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May 2007

President's Message

Masonry MagazineCertification is Not a Financial Windfall to the MCAA

I'm sure you are all well aware of the Mason Contractors Association of America's (MCAA) introduction of the National Mason Contractor Certification for our industry's more than 20,000 mason contractors. We introduced this program because it was our belief that contractor certification would provide our customers with an objective measure as to what a certified contractor is and what they can expect if they specify a certified mason contractor on their projects. Certification will also give us the means to promote the use of our products and raise the level of professionalism within our industry. For years, we have advocated to our customers to use a quality mason contractor, but we did not give them the ability to know who a quality contractor was. Certification will now accomplish that.

For years, MCAA has advocated the use of quality mason contractors, so that our industry's clients could be assured that their projects would go smoothly. Until now, the masonry industry has not given its clients the ability to distinguish a quality mason contractor from a less-than-stellar contractor. Certification will now accomplish that.

While it has been a monumental task to implement, the National Mason Contractor Certification will have a dramatic, long-term impact on our industry's future vitality.

And the response to our efforts has been overwhelming. Industry customers have applauded our efforts and look forward to specifying the use of certified mason contractors. Contractors — both MCAA members and non-members alike — are already engaged in working toward their certification. Also, our supplier friends applaud our efforts and have already begun offering support toward this massive undertaking.

However, even though we have had an overwhelmingly favorable response, not everyone in the industry is supporting this effort. In fact, a few believe that MCAA simply introduced this program just to make money.

As MCAA's president, I can assure you that the Association did not launch this major program to make money for the national MCAA, as some have accused. In fact, if you browse the certification process and its requirements, you will quickly discover that contractors do not have to be a member of the MCAA to become certified — all mason contractors are able to gain certification. This issue was important in order to gain support from customer groups that would not want us to discriminate against non-member companies.

Also, the only mandatory program that we make all mason contractors take is our Masonry Quality Institute (MQI). We require this seminar, not because we will make profits from the event, but because MQI talks about meeting the customers' requirements 100 percent of the time, which speaks directly to our customers' needs. Of the 200 credits that a mason contractor must earn to become certified, only the 20-credit MQI program is required from the national MCAA. All of the other credits can be achieved at the local level.

I'm sorry, but I just don't see the financial windfall that the MCAA would receive from this program. Will we make some money? A little, but most of it will be used to administer and promote the program.

It is our hope that through our marketing and promotional efforts, that one day architects and owners will require a certified mason contractor on their projects. It is also our hope that the thousands of quality mason contractors that are not members of the MCAA will see the value of this program and the benefits that membership in MCAA offers.

Only by being united, can we advance the industry and win back the markets that we have lost. Certification is the first major step in achieving that goal.






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