Paul Odom, MCAA Chairman

As I write this, the leaves are falling, and cooler weather has finally come to Texas and I’m starting to see production pick up with the break from the heat. These are the days that I love to be out on a job.  

Speaking of laying more, I had the pleasure of attending the Spec Mix Bricklayer 500 in Dallas. The speed and skill of those masons never ceases to amaze me. Every time I go, I wish the same thing, as I’m sure a lot of other contractors do… that we could somehow clone those masons to put on all of our projects. The great thing is… I’m seeing and hearing a lot of development happening around the nation related to workforce development for the masonry industry.  

We are training more and more masons and skilled tenders every month. Events like the SPEC MIX Bricklayer 500, Spec Mix Toughest Tender, the Fastest Trowel on the Block, and the Masonry Skills Challenge at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in Las Vegas NV., help to encourage pride and the tradition of competitiveness that we know and love about masonry. Bringing in new technologies such as those that can be seen in the Innovation Zone at MASONRY MADNESS helps bring young people into our industry.  

While we are building our workforce up to where we need it, we also must continue to push for more wall share. Recently, NCMA, along with the masonry industry got a big win in October, as the concrete block checkoff program was signed into law.  

You may wonder: What does this really mean? This means that concrete block manufacturers now have the opportunity to create a commodity check-off program that would support industry research, education, and promotion, which will result in better and more cost-effective buildings, and better and more cost-effective buildings will result in more jobs.  

Now, you may have noticed above that I underlined “opportunity.” Why? Because the passed legislation creates legal authority for the program. However, the producers in the concrete block industry, through a referendum, must approve the program. Concrete block manufacturers and mason contractors – both big and small, all over the country, will benefit from this program. This funding is necessary to implement, develop, and manage programs desperately needed to reclaim and grow market share in today’s competitive environment. 

Almost daily, it seems, we see damaged structures left behind due to fire, tornados, and hurricanes. It is in everyones best interest that we continue to push the check-off program through so our communities can have safe and strong structures for many years to come. You can learn more about the check-off program at www.cmucheckoff.com  

Here’s how you can help this check-off program become a reality.  

  • Mason Contractors, please let your block suppliers know you are in favor of regaining our wall share through the programs that this check-off program will provide. I challenge you to reach out to your block manufacturers. 
  • Concrete Masonry Manufacturers, please vote to approve the check-off program, knowing you have the support of the MCAA. I challenge you to gain commitment from other producers to vote yes on the check-off program. 
  • Local and Regional Masonry Associations, please encourage your members to support this check-off process. Please understand that you will play a critical role in recommending necessary programs and that you can apply to manage specific check-off funds. I challenge you to make this a point in your meetings, events, and newsletters to get the word out to manufacturers and contractors alike. 

As you can see, I’ve left you with some homework before the next issue of MASONRY. Your other homework assignment is to sign up for the World of Masonry/World of Concrete. I look forward to shaking your hand and seeing us collectively cheer on all the masons and tenders at MASONRY MADNESS 2019! 

Until next month…

Paul