Chairman's Message: Sweet Tea and Grits

Words: Michael Sutter

Sweet Tea and Grits

Michael Sutter, MCAA Chairman

If it is May then it is the MCAA Legislative month at the Capital. We will be in DC this month to sweep through the Capital offices and let our legislators know that the masonry industry is important to us and how they can help us create jobs and get the government off our backs. We have been there on such a regular basis that most of the legislators know us by name. I don’t remember how many years in a row I have been there but I start looking forward to it months in advance. I’m just as excited to visit the congressional offices as I am to go on our behind the scenes tour of the National Cathedral given to us by the head mason on site. When we went on this tour a few years ago it was said that this would be a “once in a lifetime” tour. At one point during the tour we were literally on the roof of the cathedral. The opportunity to go on this tour again is certainly a gift. Of course, everyone also enjoys the socializing with fellow MCAA members as well and there will be plenty of time for that. If you are unable to attend this year’s event, I’ll report back to you some of the highlights in next month’s article. It’s time to start scheduling for our Midyear meeting in Steamboat Springs, Colorado beginning on August 27th. The registration will be up on the website soon. For those that are planning their travel, you could fly into Steamboat/Hayden airport or drive up from Denver. The drive is a little under 3 hours and it is a beautiful drive through the Rocky Mountains and I would recommend it. I had the pleasure of attending the North Carolina Mason Contractors Association annual meeting in Charleston, South Carolina. I know what you are thinking, why is the North Carolina association meeting in South Carolina? You’ll have to ask them but it was a beautiful city. The NCMCA is a group of contractors and suppliers that can compete against each other yet still be very good friends as well. Steve LeClair from Oldcastle in Phoenix said it well during a presentation he did for our dinner meeting last week, “I have friends here, competitors here and competitors who are friends here”. The NCMCA takes this to the next level. While the guys were in meetings the spouses got together for lunch and shopping and you could tell that they enjoyed each other’s company. (Colleen and Susie fit right in on the shopping part.) We were welcomed to all their events and they even allowed me to speak to the group at the business meeting where I updated all of them on MCAA news. I also spoke at their dinner and talked about leadership and also mentioned a few of the MCAA leadership team that were NCMCA members, Regional VP Gary Joyner, State Chairman Calvin Brodie, Committee Chairman Danks Burton and Committee Chairman Brandon Hartsell and of course Lynn Nash for herding those cats and keeping them on track. When I was invited to visit the NCMCA at their annual meeting, I told my wife Colleen that we needed to fly in on Friday afternoon and Fly out on Sunday morning as I am extremely busy. Then Susie Odom and her began to schedule the trip and I found out I was leaving on Friday and not returning until Wednesday and we were also heading down to Savanah, Georgia for a few days. Colleen said visiting Savanah was on her bucket list and I certainly couldn’t say no to someone checking off something on their bucket list. So, that brings me to the sweet tea and grits. I live in Phoenix and the only time I eat grits is at a national breakfast restaurant. I ordered grits while in Charleston and Savanah every opportunity I got and the grits there are a whole lot different than Phoenix grits! Then I was introduced to their sweet tea and I immediately became addicted to it. When I got home I looked up recipes on line and have been making sweet tea and grits ever since! A big thank you to the Australian Mason Contractors Association for publishing my article last month. I’m still waiting for the invitation to come visit you all down under!

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