Chairman’s Message: Texas Masonry Council: The Legacy

Paul Odom, MCAA Chairman

I just returned from our annual Texas Masonry Council (TMC) Convention in The Woodlands, Texas. Despite the heat and humidity, it was a fantastic convention, and I am always fortunate to be a part of such a great organization. This month, I’d like to take a few minutes to brag on this great big state of mine. We’ve got a lot of work  more than we can man in Texas and many other markets. But that is another story. 

I like to think the reason we have continued to have so much masonry here is because of what our Texas Masonry Council (TMC) has done for our industry. I’m proud to say that this year, TMC celebrated 60 years. That’s quite a legacy. In 2009, we started promoting masonry by helping city governments around the state improve their master planning by putting masonry ordinances into effect. I’ve mentioned this in past messages, but I want to highlight that our association managed to put over 250 masonry ordinances into practice over the years. Cities all over Texas have seen the benefit of masonry design in their city ordinances through quality, sustainability, safety, and character-defining architecture, amount other benefits. 

This all changed during this year’s legislative session with the passage of HB2439. Ordinances that call out specific materials, including masonry, are no longer permissible. Cities can now only uphold the bare minimum installation and construction requirements as set forth by the National Building Code. 

Although this is a blow to our organization, it will NOT hold Texas mason contractors back. We all know sustainability does not align well with minimum building codes. TMC will continue to promote masonry in other ways to share this message while pushing hard for workforce development.  

This year, in addition to celebrating 60 years, we also honored the City of Dayton with the 2019 Texas Sustainable City Award. This award recognizes and celebrates best practices in sustainable masonry design, development, and leadership. Upon receipt of the award this year, City Manager, Theo Melancon, had the most incredible acceptance speech. I’ll share my favorite part: 

The hallmark of civilization is the use of masonry to build cities, with mud, bricks in Mesopotamia but evolving into the most beautiful works of architecture- the Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, the Egyptian Pyramids, the Roman Coliseum. It’s in our cultural consciousness that masonry is synonymous with quality building. People visit the Empire State Building to admire its engineering and aesthetic marvel. People do not visit New York City to seek out the elegance of metal buildings housing big-box retailers. The history of city building has been masonry. The future of city building will be masonry. And one law passed by our legislature will not change that fact.  

This speech resulted in a standing ovation, not something that a bunch of masons are known to do very often. Mr. Melancon went on to explain that the City of Dayton will continue encouraging the use of masonry in other ways to align with their unified development code. 

Our current TMC President, Stan McCarthy of Acme Brick, said it best in his closing comments, “We are a special association because we are so strong from both a contractor and supplier standpoint.” One of my favorite slogans from MCAA is “Together, we are stronger.” For 60 years, TMC has been stronger together. Together, we will stay strong and continue the legacy that started all those years ago. 

All of us- every mason contractor and supplier throughout the nation can be stronger and better if we continue to work together. 

I could go on. The point is: Take action. Don’t just watch from the sidelines as our wall share slips away. If you don’t know how to do so, contact your local or state association or even MCAA. Someone will be happy to point you in a direction where you can make a difference. Each of us matters. TOGETHER we ARE stronger. 

Until next time…