October 2015: Chairman’s Message

Words: Mark KempOctober 2015

Seeing the Future Before our Eyes

Mark KempMark Kemp Chairman Mason Contractors Association of America Mark@superiormasonry.com

I am writing this newsletter on my way home from attending the ICE meetings in D.C., and then going to Baltimore to attend the BAC National Apprenticeship contest. It is always good to see people like Jim Boland, president of the BAC, and Joan and Dave with IMI sharing the same enthusiasm for our industry. As we all know, MCAA is made up of both union and open shop contractors. Some might think this to be strange, but it is really a good thing. You see, competition brings out the best in all of us. I look at union versus non-union as a checks-and-balance system. It forces each to make the other better, and that is what we should all be striving for, whether in our industry or life. Some of the competition categories were brick, stone, marble, granite and tile. As I walked around looking at all the young contestants, it appeared to me I was seeing the future of our industry right before my eyes. The look of determination in their eyes showed through the use of their hands as they worked to perfect their mock-ups. Lots of those competing were second or third generation craftsmen which shows how masonry is truly a family industry.  You could see parents, wives and friends giving them encouragement.  Hats off to all who competed and a special thought for the four contestants from Wisconsin; one of the four, Zach, is part of the Superior Masonry family. Win or lose, if you do the best you are capable of, you will always be a winner. These constant challenges and competitions in life make us grow and help us reach our full potential. So, I hope to see all those competitors I witnessed today compete at our National Skills Challenge at Masonry Madness. Speaking of Masonry Madness, it is time to start thinking about it and putting it on your calendar: Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016. I will be giving more details on the MCAA convention as we get closer to the date. I do know we will be at Vdara Hotel this year. The South of 40 group will be hosting an event again at Senor Frogs, and I am sure they will have some fun things for everybody to participate in or be entertained by. MCAA, IMI and NCMA have formed a partnership to get the word out that “Masonry Doesn’t Burn.” This partnership will emphasize the public safety concern of using other systems in public buildings, like dormitories for our children, retirement centers for our parents, and apartment buildings. It is time we show municipalities the danger they are putting the public in through a lack of proper fire-resistant materials, like masonry. There is no easier way to gain market share than by pushing this message of truth. We are meeting with our partners in Key West, and this will be the main topic of discussion. This is just another way of showing how the masonry industry has come together for the good of the industry. While I write this message, the Midyear Meeting in Key West has not yet taken place. I will tell you, people are pumped to go to Key West, so I am sure it will be a huge success. One of the things I am really looking forward to is the Masonry Foundation Dinner. As of Sept. 12, 2015, we are at $1.85 million raised by just contractors, and I know we will exceed $2 million by the time of the dinner. The second phase will have been rolled out at the dinner, and our endowment will be steadily growing. We must not be satisfied with what we have accomplished or the reaching of our goal of $5 million, because we are capable of $8 million to $10 million. As I mentioned in the paragraphs above, we must do what we are capable of and nothing less. If we do, we will hit the $8 million to $10 million. In early-September, Jeff and I attended the Chicago Contractors meeting to talk about the Foundation and what it means to our industry. A week later, John Jacob and Paul Oldham hosted a dinner and talked about the Masonry Foundation with some contractors from their area. So, things are progressing at a steady pace. If you have not made a pledge or an investment into the future of your industry and company, please contact the MCAA office or me directly. They say a man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm. I and others have that enthusiasm for the Masonry Foundation. How about you?
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