MCAA Hits ???The Hill???

Words: Dan Kamys

Legislative Conference

The MCAA held its annual South of 40 Conference and Legislative Conference in May in Washington, D.C. A healthy attendance at all events made the week a resounding success.

The South of 40 group gathered for a day of learning and fun.

Kicking off the week on Tuesday, May 20, was the South of 40 Conference. Attendees gathered in front of the Capitol Building, where they were met by Mary Oehrlein, historic preservation officer, Office of the Architect of the Capitol, who offered a U.S. Capitol Stone Repair Tour. Oehrlein led attendees around the exterior of the Capitol, explaining the different types of repairs, cleaning and restoration occurring around the building. (Look for a special article covering these repairs in an upcoming issue of Masonry.)

The South of 40 Conference also included educational seminars on masonry ordinances, delivered by the Texas Masonry Council’s Rudy Garza; bricklaying robots, delivered by Scott Peters of Construction Robotics; and swarm bots, delivered by Professor Michael Silver, University of Buffalo.

The day was crowned by a one-of-a-kind, behind-the-scenes tour of the Capitol Building. Rep. Reid Ribble of Wisconsin gave South of 40 Conference attendees a private tour that included special access and a wealth of information. Some South of 40 Conference participants attended various Congressional fundraisers in the evening, and a few found the time to take in a Washington Nationals baseball game that night. It was a busy day, to say the least

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Construction Robotics’ Scott Peters talked to the South of 40 group about advances in masonry robotics. The Texas Masonry Council’s Rudy Garza addressed the South of 40 group to discuss masonry ordinances. Michael Silver addressed the South of 40 group about the marriage of technology and architecture, including swarm bots.
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The U.S. Capitol’s historic preservation officer, Mary Oehrlein (standing center, in black), gave the South of 40 group a tour of the Capitol’s exterior stone repairs. Congressman Reid Ribble led the South of 40 group on a behind-the-scenes tour of the U.S. Capitol.

Movin’ and shakin’ on The Hill

Bright and early on Wednesday morning, Legislative Conference attendees met for a strategy breakfast and issues briefing at Bullfeathers restaurant. The Keelen Group’s Stephen Borg assured that conference attendees were prepared for a full day of visiting representatives and senators. More than 100 meetings took place during two days, thanks to the efforts of The Keelen Group in organizing and setting meetings for attendees.

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Legislative Conference attendees were briefed by Keelen Group’s Steve Borg before a day on The Hill. Keelen Group’s Matt Keelen, MCAA Vice Chairman Mike Sutter, Congresswoman Krysten Sinema, and Colleen Sutter
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Conference attendees enjoy a relaxing evening reception hosted by The Keelen Group. Senator Richard Burr (4th from left) accepts the MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award from Gary Joyner (4th from right).

The MCAA bestowed the Freedom and Prosperity Award to four members of Congress, including Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC); Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL); Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY); and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

The Freedom and Prosperity Awards were created to recognize Members of Congress who have championed pro-small business policies supported by MCAA. Recipients understand that MCAA member companies, free from regulatory burden, can focus on growing their businesses and providing jobs, which will strengthen the U.S. economy and allow everyone to prosper.

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Mark Kemp presented the MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award to Congressman Brett Guthrie. Senator Bill Nelson accepts the MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award from Mark Kemp.

MCAA positions to Members of Congress

The MCAA makes a difference for its members every year by sitting front and center in the offices of our Members of Congress, explaining our positions on several important bills. Bills or concerns include: repeal of the 3% Government Withholding Tax; repeal of the Alternative Minimum Tax; opposition of America’s Affordable Health Choices Act; opposition of Bid Shopping; support of Comprehensive Immigration Reform; support of Concrete Masonry Checkoff; opposition of new Crystalline Silica regulation from OSHA; repeal of the Estate Tax; support of incorporating life-cycle costs into Military Construction (MILCON); improved enforcement of laws re: Misclassification of Employees at Independent Contractors; support of a broad-based approach to National Energy Policy; support of Pension Reform; support of Rebounding The Highly Skilled Workforce; non-support of unnecessary Regulation/Agency Rulemaking; support of School Construction; and support of the Small Business Administration’s Office of Advocacy.

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Congressman Trent Franks, Colleen Sutter, MCAA Vice Chairman Mike Sutter Lisa Prichard, Senator Jeff Flake, MCAA Vice Chairman Mike Sutter, and Moroni Mejia
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MCAA Chairman Mark Kemp, Congresswoman Marsha Blackburn, Andy Sneed and Bryan Foster Lindsey Stringer, Congressman Bill Flores, Moroni Mejia, and Steve Borg
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Brent Moore, Ashlee Moore, Congressman Walter Jones, Gary Joyner, and Imani Brodie Vice Chairman Mike Sutter, Congresswoman Ann Kirkpatrick, Lisa Prichard, and Moroni Mejia
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Imani Brodie, Gary Joyner, Congressman Howard Coble, Brent Moore, Ashlee Moore, and Jennifer Morrell MCAA President and CEO Jeff Buczkiewicz, MCAA Vice Chairman Mike Sutter, Sen. Jerry Moran, MCAA Chairman Mark Kemp, MCAA Secretary Paul Oldham, Keelen Group’s Steve Borg

