Chairman's Message: Coming Together As A Community of Masonry Professionals

Words: Paul Oldham

Paul Oldham, MCAA Chairman

  I’m writing this article just a few weeks before the World of Concrete 2021. The MCAA staff has been working diligently to coordinate with Las Vegas on hosting a safe event. I know it will be different this year, but it will be another successful year. It is understandable for those who won’t be able to attend, and we look forward to seeing you January 18-20, 2022. In April, we finished a very successful Online Auction. I believe it may have been the largest one to date. Thank you to everyone that participated, either in donating or bidding. We had many great items, including various different event packages courtesy of our members. I have noticed, along with many of you, how the MCAA Staff has stepped up the social media presence this year, which helped to keep us all up to date on the status of bidding. Hopefully, everyone is experiencing many options for work in their areas. In the Midwest, we see quite a bit of work on the street. Many projects in the planning stages in 2020 have finally found their way to the street, and many projects are breaking ground. We are successfully securing work well into 2022 at this point. I have heard similar situations from many across the nation, but, as we have talked about for many years, workforce would continue to be an issue—and it is.  We have to keep looking for new ways to continually recruit. I listened to a news broadcast the other day talking about the opportunities to work with the prison systems. It caught my ear because of Florida’s work, and I know Texas is pursuing this along with some other states. This week, our company is participating in a job fair at our local high school. We have done this in the past without much success, but if we keep trying, it will eventually get traction.  Our school system has shown more interest in the last few years in promoting options other than college to the students, and we continue to support that effort along with other local businesses. My business partner the other day suggested that we take one of our apprentices with us to the job fair. He is in his early 20s and may provide an easier connection to the students; it can’t hurt. A few weeks ago, our company was invited to a meeting with a client of ours. The GC/CM titled the meeting “Expectations of a Superintendent.” When I read the invitation, I thought to myself, “Do they want to preach to us, or is it going to be a two-way discussion so we can both learn from each other?” We attended the meeting with two other subcontractors and, as I expected, we were preached to. I wasn’t surprised, but I was disappointed. However, after they presented their take on EMR, communication, organizing, safety, and production, they opened the door for comments and feedback. All three subcontractors in attendance opened the door wide for our feedback. It was done respectfully, but it surprised the presenters that they had the issues they identified their subcontractors have.  I believe the meeting ended up being a good event, but I am always floored when clients, GC’s, CM’s, and owners seem to think that we (subcontractors) don’t want to run safe and efficient businesses. I tell every new employee and remind all employees we want everyone to return home every day with everything they came to work with (of course, just a little tired). If you are put in a situation where you don’t feel safe and are not considering your supervisor, you have my cell phone number. I hope everyone continues to be safe and healthy, and I look forward to seeing everyone soon.
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