I’ll begin by saying “thank you” for giving me the opportunity to serve as President of the MCAA. It was a humbling experience and, at the same time, enjoyable. As you all know, I am a believer in the MCAA, and I believe every mason contractor in America needs to be a member. It is the only national association that has the best interest of the mason contractor in its heart at all times. That includes union contractors, open shop contractors, residential contractors, and our suppliers. We are a great industry, we have the best material, we have great craftsmen, and, together, we produce the most beautiful, substantial and energy-efficient buildings for the end-user to enjoy. Today, we must unite and not allow barriers between us to hinder our message to the construction world.
Today we have in place a marketing vehicle, which is Vision 20/20. I plan to devote a great deal of my time during the next few months to this program and to help educate our industry on how to drive this vehicle toward a greater market share. Through the Marketing Committee and Legislative Committee, we have reclaimed and will reclaim more of our market share in military construction. We are working on models that will compare masonry to other competitive products. We are putting programs together for members to use with design-build contractors and construction managers. Now we are looking at software, such as that for BIM, that will allow us to have more input in design and better manage our projects. I am excited about the accomplishments of the MCAA, and the effort and hard work of all of our volunteers.
As our market grows, so do our needs of craftsmen and trained help. We realize many great training programs are in place around the country. At the same time, we recognized the need of more programs and expand our opportunities in high schools across our country. We soon will sign an agreement with NCCER that will enable us to grow and achieve our ultimate goal. We want more opportunities to sell work and have the employees to perform and produce a quality structure.
Over the last two-plus years, our Technical Committee has stood up for you and me, and has done what is best for our entire industry. Jerry Painter and John Merk have helped educate us, as members, on the importance of our upfront involvement, and being pro-active, rather than reactive, to decisions already made. I trust that message will never be forgotten by any of us.
I want to thank to the TEAM Committee for a great awards program, and I am looking forward to our next one in Park City this year. I suppose the committee most dear to me is South of 40. Here, within this committee, are the future producers and leaders of our industry. We now have the “Safety Advantage” for MCAA members, and we have safety forums. Our membership now expands beyond commercial and large residential contractors, reaching out to residential contractors. We now allow students to become members while they are learning to be a part of the future. MasonrySystems.Org is ready to take the next step and will become a huge part of our marketing efforts in the future.
Thanks to our Legislative Committee, we are known on Capital Hill! I want to thank Matt Keelen, who has been a tremendous help. When it comes to education and certification, the MCAA is the leader. We now are putting together a certification program to build wood-burning fireplaces – not because we don’t know how to build one, but because we do not want some government agency to tell us how. The accomplishments go on and on. Yet, the most important thing is the future! John Smith, Mark Kemp, Mike Sutter and Paul Odom will continue to take us toward a better future at the MCAA.
Thank you John, Mark and Mike for your support and help. Thank you, committee chairs and volunteers, for all your time and determination to help us have better tomorrow. Thank you, Jeff and the staff of the MCAA. You are the greatest, and I love y’all. A big thank you goes to my folks at Brazos Masonry, who have been great with your support and patience. Yes, Robin has made sure I am on my conference calls, and I leave on time to catch my next flight. Pete always kept things in order; that is what I call a great partner. Avery special thanks to the sweetheart of my life, Norma Jean! She has put up with a lot of days and nights without me, but she always smiled when I left and gave me a bigger smile when I got back. I am retiring from my position at the MCAA, but not from the industry I love. I will continue to do all I can to make this industry better for us and the future. God bless each of you and God bless the U.S.A.!
As I go, “Shoot for the moon and, even if we miss, we will land among the stars!”