The 2020 MCAA Midyear Meeting: French Lick, Indiana

Words: Dan Kamys

Words: Dan Kamys
Photos: MCAA

The 2020 Midyear Meeting looked a little different this year in light of the safety protocols due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but we at the MCAA were thrilled to be able to reconnect with our contractor and supplier members in a more relaxed setting. This Midyear meeting, which took place from Sunday, September 13 to Thursday,  September 17, marked the first such event during Chairman Paul Oldham’s term. 

The French Lick Resort and West Baden Springs Hotel 

We’ve previously highlighted the beautiful French Lick Resort and West Baden Springs Resort in our July issue’s American Treasure cover story. In case you missed the story, here is a brief recap of the historic hotels. 

Just 50 miles northwest of Louisville, Kentucky, French Lick, Indiana was founded in 1811 as a settlement named for a nearby French trading post located near a spring and salt lick. The term in the city’s name originated from deposits in the mineral water from the springs. Intense competition between Dr. William Bowles’ French Lick Springs Hotel and Dr. Lane’s West Baden Hotel over many years and various owners caused several amenities, including churches and a railroad, to be added. Through changes of ownership, fires, collapses, and economic ups and downs, the hotels are still standing. 

Today, French Lick is a hidden gem of the Midwest and a stunning example of architecture and ingenuity. Today’s resort consisting of the French Lick Hotel, West Baden Hotel, and French Lick Casino, has dozens of amenities and has been restored beyond its original beauty after a $650 million restoration effort and casino development by Bloomington’s Cook family. 

Pete Dye Golf Outing
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On Sunday, September 13th, the first golf outing for the 2020 Midyear Meeting took place at the Pete Dye Course at French Lick. The course, which was sketched on a napkin by Hall of Fame architect Pete Dye, has played host to the 2015 Senior PGA Championship. The championship golf course on one of Indiana’s highest elevation points has narrow, immaculate fairways and rugged, intense terrain. 

The Pete Dye course has acclaimed 40-mile panoramic views of Southern Indiana’s countryside, three artificial lakes, “volcano” bunkers, and a myriad of elevation changes. A full 8,100 yards from pro tees accentuate the course.  

The Masonry Foundation Meeting 

The Masonry Foundation Board met and voted on grant requests that will be outlined in an upcoming article on MCAA/MASONRY channels.

MAC PEC Golf Outing At The Donald Ross Course 

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On Wednesday, September 16th, teams set off with a shotgun start at the MAC PEC Golf Outing at The Donald Ross Course. The course was designed by iconic architect Donald Ross and underwent a $5 million restoration in 2007. When the project was completed, the Ross’ trademark bunkers severely-undulating greens were back in place. 35 of the 80 bunkers were original to the course from 1917. 

The course is a par 70 and plays to 7,000 yards. It has been rated the Number 2 public course in Indiana by GolfWeek for nine years. Inside or out, this authentic turn-of-the-last-century structure includes a pro shop and a relaxing atmosphere for a cocktail or bite to eat — perfect for after a round or anytime.


First Place Team: Larry Vacala, Lane Vacala, Aaron Harrell, Tevan Norman

Second Place Team: Nick Blohowiak, Ken DiLoreto, Mike Rolf, Brian Tillet

Most Honest Team: James “Hoss” Hoskinson, Bob Brown, Dakota Brown, Rob Martin

Longest Drive: Aaron Harrell and Larry Vacala

Closest To The Pin: Aaron Harrell and Dean Lang

NEW Interactive Speed Dating 

New for this year was a twist on the always-popular Speed Dating, which allowed contractors and suppliers the opportunity to interact and discover new products and technologies. This year, the event spanned two days and took place in a former indoor tennis court on the grounds of the French Lick Resort. 

On Monday, September 14th, attendees had the opportunity to eat, drink, mingle, and settle into the Midyear Meeting with the Speed Dating Preview Night and Opening Reception. Suppliers participating in Speed Dating set up their stations, and our guests had a good time amid the backdrop of the latest and greatest masonry industry innovations.

On Tuesday, September 15th, Speed Dating took place with contractors broken into small groups of approximately 4-6. Each group moved from station to station experiencing a brief, 15-minute educational session. At the 15 minute mark, contractors were moved to the next station. 

Of note was the SPEC MIX area, which hosted its own mini-BRICKLAYER 500® that allowed contractors to square off. Congratulations to Donnie Williams from DRP Masonry, LLC on Team Oldham who correctly laid 19 brick in the short heat and walked away with $500. Kent Huntley from Huntley Brothers Company, Inc. on Team Huntley finished second with 16 brick. In a three-way tie for third were: Dean Lang from Lang Masonry & Restoration Contractors, Inc. on Team Kemp, Ryan Shaver from the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association on Team Bounds, and Gary Joyner from Joyner Masonry Works, Inc. on Team Joyner. 

Overall, the response has been remarkably positive to the revised Speed Dating format, which the MCAA plans on repeating once every three years. We would like to thank all of our contractors and our supplier companies for making the event a smash. 

Participating companies: 

  • Bon Tool ®
  • CrewTracks
  • EZ Scaffold
  • EZG Manufacturing
  • Hydro Mobile
  • Indiana Limestone Institute of America, Inc. 
  • Masonry Cosmetics ™ 
  • Norton Saint-Gobain
  • Premier Scaffold Solutions / TNT Equipment
  • Quick Headers
  • Tex-a-Con Cut Stone
  • Xtreme Manufacturing ™

Contractor Roundtable Discussions 

The Contractor Round Table discussions are an event intended to allow company leaders to discuss challenges facing their respective businesses and the industry as a whole. The unique setting allows for contractors from across the country to openly discuss ways to find solutions and improve masonry.

The topics discussed in the meeting will help us decide on some of the content we publish shortly, and we hope that the articles become useful to those trying to find solutions to the issues.

Some of the main topics discussed included: 

  • COVID-19 Procedures and Policies
  • Communication With Field Superintendents
  • Viability of Pre-Built Masonry Panels
  • Outlook on 2021

MCAA Safety Advantage Awards

The MCAA Board Meeting played host to the MCAA Safety Advantage Awards, sponsored by Federated Insurance. These awards are based on the incident rates of a mason contractor’s company. Awards go to the lowest number of incidents in two categories: fewer than 100,000 hours worked by all employees and more than 100,000 hours worked by all employees. 

Fewer Than 100,000 Hours Worked (Two-Way Tie)

  • A-1 Masonry & Sandblasting (Las Vegas, NV)
  • Cantarella & Son, Inc. (Pittsfield, MA)

Greater Than 100,000 Hours Worked (Three-Way Tie)

  • Gates Construction Company (Mooresville, NC)
  • Schiffer Mason Contractors (Holt, MI)
  • Troianiello Masonry (Scranton, PA)

Next Year’s Midyear Meeting 

Keep checking the MCAA website, our email newsletters, and MASONRY Magazine for updates on our still-to-be-determined location for the 2021 MCAA Midyear Meeting. 

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