Calculating Your Return on Investment
By Mike Sutter
Well with the month of June beginning, I hope everyone is enjoying the warm weather and good production weather for all your crews. For us in Phoenix, we are not so eagerly looking ahead to what is coming the next few months. We will be anticipating 115 degrees plus in July and August, and production dropping off significantly. While we don’t have any humidity to speak of, it will be like sticking your head in an oven and then being asked to make production levels on your jobs. I guess it is a lot like those of you in the north asking your men to hit production levels in January and February. But no use in complaining, it’s just a fact of life and we will get through it.
I know I mentioned it in my last article, but I want to remind everyone to sign up for the Mid-year meeting in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. It begins on August 28th and will prove to be one of our most memorable Mid-years. Steamboat is a cowboy town that happens to be one of the premier skiing locations in North America. I don’t expect any snow while we are there but my father-in-law who spent nearly his entire life there has told me that he has seen it snow in every month of the year! What you will find is a small town huddled in the Rocky Mountains that welcomes visitors from across the world with open arms. I’m sure you remember John Denver’s song “Rocky Mountain High” but it could take on a new meaning now that Colorado enjoys recreational use of some herbs there. But we will be concentrating on high in altitude when we have our welcome reception on the top of the ski hill overlooking the beautiful valley that Steamboat lies in on Sunday evening. If you don’t want to make the drive from Denver, be sure to book your flight from Denver to Steamboat/Hayden airport very, very early as there are limited flights. I hope you all can make it as I promise you a memorable experience.
We have been very busy at MCAA. We just returned from Chicago from the BIM-M Symposium, where we learned that the group is on schedule and on budget to complete BIM-M in 2018. While there, we also met with Informa (the convention show people) and Spec Mix at our MCAA office in Algonquin to plan our activities there for January 2018. It may sound a little early but it isn’t at all. We actually begin planning as soon as the last show is over. There is a lot to do and prepare for, and we will be ready. You will hear about some changes in the coming months, but one pretty big change is where Masonry Madness will be held next year. The old location of the gold lot is going to be the new wing of the Convention Center that will stretch all the way to Las Vegas Blvd. Our new Gold Lot will be on the South Side of the South Hall and we expect this location to be even better than the old location.
We have also just finished our Legislative Fly-In to Washington DC. As usual we had a great time and stormed the Capital in force. There is no doubt that our Representatives know how they can help us create jobs and get the government out of our way. I can’t wait to see the results of our efforts. Steve Borg and Matt Keelen, from the Keelen group always do a great job getting us meetings with the people that can make a difference and follow up with us sharing the results. The private tour of the National Cathedral was unbelievable. Ask Susie Odom about being inside one of the giant bells when someone (Mark Kemp) decided to ring it!
Now on to the title of my article, I have been at too many Career Days to count and I don’t think I have ever said no when asked to do one. Well a few weeks ago I was asked to do a very unusual one. It was for four kindergarten classes, and of course I said yes! We had four classes with each having about 20 students in each class. After a very brief explanation of masonry and I was surprised with how many had a general idea what a bricklayer and a stonemason was. I passed around some material, because they all wanted to feel it, and then we got around to the real work/fun. We had blueprints rolled up and they broke up into groups of four to build a project. There had to be a foreman to read the blueprints and the rest of the group teamed up to build the project. We had real block and brick that were on pallets and shrink-wrapped. Yes, they were miniature block and brick and we didn’t use mortar, click here to view the website where they can be purchased. When we completed each class, the students definitely knew what masonry was and were very excited about the prospect of becoming masons. They each received a foam brick to take with them but I’m not sure the teachers appreciated it as they may have been thrown around the classroom at each other. I’ll bet the majority of the kids went home and told their parents that they wanted to be masons when they grow up. So while the Return on Investment is rather long (12 years) I’m glad I made the investment and I encourage everyone to do the same if the opportunity arises.
One more thing, to my best friend of 40 years, RIP Denny Saarela, a bricklayer, you are missed.
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.