July 2016: Chairman’s Message

Words: Michael Sutter

Making a Difference

Michael SutterMichael Sutter Chairman Mason Contractors Association of America mike.sutter@suttermasonry.com

I am writing this article on the plane from Washington, D.C., back to Phoenix — just a little five-hour jaunt. What a great time we had at the MCAA Legislative Fly-In, meeting with our legislators! Everyone was very busy on Wednesday, with meetings scheduled approximately every half hour. Steve Borg at the Keelen Group did an awesome job, as usual, making all of our schedules work. We broke up into our state groups and covered all of our issues, and our Representatives showed good interest and promised results going forward. We will certainly hold them accountable for their promises. We had a new member join us for the first time in D.C.: Reggie Wilson from WDP Masonry out of Fort Worth, Texas. Altogether we had more than 30 members in our group and made over 100 office visits. This was one of the largest groups ever for our fly-in. At our MAC-PAC lunch, Rep. Huizenga from Michigan joined us and challenged us to invite our Representatives to our places of business or our jobsites so they can better understand our challenges as small business owners. I assured him that we accept his challenge and will do just that. So contact your legislator’s office and schedule a visit. They should be anxious to do so. [caption id="attachment_13242" align="alignleft" width="300"]Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) receives the MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award from MCAA president Jeff Buczkiewicz (left) and Mackie Bounds (right). Senator Hoeven has been a friend of the masonry industry on many issues. This past year he has been instrumental on the silica issue. Senator John Hoeven (R-ND) receives the MCAA Freedom and
Prosperity Award from MCAA president Jeff Buczkiewicz (left)
and Mackie Bounds (right). Senator Hoeven has been a friend
of the masonry industry on many issues. This past year he has
been instrumental on the silica issue.[/caption] The day before our assault on the Hill, we had a VIP tour of Mt. Vernon, followed by a trip to Washington’s gristmill. It is still a working distillery, and although they didn’t offer any free samples, Paul Oldham purchased a bottle for his collection. I won’t mention the cost of the bottle, as his wife, Lisa, may read this article, and of course I’m not one to start any trouble. On our way back to our hotel, we stopped for another VIP tour of Lincoln’s cottage, which was his “Camp David” for getting away from Washington whenever he had a chance. It was easy to see why he loved the place so much. Tim O’Toole did a fine job “herding us cats” throughout the entire tour. As you can tell, we had a lot of fun and still managed to get a lot of work done. If you didn’t join us on this trip, mark your calendars for the middle of May next year and join us. Thank you to all who attended this fly-in and invested your time away from home to make a difference for the masonry industry as a whole. During the first week of June, the MCAA officers met in Chicago with SPEC MIX and Informa to discuss plans for World of Concrete 2017. It may seem a little early, but it takes this long to plan our meetings, education classes and of course the Masonry Madness day in the Gold Lot. Last year, we rolled out a Workforce Development/Innovation area between the SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500™ and the MCAA Fastest Trowel on the Block contests. This is where SAM, the bricklaying robot, was located, along with IQ Power Tools, MortarNet and our BIM demonstration tent, among others. It was a huge success, and we are planning for a much bigger event this year. We will be brainstorming new ideas for this area to attract more attendees not only the day of the contests, but also the day before and the day after. Watch for more details as we get closer to the event. It’s only three short months until the MCAA Mid-Year Meeting in Scottsdale, Ariz., and preparations are going well. We have some great events planned that will be a lot of fun for the entire family. The resort is definitely family friendly, and of course the weather will be perfect, so bring the entire family along to “The West’s Most Western Town,” as Scottsdale is sometimes called.
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