A week of masonry you can’t miss
By Mark Kemp
I hope all of you had a great holiday season and are excited and energized about 2016. I am sure that, in 2016, many positive things will happen within the MCAA. Let’s start with the MCAA Annual Convention, which kicks off Jan. 31. We have two great, side-by-side hotels from which you can choose, offering different options: Aria, which was our headquarters last year, and Vdara. If you like to gamble, Aria might be your choice. If you want to get to your room without having to go through the gambling section, Vdara might be your place. We got some great pricing this year, so book your rooms early.
A brief outline of the events: Monday is good day to fly in and spend some time exploring the area around the hotel. Keep in mind, the educational programs start Sunday and run through Thursday, and there are lots of good programs to choose from. Then, at 5:30, join us for our PAC reception in the Aria Hotel lobby bar. This is a good time to socialize with some of your friends and make new ones. After the PAC reception, you can grab dinner or see one of the many Las Vegas shows.
Tuesday is an action-packed day, with Committee Meetings being held during the morning and the Exhibit Halls opening. At 5:30, don’t miss the South of Forty event at Señor Frogs. Along with drinks and food, there will be lots of entertainment happening. Make sure you sign up and, when you do, you will get a MCAA jacket!
Save some energy after your visit to Señor Frogs, because Wednesday is MASONRY MADNESS. If you are not energized, you will be, because this is the biggest event at the World of Concrete and Masonry. There are three different events happening out on the Gold Lot, starting with the MCAA’s Masonry Skills Challenge. This event showcases some of the industry’s best future masons. It is always enlightening to see the future of our industry compete right before our eyes. Then, as this event finishes, the MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block and the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® kick off. The energy from the crowds during these events is incredible. You must be there to witness it.
Wednesday evening, you are free to go to dinner or see a show. On Thursday, we have our Annual Meeting, which will give you a good recap of what has happened throughout the year. Starting at 10 a.m., we will hold our Contractor Roundtable. This is when you can learn how your fellow contractors handle different situations. It is also a perfect time to share contact information, so you can network throughout the year. And then, join us for the Closing Banquet at Maggiano’s Little Italy. At this dinner, we will be honoring our newest Masonry Hall of Fame members as well as saying goodbye to the old and bringing in your new MCAA Board.
So, as you can see, there is a lot to do at the MCAA annual convention held at the World of Concrete and Masonry. I really hope you will attend, and, if we have not met, please take a moment to introduce yourself.
Let’s move on to The Masonry Foundation. WOW, do I have some exciting news. As you know, The Masonry Foundation is the most exciting thing presently in our industry. And now, I am honored to announce that SPEC MIX Inc., a Quikrete Company, has joined The Masonry Foundation at the Chairman Level! In honor of this commitment, the Foundation will have a special “SPEC MIX Workforce Development and Education Grant.” Please be sure to thank the SPEC MIX organization for again being a strong supporter of the masonry industry and The Masonry Foundation.
So are you ready for some more good news? The Masonry Foundation has $3 million in pledges, and it is our goal to hit $4 million by the convention! As I have stated in the past, I truly believe our original goal of $5 million is only the beginning. Once we hit the $5 million mark, we will continue to push this Masonry Foundation to $8 million to $10 million. This is why I love this industry: Who would have thought contractors and suppliers would be able to achieve these numbers? I guess the answer is simple. All of you who have made a pledge made it happen. Those who have not yet made or been asked to make a pledge, watch out – we are coming for you.
I leave you with this thought: “Excellent firms, associations or people don’t believe in excellence, but rather, they believe in constant improvement and constant change.”
About the Author
Mark Kemp is the President and CEO of Superior Masonry Builders, Inc. in Butler, Wisc. He has served as an officer on the Executive Board and Region D Vice President for the Mason Contractors Association of America.