Making Our Industry Stronger
By Mike Sutter
I just returned from Washington, D.C., having met with our BIM-M partners. For those who are not familiar with BIM for Masonry, known as BIM-M, it will allow those in the design community to easily include masonry in their designs. Previously, when architects or engineers designed and modeled projects with BIM, they were not able to model with masonry, as there was no software to allow this. Therefore, many times it was just easier for them to choose another material that they could model with. They are now very close to being able to easily use masonry in their BIM designs.
When we took this project on, we had a five-year road map and budget. We have just completed year four, and after the meeting we just had in D.C., I can say that we are on schedule and under budget! MCAA is one of the four major sponsors of this project, and the Masonry Foundation gave us the ability to fund the project.
Also while in D.C., we met with our Legislative Committee co-chairs, Bev McCauley and Joe Bonifate, and our lobbyist in D.C., Stephen Borg from the Keelan Group. We spent some time reviewing our agenda from last year and discussed our successes and areas that we still need to focus on in 2017. We are excited to begin the next legislative session in Congress. Since I am writing this article before election day, I don’t know who will be in the White House, but we will work with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle while advancing our goals.
MCAA’s annual meeting and convention are coming up at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in Las Vegas, Jan. 15–20. This is a can’t-miss event that begins with the two-day Foreman Development Program on Sunday, Jan. 15. Monday evening is our new Top Golf event benefiting the PAC and PEC. Tuesday morning is all business with our committee meetings. We will be holding our Train-the-Trainer course for silica protection on Tuesday morning as well. We will all be required to have a competent person with regard to a written silica protection plan on every jobsite beginning June 23, 2017. If you send someone from your company to this class, they will be able to return and train all your foremen. Tuesday evening is our very popular South of 40 event at Señor Frogs. This event is a lot of fun and just keeps getting bigger and better each year. Get your tickets early, as this event could sell out.
Wednesday is, as they say in the rodeo world, “The Granddaddy of ’Em All,” MASONRY MADNESS in the Gold Lot. This is where the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500®, the MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block and Apprentice Skills Contest are held. There will be thousands of people in attendance and many thousands more watching the live broadcast. Last year, we introduced the Innovation and Workforce Development Zone between the SPEC MIX BRICKLAYER 500® and the MCAA Fastest Trowel on the Block. As the name implies, this area is intended to promote masonry careers to high school students. In addition, new and innovative products will be demonstrated that will make our businesses easier and allow us to save money and work safer.
Thursday morning includes our annual business meeting, Networking Roundtables and Storm Shelter Program. Thursday evening concludes our convention with dinner at Fogo de Chão, Las Vegas. You can find all this information, and also register, at www.masoncontractors.org/convention. I look forward to seeing you there and making our industry stronger!
As I said earlier, I am writing this article before the election. I know there has been a lot of hype, stress, anxiety and maybe a little dirt surrounding this election cycle. I hope your team won, but if not, we all need to come together and move forward.
About the Author
Mike Sutter is the CEO of Sutter Masonry, Inc. He has served as an officer on the Executive Board and the Region G Vice President for the Mason Contractors Association of America.