Q&A with the President
With over 30 years in the industry, G. Alan Griffin, President of Griffin Contractors, Inc., assumed leadership of the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) during the Association's annual convention in March. Griffin grew up working in the masonry business founded in 1957 by his father and grandfather. Since that time, he has taken over the family business, is a Past President of the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association, and currently runs two offices in North Carolina providing masonry, tile work and general construction.
Masonry: Having worked over 30 years in this industry, how does it feel to now be at the helm of MCAA?
Griffin: It's hard to believe that six years as an MCAA officer have passed and I'm now President of our MCAA. While I'm one of those who wouldn't tell a soul about this new responsibility unless they asked, my father has made up for this and shared the news with everyone.
Masonry is my livelihood, and I believe strongly in this Association. I have been very involved with our local and state chapters since joining Griffin Contractors full-time after college.
This in my industry. I take it very seriously.
Masonry: How do you feel about being the first President to come from the Carolinas?
Griffin: I'm proud to be the first from North Carolina to serve as President of our national Association. It's hard for me to express how much it meant that so many of my fellow contractors and the industry salespeople from North Carolina came to Las Vegas as I was going in as President. I was touched by each of them being there. It's very exciting, and I hope that I can accomplish as much as each of my predecessors.
Bill McConnell, our outgoing MCAA President, did an outstanding job. He accomplished so much. I heard one of the other executive officers say, "At the rate Bill's going, he's not going to leave anything for the rest of us!" He was a great President.
Masonry: Where do you see the industry in the next year or two? What do you think is going to be happening, and what kind of goals are you setting for the MCAA?
Griffin: I think the masonry business is here to stay. There are many designers and architects out there who realize what they can do with masonry, and it's a product that is going to last for years. There isn't deterioration or maintenance when you build with masonry.
One of our highest Association goals is to increase membership. There are many mason contractors out there who aren't members, even in my own state of North Carolina ? and we have a very strong state association. I want to stress to our North Carolina contractors, as well as nationwide, that what we are doing as an Association is for all mason contractors. The size of your business doesn't matter. We all basically have the same concerns and issues. If your business has only three employees, you may have the same problem, but it's not as vast as those who have 100 employees. We all still have the same problems with worker's comp., with finding qualified employees and all the issues we are lobbying against in Washington, including silicosis, ergonomics and hexavalent chromium.
The MCAA has a new office building. We will continue our campaign to raise money, which will reduce our Association debt and hopefully allow us to buy some much-needed office furniture.
We will initiate the spring legislative conference in Washington, D.C., again in May 2005. This conference provides a chance to visit our respective members of Congress and the Senate to speak with them and their staff about important issues that affect us as mason contractors and businesspeople. This is a very worthwhile conference, and we must let our voices be heard by our lawmakers. We hope that all of the members will join us there.
We will also continue to explore and develop the healthcare coverage program that Bill McConnell introduced. We are hoping to develop a reduced premium group policy that will make it more affordable for all mason contractors to offer insurance to their employees. There are so many uninsured families, and we know many of them don't get medical treatment just because they don't have insurance.
Masonry: If you had one request to make of MCAA members this year, what would it be?
Griffin: Get involved with the MCAA and attend our annual Masonry Showcase. You will learn so much from visiting the exhibits and speaking with your fellow mason contractors.
We may be competitors with our peers, but we're also friends. When we attend conventions or have problems, we speak with each other and say, "Hey, what can we do about this?" or, "How did you handle this situation?" Just getting involved and getting to know some of your peers pays off in the long-run.
Masonry: Do you have any closing comments?
Griffin: I'm very honored and excited to be the President of the Association. I'm here for the MCAA members. MCAA is about promoting our masonry industry and helping mason contractors with whatever problems they have.
Masonry: We're excited to have you and looking forward to the next two years.
About the Author
Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at www.masonrymagazine.com.