Executive Director's Report
The MCAA conducted a Finance Strategic Planning meeting on May 16 and 17 at the national headquarters to review how the association operates and where resources are invested to accomplish the Long Range Strategic Goals as established by Board. While a report is forthcoming by the officers from that meeting, the picture of the association finances has improved over earlier projections as we now project a year end that will be in the black by June 30. This has largely been accomplished by the staff keeping expenses tight while working hard to increase all revenue sources. Membership and trade show continue to be the two principle sources of revenues. The Showcase has come in better than projected as well, making for a slightly stronger year.
Staff continues to be engaged throughout the industry and continues to be a strong advocate for the contractors at numerous code, regulatory and other key meetings. Demand for association staff to be at various meetings has increased this past year along with numerous joint senior officer meetings have resulted in the overall MCAA image to be heightened. Overall, the association has done a remarkable job of doing more, being more visible for less resources. Staff continues to be engaged in coming up with innovative ideas and programs to expand the MCAA influence as well as working hard to protect current programs and resources in light of strong competition for existing MCAA activities.
Our influence and activities has dramatically increased since the beginning of January. The MCAA opened our successful 2005 Legislative Conference to the membership of the NCMA, BIA, and BSI as we conducted the first ever joint Masonry Industry Legislative Conference. Even with a contractor attendance that dropped from 35 last year to 15 this year, the conference was a huge hit. 65 conference attendees heard from key policy makers in Washington about the issues that will impact our industry. The MCAA staff worked hard to make over 35 appointments for our members at the conference to visit their members of Congress while they were in Washington. Based on the feedback from our members, the Hill visits that our staff arranged were the highlight of the conference. The four associations are in discussions about continuing the joint Legislative Conference next year.
Our new Government Affairs Director, Jessica Johnson Bennett, along with Rashod Johnson and I have been very active in Washington meeting in numerous coalitions on issues such as Immigration, Tax, and OSHA Reform. We have extremely deepened our relationship with both OSHA and the Laborers Union through our pilot Masonry Best Practices Seminar for OSHA Field Personnel. We conducted a very highly successful event in St Louis and we are in preparation to conduct 2 more OSHA Masonry Best Practices Seminars in two additional OSHA Regions (Massachusetts and Illinois). It is our hope to conduct the cooperative event between the MCAA and the LIUNA in every OSHA Region over the next two years. MCAA staff was invited this past week to two highly visible meetings at the White House. Jessica Johnson Bennett attended a briefing on Immigration at the White House and both Jessica and Rashod Johnson attended the Presidents signing of the Tax Break Legislation signed in a ceremony on the South Lawn of the White House.
Our staff has been extremely active in the Immigration debate as well as other visible issues being debated in Congress. Jessica was on the Hill until the late hours on Tuesday night, May 22 to lobby Senators to eliminate a provision in the Immigration Legislation that would make mason contractors criminally liable for hiring outside firms that had illegal aliens on their payrolls. We were successful in getting that provision changed.
Silica Chairman Mark Kemp presented a draft document of our Silica Standard to OSHA for comment. We are waiting for a response from OSHA. Last year there was a great deal of concern over a long established ASTM Silica Standard. It was our belief that we would be able to eliminate that potential standard. Through the strong efforts of Rashod Johnson, we have been able to exempt construction from the current ASTM Silica Standard. ATSM has selected Rashod to serve as Chairman of a new ASTM Subcommittee on Occupational Safety and Health in Construction which is charged with developing an alternate ASTM silica standard for construction. Since the MCAA is serving as chair of this new subcommittee, we believe that we will be influential in establishing something that our industry would agree with.
Codes and Standards
We are continuing our efforts in influencing codes and standards for the best interests of the contractors. Rashod Johnson, our Director of Engineering, has recently been elected to serve on ASTM C12 and C15 Executive Committee. His role on these two committee will enable him to monitor and impact every ASTM standard pertaining to our industry.
2007 Showcase & Convention in Orlando
The 2007 Masonry Showcase and MCAA Convention will be held in Orlando, Florida on February 23 & 24 at the Orange County Convention Center. There will be several significant changes from previous conventions. The trade show days have been cut from 3 days to 2 days and exhibit hours will be moved to morning hours which will facilitate attendee desires to participate in Orlando area activities. While educational programs have always been a highlight at past conventions, plans are being made to bolster educational offerings including reintroducing a revamped Masonry Quality Institute (MQI) which is a total quality management type seminar conducted by the MCAA & NCMA roughly eight years ago. MQI will play a cornerstone part of a developing certification program. Probably the most exciting change for the 2007 convention is the fact that the MCAA convention will be at the Orange County Convention Center at the same time as the National Concrete Masonry Association is conducting their convention. We have held discussions with the NCMA to conduct a joint Masonry Night at an Orlando Theme Park. Plans are being made to rent either a Universal or Disney Park for closing activities for Saturday, February 24. While our trade shows are not merged at this time, dialogue continues between the MCAA and NCMA regarding the future of both shows.
Workforce Development Activities
The MCAA has held meetings with representatives from the NCMA, BIA, BSI and the Bricklayers Union to discuss how our groups can work cooperatively to develop our future labor force. A meeting is planned for September to review potential programs that will be jointly supported. The MCAA Workforce Development Committee is seeking funds to continue the High School Career Initiative and provide career information to schools that have requested but not yet provided information. In addition, the Committee did a remarkable job of conducting the Masonry Skills Challenge and the Fastest Trowel in Las Vegas. They are reviewing plans for the 2007 competitions. It is our hope that members of the NCMA will be interested in watching the two competitions in Orlando.
Expanded Educational Opportunities
Staff is developing an MCAA Educational Series for the fall and winter. We plan to conduct popular MCAA educational programs such as our Estimating, Foreman Development, Wall Bracing and the revived MQI programs in key markets around the U.S. It is our desire to better service members by providing quality educational programs closer to members operations. We have had requests from members to do more frequent educational programs (outside of the extensive programs run at convention).
About the Author
Michael Adelizzi was the Executive Director of the Mason Contractors Association of America.