Blast from the Past: Mark Kemp

Words: Although my Chairmanship with MCAA ended around 2 ½ years ago, I remain active chairing the Union Committee for MCAA and being the Chairman of Masonry Foundation. Before I move on to what else I am doing outside the Masonry industry, I must give a plug to the Masonry Foundation. I am so proud to be associated with something that has united both mason contractors and suppliers for the good of their industry. Think about it, having raised over $4.1 million in pledges is incredible, but more incredible is the future it gives our Industry. Thank you to all who have supported the Masonry Foundation. And to those who have not yet stepped up to the plate, please consider making an investment into the future of your industry and company by making a pledge to the Masonry Foundation. I am still very active at the local level too, presently being the President of ACEA, which is an organization of sub-contractors and general contractors in the Milwaukee area. I am also an officer and board member of Mason Contractors Association of Milwaukee, chairman of the Laborers negotiating committee as well as being a member of the labor-management committee. Lastly, I am a board member of Wisconsin Masonry Alliance which is a statewide organization promoting Masonry. As you can see, I still have the passion for the masonry industry and the people who are a part of it. Since ending my term as Chairman of MCAA, I have been able to enjoy pursuing some things outside of the Masonry Industry. I would like to give my son Brian credit for doing an outstanding job taking the reins of Superior Masonry during the last four years. We are both blessed the transition has not strained our relationship but in fact has made it stronger. As we all know, that is not always the way it works out. Because of Brian’s growth and success, I have been able to focus more on my journey as a Martial Artist, achieving Oh Dan (5 Degree Black belt) or Master in Taekwondo. I have been working on this goal for 20 years and like everything else in life, the struggles and efforts have paid off, rewarding me with success not just as a Martial Artist but more importantly as a person. I teach TKW when my schedule permits, giving me the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience with other martial artists. Seeing them develop as a person first and then as a martial artist is a very rewarding. Pauline and I, as well as Superior Masonry have become a sponsor of the City Youth Martial Arts Program. This program establishes Martial Arts programs in the inner city of Milwaukee working with children and adults, giving them a positive outlook on life. It helps develop strong characters and shows them how to be a positive influence and leader in their communities. One of my biggest rewards teaching in this program is being hugged by different children who are so desperate for someone to love or for someone to show love them. I hope to spend more time in the future teaching at the various schools, which are set up throughout the city. We often tend to take for granted all the things we have, so take the time to reach out and help someone in need or less fortunate. I guarantee there is no better feeling and you will be helping yourself too. I also do additional training with Dave Young of US Fighting Systems. This training covers special training on gun and knife take away, how to deescalate a crisis and active shooter training. I have had the opportunity to be his assistant for training programs for all different types of law enforcements agencies. Pauline and I have started the Kemp Family Foundation. Presently we have been working to build up the corpus amount. We have funded several special projects like the City Youth Martial Arts Program, Learn for Life Kenya, which provides young Kenyan people with the tools to support themselves with a better life; Help for Foster Care Children, Children’s Hospital through Board Break-Thon, and some other very special request. We made our children board members, making it our goal that once we pass on, the Foundation will live on to not only help others but also keep the bond of our children strong through helping others. They will continue to meet to discuss which special request meet the guidelines of the Foundation and which to fund. A lot of our time is also spent caring for our nine grandchildren, going to different school events, sporting events, birthday parties and sleepovers. We have nine grandchildren, so you can imagine our schedules. Neither one of us can imagine not being a part of their lives. Grandparents can play such a positive role in their lives by being that third party sometimes giving them the same advice they hear from their parents. They just hear it more clearly through grandparents. This summer we sold our 320 Sundance Sea Ray, although we have many great memories, we decided it was time to close this chapter in our life and start a new one. So, we tore down and rebuilt our home on Big Cedar Lake. We enjoy the change of pace from our condo in downtown Milwaukee. I spend a lot of time paddle boarding on Big Cedar Lake and on the Gulf of Mexican. Nothing better than putting on the headphones, listening to music and heading out on the board for a couple of hours. We also have been able to spend a little more time in Naples, giving us a little break from the long Wisconsin winters. I end by saying life is what you make of it, enjoy it because each day is gift.
Words: Mark Kemp Photos: Mark Kemp
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