Larry Vacala, MCAA Chairman
2022 proved to be another great convention. There were a lot of smiling faces that seemed glad to be out and about. No hiding in the basement for this group. There was plenty to do without hanging out in the casinos. Seminars, meetings, networking, brainstorming, along with the latest and greatest products for our industry. It was well attended.
Monday morning was our annual Board Meeting. As usual, there was much to discuss. The state of our Association is strong. The nominating committee recommended the new slate of candidates for the 2022 – 2024 term of office. Chairman; Larry Vacala, Vice Chairman; Dick Dentinger, Treasurer; Kent Huntley and Secretary; Paul Cantarella. Along with nine Regional Vice Presidents, Chris Pappas, Gary Joyner, John Jacob, Jameel Ervin, Brian Grant, Donnie Williams, Melonie Leslie, Ken Tejeda, and Ron Adams. The new slate of candidates was unanimously elected to serve a two-year term. I am looking forward to working with this great group.
Round Table Discussions are always great. The topics are about current issues that all contractors deal with. There was good discussion on workforce development, and we heard from Arizona, Texas, and North Carolina on how they introduce high school students and grads to our industry. The Ohio group spoke of the success they are experiencing with high school grads and older adults. We all know there is a need to get young people involved in masonry. With our aging teams and the lack of interest from young individuals to get involved in the trades, we will run out of our workforce. We all agreed, we need high school programs to introduce students to a career in masonry.
The Foundation Meeting gave news of strong investments. Foundation Chairman Gary Joyner reported we are just short of our goal, and looking to reach it by our Midyear Meeting. If you have not yet made your pledge, do so now so we reach our target. The Foundation is very important to the future of our industry.
Each year, the MCAA presents the C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award. This award is presented to the person most deserving for their tireless dedication and exemplary leadership to advance our industry. This year’s recipient was Don Foster of Masonry Cosmetics. Congratulations Don! Thank you for your dedication to our industry.
Monday evening was dinner and machine guns. This was lots of fun! We went to Machine Guns Vegas, and had the opportunity to shoot three different types of fully-automatic machine guns. There were grins from ear to ear walking away from the range.
Tuesday morning was our PAC meeting at the Palazzo Hotel restaurant. Our guest speaker, Jesse Vargas, is a two-time World Champion former boxer who is running for Congress. Jesse is running in the Republican Primary for Nevada’s 4th Congressional District. I was very impressed with his passion for family and country. He believes business owners should be allowed to run their businesses without government overreach. This will be a major fight for Jesse to take on the incumbent candidate. The MCAA supports Jessie and others like him who promote less government involvement, to allow people to rise through society in pursuit of the American Dream. We encourage others in our industry to support him as well.
Wednesday’s MASONRY MADNESS® Day competitions were impressive and exciting to watch. The contestants showed why they belonged there to compete for the title of best in the world. The best of the best in brick, block, and skills challenge showed up; the competition was fierce. Congratulations to the winners of each event! The weather was fantastic, which made for a perfect day for all. It could not have happened without the support of SPEC MIX and all the great event sponsors.
The convention seminars are always worth the time and money spent to attend. Most seminars are sold out weeks in advance. I’ve attended these sessions at the convention for many years. Each time, I’ve learned something new. They offer great business and management classes.
For employees, it’s a great way to gain knowledge and understanding of what a business owner is looking for in an employee. The leadership classes are a great way to educate and help your staff become more valuable to you.
A trip to the convention has always been a great way to reward employees. I usually send 12 – 16 employees to the convention each year. Attending seminars and walking the show floor gets them energized and loaded with great ideas for their own success and the success of the company. I always ask to bring back something that can help us be more efficient. Being from the Midwest, the convention acts as our springboard to the year. Once back home, we put a new plan into action.
It’s amazing how much technology, machinery and tools improve each year. And if your employees are utilizing these tools, your bottom line will improve. The opportunity to get the first look at what’s new in our industry gives you the upper hand against your competition for the year ahead, and maybe more. If you’re not attending the convention, you are the guy falling behind the ones that are attending. Hope to see you all there next year.