2009 MCAA Convention

Words: Dan Kamys

Convention Report

Entertainer and speaker Alan Thicke addresses the crowd during the Opening Session of the MCAA Convention.

The 2009 MCAA Convention was held during the World of Concrete/World of Masonry show in Las Vegas last month. Mason contractors, suppliers and allied industry representatives from across the United States met to discuss their experiences and best business practices. The convention was successful and upbeat, leaving attendees on a positive note as we move through this tough economy.

The convention kicked off with an Opening Session on Tuesday, Feb. 3, during which MCAA President Tom Daniel officially welcomed attendees to the annual event. Special guest and keynote speaker, Alan Thicke, fired up the crowd with an amusing and motivational presentation.

The Tenth-Annual International Masonry Skills Challenge took place on Tuesday afternoon. This is a competition of masonry apprentices in first-, second- and third-year skill levels to showcase skills training in the masonry industry. Winning apprentices from regions of the United States and foreign competitions were challenged, to determine the top masonry apprentice at each level. They weren’t able to practice, and they weren’t allowed to consult their instructors, employers or anyone else during the competition. They had three hours to complete their projects with the given materials. The top-placing contestants for each skill level were:

First Place Yuvini Funes Ramero, United Masonry Inc., Alexandria, Va.

Second Place Juan Cazares, P & S Masonry Inc., Hamilton, Texas Third Place Jesus Castaneda, R & R Masonry Inc., Hollywood, Calif. First Place Mike Momeyer, Huff & Sons Construction, Scottsdale, Ariz. Second Place Nick Sapp, Adams Masonry, Chattanooga, Tenn. Third Place Marcelo Lopez, Pengilly Masonry Inc., Stockton, Calif. First Place Alvaro Landaverde, Sutter Masonry, El Mirage, Ariz. Second Place Wielman Gasper, Gentry & Painter Inc., Chattanooga, Tenn. Third Place Ryan R. Stone, Rick Stone Masonry Inc., Helotes, Texas

Shown is the group of proud winners of the International Masonry Skills Challenge.

Miguel Cervantes of Hollywood, Calif., shows his talent during the International Masonry Skills Challenge.

All winners were presented with trophies. First-place winners took home $1,000, second-place winners received $500, and third-place winners received $250. All contestants were provided with a Marshalltown tool bag.

Convention partners were Hydro Mobile Inc., Mortar Net USA, and QUIKRETE. Competition Gold sponsors were EZ Scaffold, Non-Stop Scaffolding, and SPEC MIX. Skills Challenge sponsor was Lafarge North America Inc. Competition Donor sponsors were Tradesmen’s Software Inc. and South Atlantic Lintels. Material and Service sponsors were Angelus Block Co., Crick Tool, EZ Grout Corp., GATORBACK, Marshalltown, MK Diamond Products Inc., and Wasco Inc.

On Tuesday night, a Mason Contractors Political Action Committee (MAC PAC) Reception was held at the Venetian Hotel. MAC PAC allows contractors the opportunity to have a national impact on federal elections. Former Nevada Republican Congressman Jon Porter addressed a full room about the country, economy and masonry industry.

On Wednesday, Feb. 4, “Expert’s Pairing Advice” was presented at the Venetian Hotel. Joachim Splichal showcased his culinary artistry at the Pinot Brasserie. California-French cuisine was paired with an award-winning wine list.

MCAA Past-president Frank Campitelli is presented with the Leadman Award by MCAA President Tom Daniel.

The MCAA Annual Meeting was held Wednesday afternoon, with the main topic of discussion being Vision 2020, a joint grassroots marketing initiative between the MCAA and the National Concrete Masonry Association to promote the use of masonry. MCAA Past-president Frank Campitelli was awarded the 2009 C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award during the meeting. Each year, the award is given to an individual who has provided exemplary leadership in advancing the masonry industry. Campitelli has been involved with the MCAA for more than 35 years. He spent eight years on the MCAA Executive Board, including two years as president from 2006 to 2008.

Paul Balibar, with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in Philadelphia, accepts a door prize during the MCAA Contractor Party. Julie Trost, with the California Conference of Mason Contractor Associations, and Joyce Greer, executive director of the Masonry Institute of Virginia, enjoy networking opportunities at the MCAA Contractor Party.

On Wednesday night, the MCAA Second-Annual Contractor Appreciation Party was in full swing. Hundreds of mason contractors attending the World of Concrete gathered for a night of food, drinks and fun at the Palazzo Hotel, sponsored by industry suppliers. Titanium Trowel sponsors were the Arizona Masonry Contractors Association, Bennu, EZ Grout Corp., EZ Scaffold, Hydro Mobile, the Mason Contractors Association of Greater Chicago, Mortar Net USA, Peninsula Products, QUIKRETE, SPEC MIX, and TNT Equipment Co. The Golden Grout sponsor was Solomon Colors Inc. Bronze Bucket sponsors were the Mason Contractors Association of St. Louis, Chemical Lime, Prism Pigments, Western Lime, and Basalite Concrete Products. An additional sponsor was the California Conference of Mason Contractors Associations, and a prize donator was Grout Grunt.

