Paul Oldham, MCAA Chairman
Well, the first quarter of 2020 has come and gone already. It is incredible how fast time seems to go. In our office, we are always asking if time flies by faster now or if it just seems like it as you get older. Hopefully, everyone has had a productive winter. Here in the Midwest, it has been great. The temperatures have stayed up and no snow to see. That means no plastic and pot heaters are roaring!
MCAA’s first quarter is always busy with the convention. We had a great turnout this year, and I believe we saw and heard a lot of great things. I was particularly excited about the VR Sandbox Jason demonstrated for us. I see this as a great recruitment tool that we can use at job fairs and schools. Our company purchased a VR device since the convention and are going to be working with Jason and the staff to further develop this project to where all members can use it. We had another great social event on Tuesday night this year hosted by our South 40 committee.
If we look around at a lot of our leadership in committee work and Regional VP’s, the South of 40 has excellent representation. I don’t think we recognize how successful the South 40 is. It is working, and I’m proud to have been a part of it and a part of the initial class. The Hall of Fame this year was great. Other than Mr. Kemp (ha ha), you couldn’t ask for a more deserving group of game-changers in our industry. We continue to improve the convention experience, and we are already working on even more ways to shake it up and keep it fresh in 2021. More to come.
Our industry partners NCMA also held their annual convention in Salt Lake City at the end of February. We continued to understand the current status of the Check-Off program and the tentative goals for 2020, and where we can help with the process. For us, that means we need to continue to talk about how much of an asset the Check-Off program will be for our entire industry, and keep reminding our Concrete Masonry Unit manufacturers that we need them to vote in favor of this program.
Our Regional VP’s are working on the local level to get written letters of support from the manufacturers in their regions. The Department of Commerce set a goal for the manufacturers to vote before the end of 2020, and they are supposed to vote in September.
As you read this message, we will be fast approaching our Legislative Conference in Washington D.C. May 11th – 13th. As we have for the past many years, we are working to have another great field trip during the conference. The options I have heard are new and exciting- along with the work side of the conference. Many of us who make this pilgrimage each year can feel at times like you are beating your head against the wall.
Just remember it takes time for anything to get done in Washington. With our persistence, we have done great things and will continue to. Many years ago, I was meeting with a Senator of my district and a topic that we discussed, he thanked me for bringing up. We have to ask for their support on topics, because they support what their constituents bring to the forefront. That piece of legislation did happen, and it happened because many of us spoke about it.
Our big topic this year as an industry is to discuss our support for the Department of Corrections, who desperately need help in helping former inmates prepare to rejoin the workforce. Our friends in Florida have been working hard on this and identifying where help is needed. We look forward to having a great turnout in Washington this year. If anyone has questions about the experience, please reach out to the MCAA staff or me.