Category: Columns

MCAA Gateway: December 2017 Cont.

Shirley Named MCAA Pennsylvania State Chairman Christopher Shirley Appointed to Represent Pennsylvania  Christopher Shirley, masonry instructor at the Indiana County Technology Center (Indiana, Pa.), has been appointed to the position of MCAA Pennsylvania State Chairman. Christopher is in his eighth year as a masonry instructor. Christopher holds an Associate’s degree from the PA College of Technology in Masonry. He earned his teaching certification, Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Workforce Education and Development from the Pennsylvania State University. He is a member of the Industry Advisory Council for the PA Housing Research Center and a member of the Pennsylvania Concrete Masonry Association (PCMA) where he serves as President of the Masonry Instructors Association of PA and Maryland, a committee of the PCMA. He also assists the Pennsylvania SkillsUSA organization with the operation of State competitions. “I elected to pursue teaching masonry as a way to give back to the Industry for all it has given me by training the next generation of masons, and I look forward to working with the MCAA.” The Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) and our members welcome Christopher to his new role....

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Contractor Tip Of The Month: “How to Navigate the Other Side of a Business Boom”

“How to Navigate the Other Side of a Business Boom” Damian Lang Last month we discussed how important it is to hire and expand during boom construction cycles. When times are good, you best cash in on the opportunity before it disappears. We also said that expanding when times are good means the opposite when things go south… and they will go south eventually. Many business owners struggle with this, and for good reason, because it is hard to lay off or let go of people you care about. But as soon as the work is gone, you have to cut back just as fast as you expanded. If you don’t, you might end up belly up! Knowing when to expand and when to contract is one of the greatest responsibilities company owners and managers have. Think about this: If you grow 40% during a booming market and business drops by 40% in a downturn, aren’t you back to where you were before the boom began? Or, let’s say you had 50 employees and expanded to 70 during the boom. Then during the recession, you cut essentially 20 employees. You are, of course, back to 50. When you make cuts, be selective and only cut your poorest performers. In our example then, when you reduce the 20, you don’t necessarily have to let go of the same 20 you...

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The Reason for the Season

  Michael Sutter, MCAA Chairman A few months age I announced that I was going to copy the program they use in North Carolina at a local high school. If you remember, the folks there told me they were so successful with their high school masonry programs because local contractors adopted a school near them. So I committed to adopting a high school near me. That school is West-Mec in Buckeye, AZ and the instructor is Doug Markham. It was the perfect situation with the school, the principal and the superintendent all supporting an 8-week masonry program and one of our foremen, Mike Gray, offering to teach the classes. I know in my previous article I said I would teach the classes but I bit off more than I could chew. I was there as much as possible but it was mostly Mike Gray doing the teaching. I made sure they had all the equipment and materials they needed with local suppliers stepping up to the plate and offering their support. They had a masonry program last year and when they competed at the State Skills Contest against approximately 35 students from across the State, their top finisher was 13th. I assured them that would not be considered a success this year. We competed a couple of weeks ago at our State contest with 30 students from across the...

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MCAA Gateway: December 2017

See the Masonry Innovations & Workforce Development Zone at WOC January 23-25 from 9:30 AM – 5:00 PM The Innovations & Workforce Development Zone is returning to the MASONRY MADNESS® Arena! Positioned in the center of the 100,000 square foot fanfare of masonry promotions, WOC show-goers can become participants in several product and equipment demonstrations hosted by companies showcasing the latest technological developments advancing the masonry industry. SPEC MIX® and the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) have once again united with the support of several manufacturers of leading brands to host daily, nonstop informative demos where spectators will learn and try new products hitting the masonry market. From respirable dust management systems to robotic bricklaying machinery, as well as 3D Building Modeling (BIM), proper cleaning techniques, natural stone installation and jobsite safety clothing, the Innovation & WFD Zone proves the masonry industry is rapidly evolving for a strong future. What’s more, the Innovations & Workforce Development Zone is the perfect event for masonry enthusiasts as it is surrounded by the battlegrounds of the 16th Annual SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® World Championship, the MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block and the Masonry Skills Challenge competitions. Over 4,000 WOC attendees are expected to fill the MASONRY MADNESS Arena on Wednesday, January 24th to witness the world’s best masons compete for over $120,000 in prize money including a Ford F-250 4×4...

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The Calm Before The Masonry Storm

The Calm Before the Masonry Storm Dan Kamys, Editor – dkamys@masonrymagazine.com I can’t believe that it’s already been almost a year since my first World of Concrete, and here we are with our first pre-show issue with the new version of MASONRY. I am very excited to share this issue with you; it’s our largest issue of the year. Spoiler alert: it’s probably going to be topped by the January World of Concrete Show issue, but I said nothing. I love attending the World of Concrete mainly because I get to see the passion for the trade firsthand. Whether it be seeing all the latest innovations from suppliers, talking with contractors about their thoughts on the industry, watching the competitions, or seeing the Hall of Fame inductees, it always reaffirms my commitment to helping the industry and MCAA however I can. This will be the first year Bronzella, our Assistant Editor, gets to see the show, so that should be very helpful for her as well. I did tell her to wear the most comfortable shoes she could find, though. I know my blisters from last year are finally healing. As we mark the end of the first year of the new MASONRY, I think it should also mark the end of the “new” being put in front of it. From now on, it’s just MASONRY. We are going...

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