Shown left to right are Steve Fechino, project manager with WASCO and contest chair; Fastest Trowel 1st place winner Pascal Robertson; MCAA President Tom Daniel; Jesse Fullen, tender; MCAA VP Mackie Bounds; and Tyler Robertson, tender.

The MCAA Fastest Trowel on the Block Competition was held on Thursday, Feb. 5. The competition is a showcase of?? both the speed and skill of our industry’s workforce. Journeyman masons, accompanied by their two favorite tenders, competed in a show of both speed and craftsmanship. Each contestant’s goal is to complete as much of an 18-block-long wall as possible, using 8-inch X 8-inch X 16-inch CMU and the provided mortar in a 20-minute heat. The contest promotes quality training and pride in workmanship among journeymen and contractors, as well as promotes the craftsmanship, speed and versatility of masonry systems and the masonry workforce.

Shown left to right are Fastest Trowel 2nd place winner Ray Robinson of J.A.M. Construction in Gainesville, Fla.; Lynette Darby, tender; James Allen, tender; and MCAA President, Tom Daniel, and VP, Mackie Bounds.

This year, Pascal Robertson repeated as the Fastest Trowel champion, winning for the second year in a row. The contest was suspenseful and exciting, as each mason worked quickly to build a quality wall as the crowd cheered them on during the 20-minute competition. All winners were presented with trophies. The first-place winner took home $7,000, a BX-4 saw from MK Diamond Products, and a plaque from Marshalltown. The second-place winner received $2,500, and the third-place winner received $1,000. All contestants received a Marshalltown tool bag, a level from Crick Tool, a Grout Grunt, and additional prizes from Mortar Net and QUIKRETE.

MCAA President Tom Daniel presents Fastest Trowel 3rd place winner, Kriston Chee of Maverick Masonry in Glendale, Ariz., with prizes as MCAA VP Mackie Bounds looks on.

First Place Pascal Robertson, Robertson Masonry, Sorrento, Fla. Tenders: Tyler Robertson, Jesse Fullen Second Place Ray Robinson, J.A.M. Construction Inc., Gainesville, Fla. Tenders: Lynette Darby, James Allen Third Place Kriston B. Chee, Maverick Masonry Inc., Glendale, Ariz. Tenders: Enrique Esparza, Gilberto Palacios Aguero

A fired-up group of Fastest Trowel on the Block participants compete as the suspense builds!

Judges of the competition were Mike Sutter, head judge, Sutter Masonry in El Mirage, Ariz.; Shawn Belander, P and S Masonry Inc. in Hamiton, Texas; Calvin Brodie, Brodie Contractors Inc. in Raleigh, N.C.; Kerry Gagnon, K.M. Gagnon Inc. in Claremont, N.H.; Curtis Hoover, Center of Applied Technology in Stevensville, Md.; Darrell McMillian, P.E., Masonry Institute of St. Louis in St. Louis, Mo.; Doug Nichols, Dough Nichols Masonry Inc. in St. Peters, Mo.; Roy Swindal, Masonry Arts Inc. in Bessemer, Ala.; Jim Zuidema, Jimmy’Z Masonry Corp. in Crystal Lake, Ill.

Fastest Trowel competitors line up, waiting for the winners’ names to be called.

Convention partners were Hydro Mobile, Mortar Net USA and QUIKRETE. Competition Gold sponsors were EZ Scaffold, Non-Stop Scaffolding and SPEC MIX. Competition Donor sponsors were Tradesmen’s Software and South Atlantic Lintels. Material and Service sponsors were Angelus Block Co., Crick Tool, EZ Grout Corp., GATORBACK, Grout Grunt, Marshalltown, MK Diamond Products and Wasco Inc.

MCAA VP Mackie Bounds addresses the group to discuss Vision 2020 during the Annual Meeting. NCMA Chairman Bill Holden speaks to the crowd during the Annual Meeting about Vision 2020.

A Closing Reception was held Thursday, Feb. 5, at the Palazzo Hotel. Before attendees said goodbye to Las Vegas, they enjoyed dinner followed by an evening with “The Jersey Boys,” the Tony Award-winning Best Musical of 2006.

Shown are the proud winners of the Fastest Trowel on the Block competition and their tenders, along with MCAA President, Tom Daniel, and VP, Mackie Bounds.

?? MCAA Marketing Committee Chair Damien Lang addresses the group during the Annual Meeting.

Other MCAA events that kept attendees busy and learning included: Masonry Foreman Development; Masonry Quality Institute; Understanding Codes & Standards; and Basic Masonry Estimating. All were for Certification credit, and more than 70 Hanley Wood seminars were offered for Certification credit as well. Four contractors passed the Certification exam on Wednesday to become certified: Doyle Hatfield Masonry of Salem, Utah; G2 Masonry Corp. of Lehi, Utah; IMI Masonry of Orem, Utah; and Midwestern Masonry of Olathe, Kan.

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