Chairman’s Message: Another Successful Trip to D.C.

Paul Odom, MCAA Chairman

Summer is now in full swing, and hopefully, you are all getting to take some time with your families. Susie an I just returned from the 2019 Legislative Conference in Washington, DC. Although it was primarily a work trip for us, providing our industry with opportunities to talk one on one with our congressmen, we also had a fantastic time. As I mentioned in one of my previous messages, we took one of our granddaughters, Anna, with us. She is in second grade and had the opportunity to do so many great things with us, including: 

  • Tour of Mount Vernon
  • Tour of Library of Congress and the Supreme Court
  • Touring the federal reserve
  • A nighttime tour of the monuments, which were beautiful at night

These are just a few of the great things we got to do with her. I would encourage any of you who come to this event next year to consider whether you could make it an educational family trip. I know that many MCAA MidYear meetings have made fantastic opportunities for our family. We’ve got a great one coming up September 8-10 at the lovely Omni Mount Washington Resort in New Hampshire. It’s worth consideration.  

You can register at https://www.masoncontractors.org/midyear/. As fast as time seems to be flying by, September will be here before you know it so be sure to register. Susie would add that the sooner you book your flight, the cheaper it will be. She is always the practical one between the two of us! 

Besides it being a “fun” trip, the Legislative Conference was another successful one for MCAA. A few of the big topics we talked about were: 

  A guest worker program 

  Misclassification of the workforce 

  Infrastructure bill 

Each year for the past ten plus years, I’ve talked to my Congressmen about the need for a guest worker program and more funding for workforce development. It feels like every year they seem to be more educated on it and we feel that we are moving in the right direction. While this is true, we all can agree that the workforce shortage is already here and we must continue to combat it through workforce development.  

That’s why programs like SkillsUSA are so important. We are gearing up for National SkillsUSA Championship, which was being held June 24-28 in Louisville, KY. If you haven’t been to either a local, regional, or state SkillsUSA contest, you are missing out. It’s a great opportunity to see what the future of our industry can be if we work to advance and promote it together. I will be sure to update you all on how the 2019 competition went in the next article. 

As an industry, we need to work together to research all avenues open to us for developing a sustainable workforce. Not everyone wants a cushy office job, and we need to spread the message that you do not have to go to college to be successful in life. Be thinking about how you can work with your local and state associations and resources from MCAA to get into schools as early as possible. Think about what other avenues you may find for recruiting new blood to the masonry industry.  

Until next time, enjoy your summer!