Chairman's Message: Masonry Is Getting Stronger

Words: Larry Vacala

Larry Vacala, MCAA Chairman

The check-off program could change the future of our industry. The funds are earmarked towards marketing, education & research, codes & standards, and workforce recruitment. Promoting the best building products will help grow our industry. There’s no denying, the most beautiful landmarks were built with masonry. We know masonry is superior to all other building materials, now our mission should be to educate architects and developers. As masonry materials continue to evolve along with improvements to our tools and equipment, we as masons must keep pace. Technology also plays a huge role in strengthening our industry. Who ever thought computers and phones would be useful tools for bricklayers? We should continue improving. Gaining knowledge in any industry, you learn from experts in that field. The experts are those that have been there, done that and succeeded. Much like parents giving advice to their children. Hopefully preventing them from some of the same mistakes we made growing up. Not always listening, they learn the hard way. So, try listening to the advice from contractors that have successfully experienced what you’re going through, rather than learning the hard way yourself. The stakes are higher now than when we were growing up. To meet experts in our industry, get involved in the MCAA events and meetings in addition to your local association. Also attending leadership and management seminars at the World of Concrete is beneficial. If you’re an owner or employee, no matter the size of your company, when you’re in a meeting filled with your peers (and some experts), you will come away with ideas and knowledge that will surely benefit you and your company. In March, I attended the North Carolina Mason Contractors annual convention. The convention was well attended. There were masons, contractors, and suppliers from North Carolina. It was great to see familiar faces from our MCAA events. I met many wonderful people and really enjoyed the conversations. They show a lot of passion for our industry, and many talked about how masonry changed their lives for the better. The North Carolina contractors are dedicated to their trade and continue to show they are leaders in our industry. Many are competitors, and still, they are willing to help each other for the good of the industry. They shared stories of success and the challenges they had to overcome. Many are very involved and participate in the MCAA. They should all be very proud of the comradery they built. This group is truly special! Their workforce development program has shown great success. Introducing students into a career of masonry, led by Ryan Shaver, has become a model for our country. At their annual business meeting, we heard from great speakers. Along with all the important information that was discussed, their new Board of Directors was voted in. Congratulations to the entire slate of newly elected officers, Danks Burton, Bo Black, Cliff McGee, and Tim Manning. This is a very impressive team of leaders! Congratulations to the Kent Huntley, their outgoing chairman, who happens to be our current MCAA treasurer. Kent served 8 years on their Board of Directors, and I am thrilled to be working with him on the MCAA Executive Board. At conventions, golf and restaurants are great networking venues. Day 1 golf, I was paired up with Calvin Brodie (Brodie Contractors), Damian Lang (EZG Manufacturing.) & Casey Black (Crew Tracks). A lot of good discussion amongst the group that included a couple masonry legends. Side note: If you golf with Calvin, don’t ask him for yardage. Either he has a defective range finder or gets a kick out of watching others airmail the ball over the green. It was all part of a fun day on the course! Day 2, I was paired with Billy Napp (Manning Masonry), Steve Bell (Spec Mix) & Matt Blair (Scaffoldmart). We played competitive golf and had lots of fun. Thank you, Doug Burton, for including me in a great dinner with Jimmy Wall and the Adams Group. Great people, food, and drinks! Thank you, Damian, Steve, and Thad, (EZG) for inviting me out the second night for yet another great dinner. This was after the EZG golf event. They invest a lot to our industry! Always enjoy their company. Kudos to Lynn Nash and his staff for organizing a great convention! Keep up the Great work NCMCA! Thank you all, for your southern hospitality! Conventions like this, convince me, Masonry is getting stronger. We must all continue striving to get better. Stay Healthy, stay strong!
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