You can learn where the MCAA officially stands on these positions by visiting

1. Quebec Saturday, June 14, Gatineau, QB2. Ohio Saturday, August 2, Harrison, OH 3. Washington Saturday, August 9, Seattle, WA 4. East Tennessee Saturday, August 16, Piney Flats, TN 5. Utah Friday, August 22, Salt Lake City, UT 6. British Columbia Friday, September 5, Surrey, BC 7. Wisconsin Thursday, September 18, Milwaukee, WI 8. West Tennessee Friday, September 19, Nashville, TN 9. Colorado Saturday, September 20, Denver, CO 10. Iowa Friday, September 26, Cedar Rapids, IA 11. Florida Saturday, September 27, Jacksonville, FL 12. Oklahoma Thursday, October 2, Tulsa, OK 13. Ontario Wednesday, October 8, Waterloo, ON14. Pennsylvania Thursday, October 9, Crum Lynne, PA 15. Illinois Friday, October 10, Chicago, IL 16. California Saturday, October 11, Sunnyvale, CA 17. North Carolina Wednesday, October 15, Charlotte, NC 18. New Jersey Thursday, October 16, Sparta Township, NJ 19. North Texas Thursday, October 23, Dallas, TX 20. South Texas Thursday, October 30, Alleyton, TX 21. Alabama Thursday, November 6, Tuscaloosa, AL 22. Alberta Friday, November 7, Calgary, AB 23. Arizona Saturday, December 6, Phoenix, AZ

Bio File: NCMCA President Ashlee Moore

As the first female president of the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association, Ashlee Moore has a full plate. But all indications are that she’ll do a fantastic job leading the masonry contractors of North Carolina. Ashlee, a manager at Koontz Masonry Inc. (KMI), is a spit fire – both smart and capable. Masonry wanted to get to know Ashlee a little better, and here’s what we learned:

Masonry: Explain how masonry infiltrated your family. Ashlee Moore: My papaw, Belton Koontz, started KMI in 1949. Belton and Virginia (my grandmaw) had three sons – Stanley, Freddy (my daddy) and Roger. I graduated from UNC-Charlotte in 1995 and started working in the family business at our sales and rental store, Triad Supply and Rental. I learned about the tools and equipment needed for the trade of masonry at TSR. I learned about business and management. I learned that, for the most part, people wanted to help me. So I asked countless questions, and I listened. I grew up in this industry. It was part and still is part of our everyday lives. My family works together, we eat together, and we go on vacations together. I think it is wonderful to be able to work with family.

Masonry: What’s it like to be a woman in such a male-dominated field? Ashlee Moore: I think there is plenty of room for women in this industry. It is a male-dominated field, but I never felt that I had to prove myself. Everyone is accepting and actually helped push me into leadership roles in our local CPMCA (Central Piedmont) chapter. I have respect for the men I work with in this field. They are all accomplished, hard-working men.

Masonry: Women in leadership roles have a special job as they lead others, but still keep their families going day to day. How do you manage that, and what is your advice for women trying to achieve a work/life balance? Ashlee Moore: The discipline of a schedule is an absolute necessity. I find I am more efficient the more I have to do. I also try not to bring my work home – which is hard to do in a family business – so I can be engaged with my family at the end of the day.

Masonry: What are your goals during your tenure as president of NCMCA? Ashlee Moore: I hope to see an increase in business over the next two years. I am excited about NCMCA and MCAA working together on issues that affect our industry across the states. We are at a critical time of changes in masonry as a system. We will likely get to see BIM-Masonry and the CMU Check-off program become a reality.

Masonry: Do you feel like the masonry industry is behind some other materials in marketing itself, and are we addressing it now? Ashlee Moore: I have been concerned for years now that we need to be marketing ourselves better. I hope to see that happen over the next couple of years. BIM-Masonry and the CMU Check-off program are a necessity. We do not want to get left behind or left out of construction. I am not concerned though about these tests. Our industry is resilient and resourceful. We are up to the challenge.

Masonry: Any thoughts about the Mason Contractors Association of America? Ashlee Moore: Yes, KMI is a member of the MCAA. NCMCA also supports MCAA. We see the fundamental value of our associations to this industry. I recommend others consider joining MCAA, because like NCMCA, if we join forces and work together, we can accomplish more.

Masonry: Any comments on the OSHA proposed silica rule and how the masonry industry has united to fight this proposed rule? Ashlee Moore: While in Washington, D.C., in May at the MCAA Legislative Conference, we spoke to senators and representatives about the issue of silica and how it could negatively impact our industry. My hope is OSHA will not make a sweeping declaration that could cripple our industry at a time when we have not fully recovered from the economic downturn. We, as associations, are being proactive about the issue of silica, instead of reactive.

Masonry: Why is the NCMCA such a strong, successful association? Ashlee Moore: NCMCA is strong and successful because of the dedicated associate and masonry members’ personal involvement and investment into our association. We are like family, and we are friends. Yes, we bid against each other, but we see the importance of working together. Many of these companies began as small family businesses, so we are alike in that respect.

We try to keep our local chapters strong by having monthly meetings, we offer training and we have an excellent certification program. We have golf tournaments, build Habitat houses, have brick and block laying competitions, and we strongly support our local high school masonry programs.

Lynn Nash, our executive VP at NCMCA, is one of the major reasons we have such a strong association. He keeps everything running smoothly and keeps all of us informed of issues affecting our industry.

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