Photos: NCMCA or as noted
The fraternal nature of the relationship between members of the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association (NCMCA) is a unique strength of the association that is nurtured with regular group activities like golf tournaments, regular local chapter meetings, masonry competitions and other opportunities for fellowship and professional development. But, no other single association activity can compare to the NCMCA annual convention for cultivating fraternity within the Carolina’s masonry community. It is the highlight of the NCMCA year. It was a tough blow when COVID-19 caused the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 conventions.
The good news is that in March 2022, the NCMCA convention came back stronger than ever with attendance comparable to pre-pandemic levels. NCMCA members took up right were they left off at the 2019 convention, enjoying the company of fellow masonry professionals and taking in beautiful downtown Greenville, South Carolina. Downtown Greenville has enjoyed a spectacular renaissance built around a waterfall park along the Reedy River. The weather cooperated with beautiful early springtime sunshine, coaxing convention attendees outside between meetings and events.
In the convention’s first general session, the Executive Director of the National Technical Honor Society, Peyton Holland, talked about his experiences growing up among folks talented at craft skills and his own introduction to masonry as a student at Northwood High School. As a SkillsUSA participant, he served as North Carolina SkillsUSA President, then National Post-Secondary SkillsUSA Vice President, and eventually became the Executive Director of North Carolina SkillsUSA. Mr. Holland reinforced the importance of connecting to young people with workforce development initiatives.
Consulting architectural engineer Christine “Tina” A. Subasic, P.E., who just completed her term as the first female President of The Masonry Society, and who is only the second TMS president from North Carolina, provided an overview of The Masonry Society and explained why the work TMS does is important to masonry contractors.
The NCMCA Annual Business Meeting took place at the second general session, the first “in-person” membership or Board of Directors meeting to take place since January 2020. NCMCA President Danks Burton presided and introduced officers and committee chairman who each provided enthusiastic and positive reports about association activities and finances. Attendees heard remarks from Southeast Concrete Masonry Association President James Cain who also provided very positive news about our block producer partners’ programs and activities, especially the recently approved CMU Check-Off program. MCAA Chairman Larry Vacala and MCAA President Jeff Buczkiewicz addressed the session with updates about upcoming MCAA events and initiatives including the August Mid-year Meeting and the ongoing success of The Masonry Foundation.
NCMCA officers for the 2022-2024 term were elected at the business meeting. Danks Burton, Pinnacle Masonry, is now Chairman of the Board as Kent Huntley steps down after eight years of service on the executive committee. James “Bo” Black. Jr. of Carolina Masonry Unlimited is the new president, Cliff McGee of McGee Brothers Company is president-elect, and Tim Manning of Manning Masonry is the new secretary/treasurer. Doug Burton of Whitman Masonry, Brandon Hartsell of Gates Construction Company, and Don Caldwell of C & R Masonry each retained their positions as NCMCA regional vice-presidents.
Ryan Shaver was approved for promotion to NCMCA managing director and Executive Vice President effective September 2022 when Lynn Nash steps down from that position to prepare for retirement in early 2023. Shaver joined NCMCA as Workforce Development and Training Coordinator in 2018 and has developed a workforce development initiative that has exceeded all expectations and has become a model for programs across the country.
As he closed the meeting, President Danks commented on the meeting’s extensive agenda and noted how much is going on with NCMCA, saying, “If anyone questions what the heck this association does, well, they should sit in this room one Saturday morning when we have this annual meeting. I think we could have gone on for several more hours.”
The highlight of every NCMCA’s annual convention is the Saturday evening Closing Banquet, a time for remembrance and recognition. Past President Larry Kirby read the long list of NCMCA members who had passed since the last convention in the spring of 2019. Two association past-presidents, Ivey L. Griffin, Jr. (1978-1979) and Danny A. Batten (1989-1991) were among those remembered.
The golf team of Dwayne Bryant, Jimmy Wall, Calvin Brodie, and Doug Burton, Jr. were recognized as the winners of the EZG Manufacturing Convention Golf tournament.
As after dinner speakers, outgoing Board Chairman Kent Huntley, outgoing President Danks Burton, and new President Bo Black each made impassioned speeches about their experiences in NCMCA leadership roles and their visions for the association’s future.
In his banquet remarks, Danks Burton, talked about having options of who to turn to for business and industry advice. Knowledgeable and experienced individuals that can help guide decisions and with whom one can be comfortable exchanging and vetting ideas.
Danks said those people are not always easy to find and told of a personal experience in his firm’s early days when he made the mistake of hiring an “outside” business consulting group. “At the end of day one, he gave me this twenty-five-page document that he supposedly worked on all dad gum day in my office. And it was to be my new operations manual. Once I read it that evening… I noticed that he just simply inserted ‘Pinnacle Masonry’ and ‘Danks Burton’ in ‘blanks’ in this twenty-five-page document. This operations manual could have served any operation in any industry…. I did send him packing on day-two.”
Danks referred to Cory Adams’ “Building More/The Fine Line” article in “Masonry” magazine and the good advice Mr. Adams provided for seeking consultation and joining the most effective peer groups. Danks concluded by saying, “So why do I tell you all this? Your peer group is right here in the room with you. There are many resources right here at this convention. I personally think it is the greatest benefit of being a member of NCMCA… If you’ve been attending these conventions, board meetings, apprentice contests for many years, I think you know what I’m talking about. If you’re new, stay involved and I think you’ll pick up on it and you’ll get it.”
Danks quoted two-time NCMCA past-president Gary Joyner who said, “Becoming involved in this association was the single most turning point of my career. The knowledge gained from association with contractors from different areas of the state was immeasurable.” Danks again mentioned the fraternity of NCMCA and how that sort of fraternity seems to be rare in other trade associations. “I mean, where else can you go to network with the likes of Calvin Brodie, Doug Burton, Whitman Masonry, Koontz Masonry, the McGees, the Huntleys, Old North State Masonry, Gates, and if I’ve left you out, I apologize. I love you too… There’s not a single one of those people that I just mentioned (that won’t) have a conversation with you… They’ll be glad to share their stories with you… So, your peer group is right here. That’s my point… I believe the greatest benefit of being here is networking with these fellow contractors and suppliers.”
Both Kent and Danks received ceremonial gavels and “Glenn W. Sipe Presidential Service Awards.” Kent’s recognition as past president had been postponed because of the COVID-19 canceled conventions.
New President Bo Black closed the evening with an invitation to the 2023 NCMCA Convention beginning April 23 at Kingston Plantation in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
2022 NCMCA Convention Sponsors
New South Construction Supply
Gates Construction Company
Triangle Brick Company
Convention Golf Tournament
Johnson Concrete Products
Carolina Masonry Unlimited
Custom Brick & Supply
White Cap Construction Supply
Carolina Masonry Unlimited
Palmetto Brick Company
RBD & Associates