November 2016: Chairman’s Message

Words: Michael Sutter

Making and Renewing Friendships

Michael SutterMichael Sutter Chairman Mason Contractors Association of America

If you read my column last month, you know I reported on the success of the MCAA Midyear Meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz. But since I had to write that article in the beginning of September, I was just assuming it went well. Now that it is finished, I can report that it was truly a wonderful event. Almost everyone who attended remarked how well it went. We accomplished all of our committee business on Sunday while it rained for part of the day. Yes, I received a lot of grief from those in attendance about my promising perfect weather during this Midyear Meeting. But since we were locked in a room for the majority of the day, it didn’t really matter what the weather was like outside. I told everyone that I ordered a little rain to soften the greens so the golfers could shoot for the pins and also to keep the dust down for those riding the UTVs! That evening was the opening reception, which was extremely well attended. We were serenaded by a bagpiper at sunset to set the tone for the evening. Monday kicked off with the fast and furious “Speed Dating,” with 13 companies in 13 different suites to tell us about their products/services in 20-minute presentations as we moved from suite to suite. I heard from many of the attendees and exhibitors that the Speed Dating sessions just keep getting better each year. There are many who would have loved a few extra minutes with the vendors, but we have to keep the speed in Speed Dating! At the same time as the Speed Dating, the ladies went to their “Sip and Paint” outing and returned with some fabulous paintings. Monday afternoon brought the golfers out for our golf tournament, where a lot of money was raised for our PEC. When it was important to have perfect weather, Scottsdale did not disappoint. All the golfers had a great time on the course. Tuesday morning was our business meeting and roundtable discussions. The video on BIM-M provided by our BIM coalition was well received and did a great job of letting us know where we came from, where we are now and where we are heading. This is the end of the fourth year of a five-year schedule for BIM-M that is primarily funded by MCAA, NCMA, BAC and IMI. Participation was high in the roundtable discussions, with the topics provided by Andy Snead and MCAA’s Education Committee. After the roundtable discussion, the majority of the group hit the desert in UTVs. They must have had a good time, because they returned with smiles on their dirty faces while the rest of us enjoyed some pool time at the resort. The closing dinner outside the clubhouse on the green could not have been a prettier setting with the sun setting over the Sonoran Desert. Our guest speaker that night was Congressman Trent Franks. Though he began his talk with a little politics, the majority of his speech was about patriotism and reminding us that we live in the best country in the history of the world. He shared a touching story that left many in the audience with tears running down their cheeks. Alan Johnson from Utah and Mackie Bounds from Texas came up to me afterward and said they did not know Congressman Franks, but as soon as they get home they are going to send him a check even though this was not a fundraising event. As I often tell members who have not attended a Midyear event before, this is where friendships are made and renewed each year. If you weren’t able to make it this year, you have to put it on your calendar for next year. New members Melchor and Olivia Olguin of Aztec Masonry couldn’t stop talking about the great time they had meeting members for the first time, and how they were welcomed by everyone there. Paul and Cheryl Cantarella were there celebrating his becoming an MCAA Certified Contractor, and also expressed what a great group of members we have and how they can’t wait until next year. While we have not yet selected a city for next year, we received a lot of suggestions from those in attendance and we look forward to making the selection soon. Colleen and I thank you for visiting our state and seeing some of the beauty Arizona has to offer.
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