May 2015: Chairman’s Message

Words: Mark Kemp

Progress in the Making

Mark KempMark Kemp Chairman Mason Contractors Association of America

I had the pleasure of going to Baltimore for our second Regional Meeting. Not only is this beneficial for the contractors who attended, but also for MCAA. It truly gives MCAA an avenue to meet its members and non-members on a more personal level. Four great seminars were presented by knowledgeable speakers. Rashod Johnson spoke on silica, going over the present standard and the new proposed rule by OSHA. Nicole Winnett from Jackson Lewis presented a program on how to handle an OSHA inspection. Nick Lang from NCMA talked about the changes in ASTM C90 and why they were necessary. Nick pointed out the advantages this block will have with things like energy and ergonomics. Jerry Painter, “Mr. Masonry,” spoke on codes and standards for masonry in contractor terms. The second day, contractors learned about new products and proper installation of products. If your area would like to host a Regional Meeting, contact the MCAA office. I really hope to see lots of you at the Legislative Fly-In. Some of the topics we’ll be pounding home in D.C. are the Check-Off Bill, OSHA’s new proposed silica rule – which would hurt the masonry industry the most, pension reform, and tax reform, to name a few. We are making progress on the Check-Off Bill and, presently, have 42 co-sponsors in the House who have signed on to the bill. As for silica, we have continued to support our coalition and sent a letter stating that OSHA has significantly underestimated the cost of the new proposed rule. Although there was some pension language that made it through last session, it was nothing that will solve the problem. So, there is much work to be done on this issue. The good news is that there has been a lot of chatter for tax reform, both estate tax and small business tax. So this is the perfect time to make your voice heard in D.C. as they move forward on tax reform. Follow up with your Representatives on all the issues we will push, especially on the Check-Off Bill. If you cannot make it, take the time to contact your Representatives and ask for their support. MCAA has heard from upper New York and South Carolina about wanting to start a MCAA chapter. Jeff and I are excited to show them all the benefits MCAA has to offer, and even more important, to show how they are making a commitment to their industry and their companies’ futures. In the middle of April, I will be attending the North Carolina convention. I am sure I will leave having picked up some information on a thing or two. Also in April, I am attending the BIM meeting in St. Louis to hear firsthand how this program is progressing. This BIM program is a huge undertaking by the masonry industry and will help get masonry back as the system of choice by designers, architects and engineers. MCAA has made a $500,000 commitment over five years to be an equal partner in this initiative. While in St. Louis, we will be meeting with IMI and NCMA to discuss what each of us is working on and how to coordinate to better utilize our resources as an industry. This is just another reason why I am so excited about the future of masonry. The last thing I would like to talk about is our Masonry Foundation. We met with the St. Louis contractors and have gained some additional pledges and are waiting for some more to come in.  North Carolina, through the work of Gary Joyner, continues to bring dollars to the fund. We are working on securing pledges in Texas and plan to work in Illinois in the near future. The Foundation Board has signed with an investment firm so we can start to grow our endowment. A special thanks to Christian Stein for his leadership of the Finance Committee. It is our goal to reach the first phase goal of $2.5 million as quickly as possible. If you have questions about the Foundation and would like to make a pledge, please contact Jeff at the MCAA office. Remember, this is the future of your company and our industry we are talking about. In martial arts, there is a saying: “You have to teach before you can lead.” We owe it to the industry to train the future leaders of our industry. By teaching, you will be recognized as a leader.
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