Seeking Expanded Opportunities for Mason Contractors
As my time as President of the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) draws to an end, it is hard to believe how fast the last two years have gone. What a terrific honor it has been to serve as your President.
When I was first elected as a MCAA senior officer eight years ago, the MCAA was rapidly beginning to grow in its service to the industry's mason contractors. During that time, the Association changed many things, especially how we governed the MCAA.
Over the past six years, the Associations' Board, with help from members, has developed a comprehensive, long-range strategic plan. Our board meetings are virtual planning sessions where members and Association staff continually revise this strategic plan and seek to expand the influence and effectiveness of the MCAA.
During my two-year term as President, I continued to challenge the Association, our members and the Board to further expand our programs and services. We have been highly successful in building the MCAA's image, awareness and influence in leading our industry. My calls to action have often taxed both the Association staff and resources but, in the end, we have met many of the challenges and become a stronger association for it.
Today, the Association seeks even greater expanded opportunities for mason contractors. Our landmark partnership with the Construction Specifications Institute (CSI), which represents architects and specifiers, will open the door to tremendous opportunities. The co-location of CSI's Construct America and MCAA's Masonry Showcase will give mason contractors over 1,000 new exhibits to visit. I attended the Construct America show last April and was overwhelmed by the number of new products and construction techniques I could add to my own business, thereby expanding my opportunities in new markets.
The MCAA's web site is also beginning to open new doors, as we educate customers on masonry systems. The Association's ability to help members design and build their own web sites will enable them to market their businesses using some of the latest technologies.
In addition to expanding your opportunities, the MCAA has been extremely successful in protecting our markets as well. Over the past two years, our numerous advocacy victories ? including federal regulation, legislation, and codes and standards ? have continued to make our members stronger. Our Association staff has done a remarkable job fighting for our interests in both Washington, D.C., as well as in the codes arena. Our future continues to look bright as we develop our leadership on these critical fronts.
The one remaining challenge that I believe still prevents the MCAA from reaching its full potential as a national force for mason contractors... is mason contractors. I am specifically referring to the lack of involvement and participation by contractors in the MCAA. Unfortunately, time and time again, contractors choose to belong only to a local group. This must change, and contractors must embrace the value of building a strong national association to fight for their interests.
Even after my term ends on March 21st, I will continue to fight the battle to build the MCAA, and I hope that more mason contractors will join me. Our future depends on it.
About the Author
William McConnell is the owner of Architectural Paving & Stone, Inc. He has served as President of the Mason Contractors Association of America and on the Board of Trustees for the International Masonry Institute. McConnell was a recipient of the 2005 C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award.