September 2015: Chairman’s Message

Words: Mark KempSeptember 2015

Join Us for the Midyear Meeting

Mark KempMark Kemp Chairman Mason Contractors Association of America

By the time you read this, we will be just a few weeks away from our Midyear Meeting in Key West. I don’t ever remember a Midyear filling up as fast as this one. I think it must have something to do with the location and all the fun activities. I am excited to show you why I chose Key West – things like Mallory Square, incredible sunsets, great fishing and snorkeling, and good restaurants. Oh, I almost forgot about the people watching and interesting bars. When you’re there, make sure you go to the Southern Most Point and have your picture taken. On Sunday, we are having a special Foundation Dinner for the contractors who have made pledges to our foundation, to date. We thank all of you for the support you have shown, and I truly believe we will be announcing that we have reached our first phase goal of $2.5 million!  Remember this first-phase is money pledged only by contractors to show our determination to take control of our industry’s future, rather than let the future control us. This dinner will be the rollout of phase two, which will open it up to the suppliers of our industry. The goal of phase two is to raise another $2.5 million, bringing our total to $5 million. In addition, we will be able to support local efforts in the area of education and research and go on the offensive in showing why masonry should always be the material of choice for building projects. Hats go off not only to all those who are supporting the Foundation, but also to those who are giving their own personal time to make it happen. I will have more to report at the board meeting, but it is really hard to control my excitement and enthusiasm. On another positive note, the Check-Off Program, or HR985 as it is called in the House, has been voted out of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee and also by the whole committee. It will now go to the House floor for a vote, then to Senate, and hopefully to the President to sign. We still have some heavy lifting to do before it would get to the President’s desk, but this is the furthest we have ever gotten. So again, we should be optimistic about this becoming a reality. As of Aug. 7, 2015, we have 177 cosponsors covering 33 states and, by the time you read this, we will have signed many more. Maybe the bill will have been voted on by the House. I urge all of you to follow through with your Representatives and Senators about the importance of this bill for our industry. If you need to know who has cosponsored, please feel free to contact the MCAA office. I am writing this message as I fly back from the Texas Masonry Council convention, which was in San Antonio, Texas. We had some good discussions about the Masonry Foundation, and several contractors have joined the effort. Some have also offered to help with our work in Texas for the Foundation. Thank you deeply for your passion to help the masonry industry. The week before, Jeff and I were in D.C. to talk with the BAC and IMI about some common goals we can work on together. We will be going back there this month to attend the ICE and IMI meetings. In August, the executive officers went to Montreal to attend the NCMA convention. This gave us a chance to discuss what each of us is doing, and what we need to focus on in the future.  IMI, BAC and NCMA officers will all be joining us down in Key West to focus on industry issues. These meetings are essential to the unification of the masonry industry. So, you can see, there is so much positive action going on in our industry. In closing, they say many hands make light of much work. While I cannot necessarily agree with the light part, it is true all the great things that have taken place in the past, present and future would not have been possible without the time and energy of many. I wish to thank all of these people for making masonry a great industry to be part of!
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