this role. I have been an officer on the board of directors for the last three years, so this year will build on those experiences. I am surrounded by so many talented and professional producer members, associate members, contractors, and CMHA staff. I want to continue to move the needle of the industry forward in this position with the team, and it's going to be an opportunity to learn a lot as I serve in this role. 

Hearing Sam talk about his industry colleagues in such high regard really shows how knowledgeable and trusting a leader he is. He is confident in his association and its ability to grow tremendously in the future. 

In his new position as Chair of the Board of Directors, he plays a large role in the future of the CMHA, so we were curious to hear firsthand what he looks forward to in the future for the association:

MCAA: Can you tell me what excites you about the future for the CMHA?

Sam: There is plenty to be excited about. Our association and staff are full of incredible talent. Bob Thomas led the National Concrete Masonry Association through a unification with the Interlocking Concrete Pavement Institute to create CMHA in 2022 and is supported by a solid team based out of Herndon, VA. I am proud of the products that we produce and put out in the market. I feel like there’s a tsunami coming in a good way with the checkoff resources and the direction that's going. It looks like there's a pretty good runway ahead as far as the economy over the next six years that we can take advantage of. Just a lot of positive momentum in our industry right now. It's a great time to join the industry as well. You always want to be in an industry that has a bright future and a lot of opportunity ahead of you and right now I know we're headed in that direction and it's going to be fun to watch things continue to progress.

It appears that the CMHA has a bright and innovative future ahead of itself. After hearing about what's next for the CMHA, the MCAA wanted to know what specific goals Sam has for the association during his time in this position: 

MCAA: As Chair, what is your goal for the CMHA? 

Sam:. There are a few things that I believe deserve focus over the next year and that is both CMHA’s role with the Checkoff Program and continuing to educate our industry about the resources available to them through our association.  

There's quite a bit of industry momentum right now with the Checkoff Program in place. Checkoff is still getting off the ground with their third round of quarterly assessments coming in now.  Programs are getting funded nationally and regionally with more to come.  The Checkoff Board just hired a new program director as well and CMHA is working on hiring a codes and standards position that will be supported by the Checkoff initiative.  CMHA is working closely with the Checkoff Board and MCAA along with state and regional associations and a couple other groups to best coordinate and communicate what lanes we will all be working in to drive the industry forward and keep from creating unnecessary duplicity. Outlining these lanes with the other groups and defining our best role in that will be a large focus over the next year for our association. 

There's also a ton of resources that CMHA offers in regards to education, technical support, training, and certifications. Incredible networking opportunities are available at both our annual and mid-year meetings and Hardscape North America (HNA) held in October in Louisville continues to break records in attendance and participation every year.  Across the board, the association is rich with resources and I think continuing to make sure that current and prospective members are aware of these and how to tap into them will be a priority. If we make strides in both of those areas over the next year, we will continue to be headed in the right direction. As I mentioned earlier, it is going to be a lot of work for all of us, but there will be a lot of joy and fun to be had in the process.

Sam Hoehner is one of the best people we have had the opportunity to interview. He is passionate about his work and his association and it shows. Starting his journey in a brickyard and ending in a Board of Directors position is more than well deserved for him. The MCAA thanks Sam and the CMHA for this opportunity and this interview.

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