September 2011: President's Message

Words: Dan Kamys President's Message Mackie BoundsThis Ole Cowboy Is Excited!

We just ended a streak here at home and it is one I am not bragging about. It’s just a fact. Can you imagine 47 days in a row of 100-degree or above temperatures? I just heard today that we broke another record, which was our 66th day this year that we were at 100 degrees or above. Now that is the No. 1 reason Norma Jean and I are looking forward to going to Vancouver for the NCMA Mid-year meeting. The second reason is to continue building a strong alliance with other associations in our trade. The third reason and the most important reason is to spend time with good friends.

Over the last six years, the MCAA has worked hard to build bridges, rather than dig gorges. I focused my term as president toward strengthening membership, adding value to the association and strengthening our alliances with our friends in the industry. I do not have to tell anyone about the tough economic times we are enduring, but some good has come from it.

I believe it has caused all of us to realize the need we have for each other. It is not a matter of open shop or union contractors, but of expanding market shares and, as a result, more opportunities for all. It is not a matter of selling what we know, but now sharing what we know, so we all can become better and a stronger industry. It is not a matter of us contractors always looking at each other as if we are vicious competitors, but now realizing that tilt-wall, metal, glass, EFIS and such like are our real competitors. These changes are exciting and refreshing.

Take note of some of these changes. We now have contractors teaching classes to other contractors and sharing what were once secrets. We have awakened, and we realize the better we all are, the more opportunities we will have. The architects will realize, once again, that masonry is the product of choice. This thought process is not new; we have turned from the ways of success. One of the first classes I attended at the MCAA was “How to Estimate Stone Cladding,” taught by Turner Smith and Dee Brown. I remember Dee saying to me, “Kid, I hope your listening, so you won’t bid so cheap until it is bad for our industry!”

Our workforce development committee is now working jointly with the NCMA’s Workforce Committee. As a result, we are about to see opportunities for our industry not only the apprentice and mason taking classes, but also estimating and project managing. Then, our classes for certification are being taught by folks all across our industry. Many are sponsored by our great suppliers and our strategic partners. As a result of the past, our technical committee is now working with the BIA and the NCMA, so we will not have battles but, rather, we will have solutions. You see representatives from all parts of our industry at our legislative conferences each year. We all realize we need to be unified to be successful, not fragmented.

I will tell the world that Washington, D.C., needs to take a lesson from all of us. We have learned that the best way to improve ourselves is to improve our industry. We now have Vision 20/20 throughout most of the country, and we are seeing block, brick, stone and mortar suppliers working together with the mason contractors, changing ordinances, one city at a time – so the use of masonry is the product of choice.

Most important, we are looking to the future with formulation of the South of 40 Committee. Young executives are coming together from the contractors and suppliers, bringing excitement and positive change. This all excites this ole cowboy!

Shoot for the moon and, even if you miss, you will land among the stars!

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