Michael Sutter, MCAA Chairman
Here we are in November already with Thanksgiving right around the corner and year end fast approaching. We should all be busy planning and budgeting for next year as it will be here before we know it. It’s hard to believe that our MCAA convention at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry is just 2 months away. That is certainly one of the busiest times for us at MCAA. The officers and staff started preparing for this convention as soon as the last one was over. There is a lot of preparation for not only all of our business meetings and educational classes but also the activities we hold in the Bronze lot. Speaking of the Lot, the Gold Lot which we used to hold our competitions in, will not exist as the Las Vegas convention center is expanding and will extend all the way from the north hall to Las Vegas Blvd.! This new addition will add 600,000 sq. ft. of show floor and meeting rooms to the existing 3.2 million sq. ft. of the convention center. How that affects us is our outdoor activities consisting of the MCAA Fastest Trowel on the Block, the Apprentice Skills contest and the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 will be held in the Bronze lot. The Bronze lot is just south of the South Hall. We will be sure to have plenty of signs directing people to these events.
Be sure to read the ride along included in this month’s magazine on the topic of Natural Stone. One of the articles is about the stone carvers at the Washington National Cathedral. We were lucky enough to have done 2 tours led by the head stone mason on staff there. After the first tour I called it a once-in-a-lifetime tour but we actually were able to have a second one a few years later. For those that were along for one of the tours I am sure you will agree that it is truly an amazing structure and the people that repair and maintain it are the finest craftsmen around. There is also an article titled Everybody Must Get Stoned. You would think that stone hasn’t changed much over the years but you will find in the article that is has changed a lot and is still changing today.
I can’t pass up an opportunity to talk about our Masonry Foundation, at least I can’t bear the pain that our Foundation Chairman Mark Kemp would put me in if I didn’t! The Masonry Foundation is the future of our industry. The dollars raised there will never be spent, only the interest earned will be used to advance the masonry industry. The Foundation now has over $3.5MM in pledges and $1MM already invested and earning interest (over 11% earned so far in 2017). In just a couple of years the Foundation will begin accepting grant requests for projects that will be funded through the Foundation for the advancement of our industry. If you have already pledged to the Foundation, thank you very much for investing in OUR industry and making a difference. If you haven’t been asked to pledge yet, shame on us. We are reaching out to as many contractors and suppliers as we can but there are only a few of us doing the asking. The pledges are typically paid over a 5-year time span but can be adjusted to suit your circumstance. If you would like to invest in the future of OUR industry, please contact the MCAA office and we will gladly send you information and if you would like to talk to one of us, we will be glad to give you a call.
Now, about the title of my article. When we are busy in our work and personal lives handling all types of situations that arise, it is easy to get a little negative at times. It was very easy to get negative a few years ago when we were living through the Great Recession. We had no work, plenty of overhead and were laying people off that had worked with us for many years. It was hard to see the effect that had on the families that relied on us for their livelihood. Times are very different now but we still have our challenges, particularly in our lack of workforce. But during both the bad and good times we need to not focus on the negative but look at the positives. I would like to share something with you that I am reminded of every day when sitting down at home to eat a meal. My wife Colleen has a sign hanging in our kitchen that says “There Is Always, Always, Always Something To Be Thankful For” and it is so true.