February 2016: Regional Update

Words: Dan KamysFebruary 2016

Regional Update

Strength and Growth in the NCMCA Metrolina Chapter

Brandon HartsellBy Brandon Hartsell

Based in Charlotte, N.C., the Metrolina Chapter is fortunate to have a number of the nation’s largest mason contractors and suppliers in its chapter. Although the quantity of contractors and suppliers is a major factor in Metrolina’s continued success, the Charlotte organization also boasts an ability to continue growth because of the history, tradition and the respect of the masonry culture in North Carolina. In January 2015, I stepped into the role of chapter president and have tried to communicate that the Metrolina chapter is only as good as the team we have in place. The Metrolina Chapter officers are Tracy Kiser, VP; Carson Greif, secretary; and Justin Bamonte, treasurer. Our chapter has changed its meeting venue, started accepting electronic forms of payment, and has a presence on Facebook and LinkedIn. Though these may seem like small examples, these changes have drawn more people. One idea that I want to project from our chapter is passion for the masonry profession. When I share my personal passion, I explain that I am fortunate enough to have a father who took my brother and me to work during school vacation and holidays. I am successful today because of my parents. Within this chapter, we have legends in our industry, like Sam McGee. Many can say Mr. McGee trained them, because masonry is a tradition. People ask me, “Brandon, why are you so passionate about this profession?” I answer with a statement the Metrolina Chapter uses in every transaction, “The masonry vocation will only stay as strong as we make it. How strong do we want it to be?” As the Metrolina Chapter continues to mature, one of the challenges we face is increasing our chapter size. The answer is straightforward: Provide attendees a reason to be at our meetings. We must plan interesting and unique monthly programs. Each month, provide a take-home message that will assist someone’s business. Make those who attend feel their time is well spent as the business side of masonry can be overwhelming. We are often confronted with bid deadlines, overzealous project managers, material lead times, and those who are genuinely hard to satisfy. So taking an evening to attend a meeting that will make a difference is often the best remedy for clearing the mind of the day-to-day responsibilities and focusing on the long-range vision of the real reasons we do what we do. Our motto is: Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m., we are competitors. But in the grand scheme, we are partners who come together to improve and promote this industry for current and future generations. We must continue to build. The foundation is in place, but the structure is ongoing.” Not everyone will attend the 2016 North Carolina Masonry Contractors Convention or the World of Masonry/World of Concrete trade show, so we must bridge these events with informative monthly or bimonthly meetings. Several meetings offer valuable opportunities to get involved in and support the growth of the Metrolina Chapter. We began 2016 with our first Metrolina meeting in January. The 2016 SkillsUSA North Carolina State Conference will be held April 18 – 21 at the Greensboro Coliseum. Our 2016 North Carolina Masonry Contractors Convention is scheduled for April 28 – May 1. The 2016 Annual NCMCA Masonry Apprentice Skills Contest returns to Carolina Stalite’s Ben Ketchie Park in Gold Hill, N.C., on May 21. Finally, our 2016 Metrolina Chapter Golf Tournament returns in November at the Warrior Golf Club, located in China Grove, N.C. In closing, the Metrolina Chapter has many people and companies to whom we want to express our sincerest appreciation. We are thankful for our mason contractors and material suppliers. Without these charitable contributions and loyal support, our achievements would be limited. We thank you, and we look forward to a successful 2016.
Brandon Hartsell is president of the Metrolina Chapter of the NCMCA. He can be reached at brandon.hartsell@gatesconstco.com.
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