Matt Keelen, The Keelen Group; John Smith Jr., MCAA Chairman; Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR); Beverly McCauley, Hunt Club Masonry
Matt Keelen, The Keelen Group; John Smith Jr., MCAA Chairman; Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR); Beverly McCauley, Hunt Club Masonry
July 8, 2015 12:00 PM CDT

Why I attend

MCAA members discuss why they attend the Masonry Industry Legislative Conference

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Each year, we bring you up-close coverage of the MCAA’s Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C., where association members and masonry industry leaders fly in for a few days of difference making. And, each year, we encourage everyone in the masonry industry to attend this important and beneficial event. So, to give you even more perspective, Masonry spoke to a few attendees to find out exactly why they do attend the MCAA Legislative Conference.

Beverley A. McCauley
President, Hunt Country Masonry
Leesburg, Va.


“I believe that it is our responsibility and civic duty to promote our industry, if we expect to survive and thrive. Furthermore, it is our duty and right to instruct Congress how best to pass, enact, and modify laws, so as to help masonry as an industry sustain, grow and expand. Since very few of our elected officials understand the inner workings of masonry, it is imperative that we verbalize how they can help our industry to succeed. We cannot sit at home or in our offices and complain that they aren't helping our industry if we don't verbalize how we feel.

It was such a pleasure to speak to each of the Virginia delegation and let them know how we, as an industry, feel. This time, I took the initiative to take our two oldest sons, Riley, 11, and Tyler, 10, with me to let them see how easy it is to speak to those who have the ability to enact laws that affect us all. I have been personally participating since 2009. The benefit is that now the staffers and long-time House and Senate members recognize me when I come in.

They ask me questions about how I feel what I think, and ask how can they help. Our boys were able to go back to school and relay how easy it is to have a conversation with our elected officials. If an 11- and 10-year-old can do it, anyone can. I have been able to forge relationships with multiple elected officials and feel blessed to have made those connections through the MCAA.

I will attend again. It is highly effective and rewarding to know that you are part of a bigger picture, working together to change laws in order to better our industry. It also is imperative to reach out to everyone you meet with a personal note after as a follow-up, so that the connection is forged and the bond created.”

Bryan Foster
Project Manager, WASCO Inc.
Knoxville, Tenn.


“I believe that attending the legislative conference is a vital experience and key to our industry. As a contractor, and having dealt with tough times, it has a rewarding feeling to voice your opinions and let people who aren’t in the construction industry know the challenges we face. After doing this for my third year, it was great to actually see some familiar faces and really start making connections. The behind-the-scene tours that we get and learning about the history of the buildings in D.C. is a unique experience. I look forward to attending next year and seeing some of the outcomes from this year’s conference.”

Gary Joyner
President, Joyner Masonry Works Inc.
Greenville, N.C.


“I would like to think meeting with the lawmakers makes a difference in our industry. If I didn’t attend, I guarantee you it would not make a difference. I like experiencing how things work on The Hill. Our North Carolina contingency – Bob Gates with Gates Construction Co.; Imani Brodie with Brodie Contractors; and I – saw 10 congress Representatives and one Senator in a day and a half. This was my fourth trip and probably the best, hands down. The lawmakers were quite receptive and willing to listen to our issues, as well as telling us their stances also. I also like the fact that North Carolina was well represented, being that we are the largest masonry contractor association in the nation. I will attend again.”

Joe Bonifate
Vice President, Arch Masonry Inc.
Pittsburgh, Pa.


“I believe that it is very important to make sure our voices are heard. In particular, I think that a Check-Off program for the block industry is a critical part of our future. So far, I have learned that three congressman in my state have co-sponsored the check-off bill (H.R. 985) as a result of my visit. At first, the experience was intimidating, but that quickly faded as I realized that many of the people in D.C. are normal folks who appreciate me making time for a visit. Seeing and participating in the process is an unforgettable and rewarding experience. It means a lot to me to know that I can make a difference. I will attend again, and I would recommend anyone to attend at least once.”

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.

 

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