Chairman’s Message: Show Your Love For The Industry

Paul Odom, MCAA Chairman

Although I’m writing this in January, as I gear up for the 2019 World of Concrete and Masonry, this will be published in February. I always equate February as the month of love. You may be thinking at this point that it is totally inappropriate for me to talk about love and my personal life in my Chairman’s Message. Although I do love my wife and plan to treat her to a nice dinner out for Valentine’s Day, I plan to talk about the love of masonry and love of our teams.  

I’ll start with the love of the industry. I love masonry of all kinds. A few things I love about it include: strength, endurance, aesthetics, variability, sustainability, craftsmanship, beauty, arches, clean lines, decorative details, unique patterns and on & on you get the point.  

To me, it’s not just an art. It’s more than that. As I said above, it’s strength, endurance, and sustainability make it a smart building material. Why else would institutions of higher education almost always look to masonry? They’re constructing buildings to last. These buildings are worth lasting because of the aesthetics and value they bring to the campuses. As I drive around and see so many tilt-walls and stick-frame buildings going up, I can’t help but think we’re now building many buildings just like everything else in our life- disposable.   

But it’s not all gloom and doom. With programs like the Check-Off program, we can help fight to get our wall share back. Remember to talk to your block suppliers about your support of this program to help push this along. Visit www.cmucheckoff.com to learn more about this.  

But back to love- the other thing I think is important about the love of the masonry industry is that you show and teach your love to your teams. Let me clarify. I’ve talked before about the sense of pride I have in the buildings me and my team have built. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably got at least a few you’re proud of.  Like I said above, they’re there to last. This means you can show your kids, your grandkids, and, if you lived long enough, even your great-great grandkids. This love, this pride of what you build, is what I encourage you to instill in your team. This pride can be contagious and really help with your ability to recruit new talent. Everyone wants to be proud of what they’re doing deep down. Your team will appreciate any recognition of the work they’ve done.  

That takes me to my next point that I wanted to discuss- love of your team: the men and women you work with. Whether you are a mason, an office coordinator, a project manager, an estimator, a laborer, a foreman, or even the owner of the company, I encourage you to love your team. Show them you care by treating them with respect. Everyone deserves that.   

Let’s face it though. That’s not always easy to do. There will be times when you don’t agree on something, or mistakes are made. The key here isn’t that you disagree — it’s how you disagree. I’m a big believer that you always get more with honey than you do with vinegar. If you do this, your team will love working with you, and if they love working with you, chances are they’ll reciprocate. This will make you love working with them too and the cycle continues. I realize that this may not always work in every case but, for the most part, my experience is that this is the key to having a good working culture.  

I think we can all agree that we all could use a little more love in this world. John Lennon said “all you need is love,” and while I don’t agree with him 100%, I challenge you to show your love this month (and always)- both love for masonry and your love for your teams.   

Until next month… Happy Valentine’s Day  

Paul