July 2015: Chairman’s Message

Words: Mark Kemp

Spread the Word: Masonry Doesn't Burn

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

For those of us in colder climates, there is nothing like building a fire in your fireplace. Or, perhaps, you have a fire pit in your backyard and, at night, you build a camp fire and tell old war stories. While watching the flames of a fire flicker is relaxing and provides warmth, these flames can be one of the most destructive things one can encounter. Fire can destroy homes, condominiums, apartment buildings and retirement centers. If that is not enough, the loss of life can be significant. All of these things have one thing in common: They all use wood! (Check out the ad below.) Dept-Chair-msg-Fire-AdSo, it is time to turn a negative into a positive. The masonry industry needs to use wood as a positive tool to show the advantages of masonry. We need to get the simple message out that masonry does not burn. After wood is all burned up, what is left: the masonry that contained the fire. The masonry industry not only needs to educate architects, engineers and designers, we need to get to the people who write the codes. We also need to align ourselves with fire departments, police departments and municipalities. These are the voices that can have an impact on new codes limiting the use of wood for the safety of the public. The MCAA is working on and committed to get this message out. With the help of others in our industry, we will succeed in making those new safety codes. The message is clear: Wood burns, masonry does not. But we will need resources or money and personal time commitments to make it happen. Getting this message out will be a new goal of the MCAA: “Masonry Doesn’t Burn!” By doing this, we will increase our market share as well as save lives. We will be able to get funding for our Masonry Doesn’t Burn message through avenues like the Check Off Program and the Masonry Foundation. As of May 22, there were 96 sponsors in the House, spread over 31 states. With the efforts of our Legislative Fly-In still producing results, I would expect to add 40 more. For those who attended, thank you. For those who did not, the work is not done. Keep calling and emailing your representative, if he or she has not yet sponsored our bill. The Masonry Foundation, as we grow the endowment, will be able fund these very kinds of things. A quick update on the Masonry Foundation: There was a board meeting in D.C., and I am honored to say the nominating committee would like to nominate me for the chairman position. The foundation and the MCAA both begin to transition leadership positions about six months out. For me, the timing is right as I wind down my role as chairman of MCAA. Mike Sutter, who already has played a big role within the MCAA as vice chairman, will assume more and more responsibilities for the MCAA. I want to thank Tom Daniel for his leadership and commitment to the Foundation. He will still be involved, but will serve in a different role one that will afford him some well-deserved rest. Don’t forget: Our Midyear Meeting in Key West occurs the last week of September. This will be the perfect place to get a little R&R and recharge your batteries. No sport coats, no ties – and we are going to assure the afternoons are free for personal and family time. Some activities include a sunset cruise, fishing, snorkeling and a pub crawl. We also are working on a possible trip to Cuba. So mark your calendars, and get ready for the time of your lives! Remember to spread the word, Masonry Doesn’t Burn!
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