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March 2013: From the Editor

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From the Editor

Jennifer Morrell

Covering a trade show is a lot of work. You leave everything in your life behind for a week to live out of a suitcase and totally blow your diet with restaurant food. With any luck, you’ll pick up a cold – maybe even the flu! – from the airports you must pass through. You may very well be functioning in a different time zone, so sleeping can be difficult, and trying to squeeze in a chat with your family back home…well…that can be a challenge, too.

Thank goodness, trade shows do have some incredibly redeeming qualities. Attending face-to-face meetings with the people you talk to on the phone year round, and putting a voice to those many email exchanges – it’s all part of building on and solidifying relationships.

First-hand knowledge of new products, technologies and trends in the industry is another benefit that can only be realized through attending these events. Having recently returned from the World of Concrete show in Las Vegas, I was able to gauge not only the innovation in the masonry industry, but also the enthusiasm behind it.

Maybe it’s just me, but as compared to the World of Concrete shows in 2009 and 2010, I could swear that even the air in the convention center seemed lighter. That dark cloud from before – lifted. Slumped shoulders and looks of despair – gone. This year’s World of Concrete show brought a spirited vibe of optimism that was almost palpable.

And the trends of our trade? Lighter, more powerful tools. Smarter packaging, branding and marketing of products. Safer equipment and a real interest in keeping workers safe on the jobsites. Mobile software and technology that allow contractors a wealth of information at their fingertips. All of these trends and more show me that we are bouncing back.

The efforts being put forth by the MCAA as of late are most impressive, from the fight to incorporate masonry into Building Information Modeling (BIM) software, to a push for a CMU Check-off Program.

The masonry industry is vibrant once again. I think everyone agrees that we may never see another 2006 and 2007. But, maybe now that we are working leaner and smarter, we truly will experience a New Normal, going forward.

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