Paul Odom, MCAA Chairman

It’s been a week and a half now since we had the Mid Year Meeting in Austin, Texas and I’m still thinking about the fun times we had and processing all the information I got from the meetings.  Would you believe it… Susie and I (plus Jeff), are in New Hampshire scoping out the resort and area we will be having next year’s Mid Year.   

As promised in last month’s message, I’m going to give you the “highlight reel” of the events during the Mid Year Meeting: 

Monday 

It started early with the bus leaving the hotel at 5:45 am for a 7:00 am tee off.  I got a little flack for that start time beforehand and jokes that we were going to have to use glow-in-the-dark balls.  I’ll admit it was early and we will be revising that part of the schedule for next year’s outing. On another note, we all found it hilarious that the winning team from the 2017 tournament also received the award for the last place team this year.   

Directly after the tournament, we headed back to the hotel for lunch and a presentation on how we can partner with NRMCA and hopefully NCMA in a program called “Build with Strength.”  As a side note, we were excited to see a few days ago that the Senate has passed the checkoff program and the President has signed off as well.  I will be talking more about that, along with the Masonry Foundation work, next month. This presentation was followed by the presentations by each of the Committee Chairs.  What great work they’re doing!  I thank each and every one of you.  

After our meetings were complete, we hurried to get ready for a BBQ dinner at Cooper’s Old Time Pit BBQ downtown.  Afterall, what is a trip to Texas without BBQ.  We finished the night with rolling laughter at Esther’s Follies. In true “Keep Austin Weird” fashion, this show did not disappoint, and I still am getting a kick out of some of the acts. 

Tuesday 

We got the morning started with breakfast and getting into our “teams” for speed dating with our valued vendors and partners. We got the opportunity to see a few new things coming out, get updates on changes to existing products, give feedback to the manufacturers, and even enjoy some excellent cocktails. I’m not sure whether Spec Mix or EZG makes a better Bloody Mary.  All joking aside, I really get a lot out of this since I’m able to visit with my fellow contractor friends to see how they are using certain tools or doing certain applications.   

It never fails that I’ll come away with at least 1 or 2 tips on how to be more productive.  The rest of the day we had free – so some of us went shopping, a few others played golf, and then there were the overachievers who did some work to try to keep from being too far behind. 

Wednesday 

After breakfast, we went straight into our annual meeting to give everyone an update on the status of the MCAA and quick highlights from the committees again for those who couldn’t attend the committee meeting on Monday. From there, we started our roundtable discussions. We changed the format after some of the feedback we received last year. It was open to the entire room so we were able to get everyone’s thoughts and ideas on how to do things.  Our topics this year were excellent and the conversation was fantastic.  We had another afternoon of free time before dinner. The closing dinner was there at the beautiful Archer hotel. Following dinner, we enjoyed a desert reception, complete with guitarist and firepit on the balcony.  The weather cooperated with us and it was a great finale to a wonderful Mid Year meeting. 

As I’ve said before, I truly love the Mid Year meetings as a time for us to bond and learn together as an industry, while enjoying a great location… and if you’re like me, bringing my lovely wife along to enjoy it with me.  Susie and I both appreciate you all for coming down here to our home state of Texas and we had a blast hanging out with y’all.  From what I’ve seen over the last few days, here in New Hampshire, it’s going to be another great event and we hope to see you there.   

But, before then, we hope to see you all in Las Vegas for the World of Masonry.  In the next few months, you’ll start reading about this as well. 

Until next month…