I know when you see this headline that you are thinking this writer has lost his mind. I can assure you that I am not talking about the number of jobs we have on our books, or are even working on now. The report I hear from border to border and from seashore to seashore is really simple: “We are not busy.” I am sure there are a few pockets around that are busy with cheap work. So you know now, I am not talking about the amount of work we are doing currently.
What I am talking about is the amount of work we are doing preparing for the future. Recently, I had the privilege to attend the Masonry Association of Florida’s Convention in St. Petersburg, and I left impressed and excited. These folks are laying ground work with Pro Masonry and Vision 20/20 so that, when the economy comes back, they will be facing an immediate problem, and that will be manpower. However, they do have a great apprentice program that will rise to meet the needs. Shortly after that, I was able to go to Arizona and meet with their two state groups in Phoenix. There you have the Arizona Masonry Contractors and the Arizona Masonry Guile. One represents the mason contractors and the other represents the suppliers. It amazed me how they all came together for the purpose of preparing for the future. We know associations have been forced into red ink with a bad economy, but this group has a plan that will turn red to black. They also have some great programs, and now have Vision 20/20 working for them. I am sure there are many more associations around the country just as busy preparing for the future. It works when the mason contractor and all supplier associations work together for a common cause.
Along with these state associations, we are very busy at MCAA. Not only are we doing our best to support the state associations, but we are also at work, trying to make the pie bigger for us to get a piece of. In previous publications, I have mentioned our efforts concerning MILCON. We have made some great strides in bringing military construction back to us, and we are right at the finish line. Now we are starting phase II of this effort and it will take us beyond just military construction. We are now ready to build some additional models that compare masonry construction with other competitive products. This project is going to cost in excess of $40,000 dollars, but the return on our investment will far exceed that. We are going to need your help in funding this project. The entire masonry industry will benefit from this effort. Even if you are not a member of MCAA, send a small check to our office to help support this effort as you will benefit from it.
I was in Washington, D.C., last week, and I met with our lobbyist. They continue to open doors. We are now asking them to help us find available grant money that will allow us to do more research programs proving masonry construction is far superior to any other product. We will also be seeking educational grants that can be used in engineering and architect training. As these doors open, there will be more!
Yes, we are busy for the future. As a result, I know the future will be good for all of us. Get involved in your associations and MCAA, and we will work for the industry together. Until next time, this old cowboy says, “Shoot for the moon and, even if you miss, you will land among the stars.”
About the Author
Mackie Bounds is Owner of Brazos Masonry, Inc., in Waco, Texas, and has served as Treasurer, Secretary, Vice President and President of the MCAA. In 1989, Bounds started Brazos Masonry, and his first act of business was to join MCAA. He has always been active in the masonry industry. He became the first subcontractor to be elected to the Board of Directors of the Central Texas AGC and subsequently was elected to the National AGC Board of Directors. In 1995, he was elected as the first President of the Central Texas Mason Contractors Association. Bounds spent eight years on the MCAA Executive Board, including two years as President from 2010-2012 and was the recipient of the 2013 C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award.