Chairman’s Message: The House That Chocolate Built

Chairman’s Message: The House That Chocolate Built

The Historic Hershey Hotel was an amazing setting for our midyear meeting. Completed in 1933, this hotel is referred to as the house that chocolate built. The fact is, Milton Hershey chose the finest building materials available, masonry, to construct this magnificent hotel.  It was a spectacular venue for this special group to get together. There was no shortage of friends, fun, business, and chocolate. 

MAC Pac reception kicked off our Sunday evening. We were honored to have John Mark Kolb, the Deputy Chief of Staff from Congresswoman Maria Salazar (R-FL) office. He gave an update on the Dignity Act. This Bill would provide a reasonable, compassionate and complete solution to America’s immigration crisis by ending illegal immigration to the United States, reestablishes law and order, provides a practical solution for the undocumented, revitalizes the American workforce, and restores America’s economy. How could any true American be against such a bill?  We need to help find co-sponsors from Congress to sign on.   

Our opening reception was held in the Fountain lobby. When this group gets together, it always has an electric atmosphere. Like a big family reunion. It was terrific catching up with everyone.   

Early Monday morning, we met for our committee meetings. Action items and goals for each committee were discussed.  Safety, Education, Legislative, Workforce Development, Marketing, Membership, Generation Next, Technical and Union Committees gave reports. We are fortunate to have such a passionate group of committee members. Each committee had excellent information and fresh ideas to share. Several new programs are being developed by the committees which should keep the future of MCAA strong. 

The Masonry Foundation Board held its meeting. Foundation Board chairman, Buddie Barnes and the grant review committee made recommendations for approval on six industry–specific grant requests for a total of $74,500.00. The full Board voted unanimously to approve all six. The Foundation’s Mission Statement is: “To provide high-quality education, conduct research, provide grants and act as a support for industry-enhancing initiatives.” These goals are being achieved. 

Off to the Hershey Country Club that afternoon for golf. The course was in fantastic shape and the weather was perfect. With a full course of competitive golfers, it was no surprise one of our golfers got a hole in one. Todd did a great job organizing the outing while overcoming a few challenges.  Thank you to all the golf sponsors!

Cultured Stone sponsored our Tuesday morning breakfast.  They started our day with breakfast and a presentation of their product. Hands on speed dating followed.  The presenters were Amerimix, EZG Manufacturing, EZ Scaffold, Fraco, Hydro Mobile, Masonry Cosmetics, Non-Stop Scaffolding, Norton Clipper, Prosoco, Sola, Spec Mix, and Xtreme Manufacturing. In between presentations, attendees visited the break zone sponsored by Lowe’s, Malta Dynamics, Stabila, and TNT Equipment/ Premier Scaffold Solutions.    

Brainstorming with the manufacturers and suppliers of products and equipment we use is brilliant.  You get a jump on your competition by viewing the latest masonry products available. It’s amazing how much equipment and materials in our industries progress each year. 

Tuesday afternoon we loaded into buses and headed to the Clay Café’ Tour and dinner presented by Glen-Gery. We were given a unique behind the scenes tour of their brick plant. After the tour we enjoyed a great BBQ dinner under the tent.  It was fascinating to see just how much work goes into making brick. Thank you Glen-Gery, it was an outstanding tour! 

Wednesday morning started with our board meeting. It was well attended, and we love having first-time attendees join us.  A lot of information was covered. From our 2024 convention update, possible location for 2024 Midyear, committee goals, safety awards, reports from our industry partners with (CMHA) Concrete Masonry & Hardscape Association, and (CMCA) Canadian Masonry Contractors Association. We spent extra time discussing our National Workforce Development program and our High School Youth program with the DOL. Both programs could have a huge impact on finding and developing new masons for the future.  

Federated Insurance sponsored our Safety awards. Winners for less than 100,00 hours, first place tie; Hill Masonry, & Gates Construction Company Inc. Second place; Cantarella and Son Inc.  For greater than 100,000 hours, first place; Telligent Masonry.  Second place; Lang Masonry & Restoration Contractors Inc. Congratulations to these companies for their commitment to safety and their stellar safety records!

Wrapping up the Board meeting, we had a little fun auctioning off two special items to raise money for the PAC.  Mackie Bounds, our auctioneer, did an exceptional job getting and keeping bidders involved. I won’t share with you what the two unique auction items were, you had to be there. Congratulations and thank you to the successful bidders! 

Contractor roundtable discussions finished up our morning meetings. The Gen Next group did a nice job coming up with interesting topics to discuss.

That evening, with the closing dinner being held outside in the gardens, Hershey’s weather could not have been better. In this picturesque setting we were treated to a delicious dinner. After dinner we headed inside for MCAA’s 2023 Hall of Fame Ceremony. Thank you, Sola, for sponsoring.  This prestigious honor is for those that have dedicated their lives to the masonry industry. They are the legends in the masonry world. Four new HOF members were inducted. Each introduced by a family member or someone dear to them, telling their personal stories. They all shared fond memories and articulated why all four gentlemen were deserving of this honor.  Once introduced they were presented with their HOF plaque and then given the stage to tell their remarkable stories of their start in our industry. Their stories were classic. Congratulations to Bill McConnell, Calvin Brodie, Daniel L. Hiltebeitel, and Stephen Getz! 

Another fantastic midyear! Networking with your peers, legends of our industry and suppliers is priceless!

Stay Safe, Stay Strong!
Larry Vacala

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