What I learned out West
From the editor
In September, I was able to immerse myself among the best and brightest in the masonry industry, when I embarked on a two-legged trip that took me, first, to Park City, Utah, and then to Phoenix, Ariz. — all within three days. My cowgirl boots got some mileage, and I learned that our industry can bounce back, and then some.
In Park City, where the MCAA held its annual Midyear Meeting. (Full coverage of this event will be published in the November issue of Masonry.) A robust and energetic crowd of masonry industry leaders and professionals was in attendance. The highlight of the meeting, for me, was the presentation of the TEAM Awards. The purpose of the TEAM (Tribute to Exemplary Achievements in Masonry) Awards is to recognize quality masonry projects and members of the construction team for outstanding accomplishments in masonry design and construction. The award ceremony drew about 120 people, and the winning projects were impressive, to say the least. Check out one of the winning projects — the Oregon State Hospital Kirkbride Building in Salem, Ore. — in the image above.
Next stop, Phoenix — where I was able to enjoy the best tableside guacamole I have ever tasted, and attend the CSI/CONSTRUCT show. The mood was positive, and the spirits of both attendees and vendors was up as compared to the last few years. It was a wonderful experience to witness all of the optimism and hope. Companies are seeing an uptick as commercial construction follows the improved state of residential construction. And it shows: Companies not only are selling and manufacturing again, but also, they are innovating.
So, although I returned from my three-day mega trip a bit tired, it was well worth the multiple airports and hotel check-ins to see our industry looking at a bright side once again. Perhaps we aren't fully there yet, but our industry is on its way back from the dark economic hole we found ourselves in during recent years. One day at a time.
Originally published in Masonry magazine.
About the Author
Jennifer Morrell was the editor of Masonry magazine. She has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry as a writer and editor, covering such topics as real estate and construction, insurance, health care, relationships and sports. A graduate of The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism, she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in magazines and is an award-winning newspaper columnist.