North Carolina! Proud would be an understatement. I use the following statement frequently. “I am honored to live and work in an area in which is very in tune with the vocational development of the Next Generation.” I’ll be the first to admit, my years with Gates Construction have been great. We have ups and downs, but at the end of the “Work” day, I leave proud. Proud to wear a Gates’ shirt. Proud to drive a Gates’ truck. Frankly, I’m honored to be affiliated with one of the best Commercial Masonry Contractors in the Nation. I was simply born in the best Masonry State in the Union.

The Masonry Industry gives me the opportunity to promote and work for the NCMCA or North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association. I was honored to step in as NCMCA Metrolina Chapter President back in 2015. To my surprise, the NCMCA provided the opportunity to be NCMCA Central Region Vice President in 2016. A role in which I am very thankful for. Why am I telling you all this? This article is not about me. You need some history to help you understand why the State Association is very important. I touched on the fact, in the December issue of MASONRY, Mr. Lynn Nash (NCMCA Executive Vice President), provided me the opportunity to fully understand the history of NCMCA. We have done a good bit of “Growing Up” over the years as an association.

In September of 2016, I was asked to work on the NCMCA Committee which would be charged with bringing a “New” Logo to the NCMCA Board for review and eventual approval. “Nervous,” was the understatement of the Century. North Carolina is immersed in Tradition and change can be a region where some may not want to journey, but I’d been given a job and I wanted to help shape the Association of tomorrow. Here we go! Nervous? A little scared to be honest! Well? Full steam ahead. We begin the process one December morning by interviewing two very capable design firm candidates. Both were very qualified, full of energy, and the fresh feel was eminent. A firm was selected and forward we tracked.

Rushing Decisions:

We could hardly wait for the initial design process to come to an end. We had ten designs presented to us. But, there was one which stood alone. Sleek, colorful, conservative, and honoring those who built this Association. It was obvious we liked it, but we were by no means sold on the design. We went back and forward for a month or so prior to putting the logo out for the initial reaction / comment period.

The Mistake:

We made a risky decision by presenting the logo via email for preliminary approval to proceed. Some were for and some were against. As is the case with anything. The problem or mistake was the “Selling” part of this deal. We didn’t initially sell the logo the best we could have. We (maybe I), didn’t work hard enough to explain the meaning. We live and we learn, but we do not make the same mistakes twice! After working through the Spring and Summer month’s preparing, a Board Meeting was set for September 2017.

The Sale; The Respect:

I’ve learned many things over the years, but the number one thing you must do, is respect and comprehend, you are where you are, because of those who came before me. With this in mind, I begin preparation for the 2017 September Board Meeting where we would vote on our new NCMCA logo. How does this logo connect the past generation to the current generation? I had to give the group something tangible. We had a dress shirt and hat made with the new logo. These two items brought the logo to life. We also created a PowerPoint to show the endless possibilities with our new “proposed” logo. I started my presentation with the following statement. “There is a freshness in the air within the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association (NCMCA). The new logo will represent past, present, and future generations of our association.

The Meaning:

The North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association (NCMCA) brand incorporates a strong, meaningful logo. Modern lettering conveys new life, the next generation of leaders, and growth of an association which is recognized on the national and international stage as a leader in the masonry industry. The trowel symbolizes the history and individuals who provided the foundation for an association which set the standard for the masonry industry. The trowel serves as a bridge connecting the foundation’s history to the industry of tomorrow.

This statement has deep meaning. I truly respect the current and past Leaders of the NCMCA. Without them, there would be no association. Our intention with the new logo was never to go against anyone’s wishes. We simply wanted to honor those who stood before us by promoting the association to the Next Generation. We are and should be very proud of the association built before us, which we will pass on to those who come after.

The Professionalism:

Our new NCMCA Logo was voted in, but we were only a small step closer to our destination. Mr. Lynn Nash (NCMCA Executive Vice President), would work with the Logo Designer on Brand Guidelines which brought the new concept to life. The Brand Guidelines emphasize the following statement. “The NCMCA logo has been designed to communicate a distinct message. The effectiveness of the logo depends on its correct and consistent use as the common graphic element on all NCMCA communication materials. It is the cornerstone of the NCMCA visual identity. Any incorrect or inconsistent usage will weaken the impact of the NCMCA brand.” When I read this for the first time, I knew we had made the right move for our Association.

Wrap-up:

The future of our Industry lies within the minds and hands of the Next Generation. It is “Our” responsibility to make sure we develop and promote to the Next Generation. I believe we need to develop lasting relationships with younger people, encourage their new ideas, and educate the leaders of tomorrow. We must keep our rich history accessible. When we study our history, our work will reflect the foundations placed before us. Thank you to all current and past NCMCA Leaders for providing a Strong Association for the Next Generation to build on.

Words: Brandon Hartsell
Brandon Hartsell is a Project Manager with Gates Construction Company, Inc. (Mooresville, NC). He is Chairman of the MCAA South 40, Central Region Vice President of the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association and President of the Local NCMCA Metrolina Chapter. Brandon lives in the Charlotte Area with his Wife (Meredith) and their Two Children (Braxton & Mckinley). He is the Third-Generation in his Family to be involved in the Masonry Industry. He can be reached at brandon.hartsell@gatesconstco.com or 704-310-1674.