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From the Editor

This month, I will have worked with the good folks at MCAA and on Masonry magazine for three years, with over two of those years as editor. Boy, time flies when you're having fun! It seems like just yesterday that I was sticking my foot in my mouth ... oh, wait ... maybe it was just yesterday. Just kidding ...

Really though, one of the biggest errors I've made over the last three years was to think that poured and tilt-up concrete construction are masonry; however, I'm really not alone in that mistake.

It seems like everywhere I look, "masonry" is used to refer to not only brick, block and stonework, but also concrete, stucco and/or tile. The dictionary definition for masonry is "a structure built of stone or brick by a mason," yet almost everyone I speak with outside of the industry includes other extraneous building materials under the same heading (some of this confusion might be due to the differences of opinion between industry organizations of what the term actually covers).

My point is: the next time you're speaking with a layperson, you might be surprised how much confusion can be cleared up by just explaining masonry and the basics of the job. Now, obviously, masonry isn't one of those fields that really throws people for a loop, like "chromatography" and some of these other bizarre industry names that make you scratch your head and draw a blank as to their meaning. But, if laypeople — let's say, such as your local Representative or Senator — don't understand what exactly you do for a living, how are they ever going to understand your business, your needs and what matters to you?

Wouldn't you agree that the factors and problems involved with running a tile contracting business are probably a little different than that of a mason contractor? Or that a concrete contractor might care about different legislation than a mason contractor? Sure, there are some similarities, but there are a lot of stark differences across technical, safety and legislative lines, to name just a few.

The word "masonry" can explain a lot about what mason contractors do for a living, but if the person you're speaking with doesn't have a firm grasp on the true meaning then you've lost one more person who could have understood that much more about the industry.

On page 12, a synopsis of the MCAA 2005 Legislative Conference details the meeting of mason contractors with a group of laypeople, who just so happen to help guide our nation. The Conference participants took the time to discuss and inform the Congressmen, Senators and other speakers that they met with about the masonry industry. Now, having a better idea of what the masonry industry is all about, these key decision-makers in our nation's capital will have a better understanding of the issues, problems and overall business needs of the mason contractor.

So the next time you meet with a layperson, whether it's your next door neighbor or your next Congressperson, make sure you make them aware of what masonry means to you.



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