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From the Editor

Most people can look back and point out a handful of events that changed their lives forever — moments in time that spiritually, emotionally or sometimes physically altered the course of one's life.

One of the life changing events in my life was when I met Dr. Maya Angelou, an extraordinary woman whose titles include poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director.

At the time of our meeting, I can honestly say I was at the lowest point of my existence. Everything was going dreadfully wrong in my life. On this particular day, I was on my way to visit my family, and I missed my connecting flight. I was sitting in the airport bar questioning my existence in the world, when Dr. Angelou walked up with her two bodyguards and sat down right next to me.

We spent the next 15 minutes talking. It was beyond the average, shallow topics of the weather, politics or how much I enjoyed her work. She reached right into the heart of my problems and laid some deep words of wisdom on me. It changed me forever. The fact that I met her, the timing and topic of conversation were beyond coincidence, beyond surreal and, I would like to think, beyond the scope of this earthly world.

A similar event is happening right now for the masonry industry and other trades. Maybe not as earth shaking or spiritually profound as my meeting with Maya Angelou, this event will surely be a "life-altering" change for mason contractors.

I am referring to the work of the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) to begin a "Training Exchange Program" with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Led by Marian (MJ) Marshall, MCAA Director of Government Affairs, this life-changing initiative is going to give mason contractors the opportunity to educate, communicate and reciprocate with OSHA and their compliance officers. When it begins — hopefully in the next few months — this program will implement a way for mason contractors to eliminate or lower the amount of citations given due to misunderstandings, and help you to realize a better, more cooperative relationship with OSHA.

Although Marshall is working hand-in-hand with OSHA representatives on formulating this program, MCAA also got the opportunity recently to bring the matter before a Senate subcommittee. Roy Swindal, Owner of Masonry Arts, Inc., and MCAA Vice President for Region B, testified before a very receptive group of senators, giving support to enacting the Training Exchange Program at the legislative level.

For more information on this life-changing event for the masonry industry and to review the testimony given by Swindal, please see the feature article "OSHA and Small Business" on page 14.

Also, Masonry is pleased to introduce Gary Micheloni as the author of our new "Full Contact Project Management" department (see page 36). Every month, Micheloni will provide readers a "chalk talk" on strategy, profits and how to make the most of your team. We hope that you'll find his articles as educational and entertaining as we have.



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