Chairman’s Message: Doing Our Part

Paul Odom, MCAA Chairman

As I sit to write this month’s message, I am flying home from the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association (NCMCA). I had the honor of being invited to attend the NCMCA convention in Charleston, NC this week. It was fantastic, as always. Flying always gives me time to reflect and having just attended that convention, my reflection was on masonry. Imagine that. 

I was so fortunate to be surrounded by so many leaders in the masonry industry. NCMCA is an amazing organization. If you’re not already involved in your local or state association, please do so. Looking at how successful mason contractors are I know a big part of that success comes from their state and local associations. Contractors and suppliers both are very involved with their associations. One of MCAA’s slogans is “Together we’re stronger.” I point this out a lot, I know. It’s so true though. When we, as mason contractors and suppliers, work together we ALL benefit.  

Let me share a few examples of some of the great work a few of our state associations are doing. These things are happening because their contractors work together: 

North Carolina has a very successful pre-apprenticeship program going. Why? They have 80 contractor members and together they have decided that workforce development is a priority. It is such a priority they have a dedicated staff member, Ryan Shaver, who focuses solely on workforce development.  

They have 85 high school programs active that provide students 16 years and older the opportunity to work on the job for contractors, starting at $12 an hour. Additionally, they get a high school credit for this, which will help attract more students to our trade. They were featured by PDS: https://www.ncmca.com/news-events/595-masonry-apprenticeship-featured-on-pbs-wtvi.  
 

For years, we had an in-house apprenticeship program because we didn’t have a state or local association that had one. It makes so much more sense to do these programs together rather than absorbing ALL the cost yourself, only to have your masons leave to work for your competitor who isn’t training anyone. I encourage each of you to talk to your state and local associations to find what you can do to push for workforce development. We all need people and together we can train more than trying to do it ourselves. 

The Texas Masonry Council has a great program that helps to push for more wall share. They work with local municipalities to get masonry ordinances pushed. They have helped to get masonry ordinances passed all over Texas. They also host Masonry Days in conjunction with schools of architecture throughout the state, which allows students to build a masonry “project,” which is a fun competition giving architecture students the opportunity to work with masonry products to understand the flexibility and opportunities designing with masonry can provide. Mason contractors and suppliers put these programs, promoting masonry together.  

These are just a few examples, there are so many great things going on throughout the nation I can’t list all of them in my message. However, my point is that each local and state association is doing countless things that your business could benefit from. Here’s my challenge for you this month: 

  • If you are not already a member of your local and state associations, go join.  
  • If you are already part of your state and local associations but are not active, you are missing out on opportunities. Going back to last month’s message, I talked about not complaining unless you’re doing something about it. Be active and participate in your local and state associations. 
  • Join a committee– whether it is at the local, state, or national level. Join a committee that you’re passionate about- whether it’s workforce development, safety, etc.  
  • If your state or local area doesn’t have one, reach out to MCAA. They can help you take the next steps.  

As I have said over and over- together we are stronger. Until next time, let’s each do our part! 

Until next month….