A Bright Future
In the April issue of Masonry, I mentioned springtime and the beauty of it. This week, Norma Jean and I had the privilege and honor of meeting the Minnesota Mason Contractors up in the Twin Cities. Can you believe I woke up and looked out the window in my room, and everything was white? That is right, it was snowing. I love you guys in Minnesota, but the spring flowers in Texas called me back home.
We did enjoy our time there, especially the time we spent with our contractor and supplier friends. The economy is down, although they were beginning to see some light, but their spirit and hearts were strong. I encouraged them, and I encourage all of us, to remember: Life is not just this moment, but includes the future, too. We must continue to promote masonry as the best product to be used! We must train our people to be better. You and I as contractors must continue to learn and become better business people. We must reclaim our market share, and we do that through Vision 20/20. We will reclaim our share, one city at a time.
I also have been to Las Vegas a couple of times recently. One trip was for the National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) convention, and again for the Canadian Mason Contractors Convention. I am so proud of our working relationship with NCMA. We have come a long way, but we will continue to build on that relationship. We, as contractors, know we cannot be successful without our suppliers. I know we do not always agree on every issue, but we do agree that masonry is the product of choice. The NCMA’s foundation gave us a grant for $20,000 for our research we are doing, comparing masonry with competitive products such as wood, metal, glass, etc. Our Workforce Development Committee has begun a journey working closely with their committee as we plan for the future. We will train for tomorrow.
Our Canadian brothers almost made me jealous. They are having very good times right now. They have plenty of work, and prices reflect that. They are doing so many things right and are a great example to follow, when it comes to training and teaching architects and engineers about masonry. They face many of the same battles that we do, and I believe we can learn and help each other in these battles. One example was the contract language their customers were forcing on them. Another was how the competing products were battling masonry. There are many more, and we will maintain a strong relationship with our brothers from the North.
I have to mention one last trip: Norma Jean and I just celebrated our 33rd anniversary and spent an extended weekend at the LaCantera Resort in San Antonio. This will be home to our Mid-Year Meeting, which begins Sept. 14 this year. It is a great place for all to enjoy. The resort is outstanding, but add Fiesta Texas (Six Flags Amusement Park) and the shops of LaCantera (huge outdoor mall), and this location truly has something for everyone to enjoy. I hope all of you plan to come and join us. We will enjoy each other’s company, learn together and plan our future in a great Texas setting.
Until next time, this ole cowboy says, “Shoot for the moon and, even if you miss, you will land among the stars!”