NMIA Annual Conference Wrap-up
The National Masonry Instructors Association (NMIA) Annual Conference was held July 9-12, 2006 at the Sands Dune Resort in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
This year the Conference Committee came up with some exciting additions to help fulfill educational and personal need including:
- Health Awareness Sessions for Masons by Betty Washington
- MTI Masonry Saws Session by John H. Koester
- E-Z Grout Session by Dan McCutcheon
- Non-Stop Scaffolding Session by Justin Breithaupt, Jr.
- Work Related Injury in Masonry by Dr. Virginia Samuel
- Mortar Mixes by Bill Behie
- Student Motivation, Recruitment and Training
- Community and Parental Involvement
- Developing Good Craftsmanship Habits
Our Golfing Event for this year's conference came from suggestions by business/industry, manufactures, product salesman, suppliers and NMIA members. Their suggestions produced a great response which allowed for a half day of golf activities with industry professionals and masonry instructors.
Both groups displayed amazing golfing skills but since this was our first attempt at an event of this kind, there were no special gifts for the golfer. However, we are looking forward to expanding the golfing event at next year's conference in "Beautiful Gulf Shores" Alabama. If you would like to participate in the planning of events and other activities, please contact the NMIA President for details.
The President Elect for NMIA, Mr. David Quarker, served as the Master of Ceremony at the Awards Banquet. Each year at our Annual Banquet, distinguished professionals from the masonry industry are invited to come and serve as the keynote speaker. This year was no exception and we were proud to have the Director of Engineering for the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA), Mr. Rashod R. Johnson, PE, to address our members and their guests.
The out going NIMA Secretary/Treasure, Milton H. Young, introduced the speaker for the evening by sharing some of the important qualifications of our speaker. Mr. Rashod R. Johnson, PE, has over 10 years in the construction industry, the last six with the MCAA. He holds a great number of leadership positions on various national codes and standards committees. He is one of the leading experts at the national level in masonry design and construction. Rashod is from Chicago and received his BS degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois in Champaign, Illinois and his Master Degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Illinois Chicago campus. He is also a licensed Professional Engineer for the State of Illinois.
After the introduction, Mr. Johnson addressed the group by focusing in on how the Mason Contractors Association of America provides service and support for its members. He went on to outline specific areas of support for our organization:
- NMIA has a national website through MCAA
- Instructor's category and committees
- Sponsors and support contacts available
- Increase membership for NMIA/MCAA
- $1,000.00 Annual Sponsorship each year
Because of these kind of efforts the National Masonry Instructors Association is able to keep others informed and bring in new members to help with training and developing future leaders for the industry.
During his speech, Mr. Johnson indicated that at some point (maybe not now, but soon) there will come a need to address the issue of "Workmanship Standards" from the national level. Now some may say Why? Several reasons were listed that make sense:
- A national recognized standard will eliminate the gray area
- The overall quality of work in America (union or non union) will be the same through out the industry
- It will create a level field where everyone will be meeting the acccpted standards
- Recognized standards will provide a predictable out come, an idea of what the final or competed product should look like
ASTM Standards Committees are doing a wonderful job but there is room for improvement. Currently there are no masonry instructors involved on the committees and the NMIA is training workers for the future. NMIA must become involved in areas where decisions are made regarding codes specifications, standards, definitions and dimensional tarriance; all these areas have a profound impact and effect on the total outcome. In conclusion, Mr. Johnson said, "If the industry can provide us with perfect materials then labor can provide you with perfect workmanship."
During the awards ceremony, Mr. Johnson received the NMIA award for Outstanding Dedication and Devotion in the Masonry Industry.
The 2006 Masonry Hall of Fame Award was presented to James Alston and Bernard Hubbard by Mr. James Ham, retired and past officer for the National Masonry Instructors Association. Both of these men were honored for their tireless efforts within the Association and their outstanding efforts as masonry instructors
Immediately following the awards ceremony drawing for door prizes were held for the members and their guests.
We would like to extend a "SPECIAL THANKS" to all the sponsors and supporters of the 2006 annual conference:
- Bon Tool
- Mason Contractors Association of America
- Henry Brick
- CCMA South/North Carolina
- Brick Association of Carolinas
- Southern Brick Association
At a time when downsizing, cutbacks and layoffs are occurring, these outstanding supporters continually find ways to demonstrate their loyalty with both advisory and financial means. We want you to know that our officers and members appreciate your efforts to help us encourage, train and ensure employment for the young people in the masonry industry.
For more information on the National Masonry Instructors Association, please visit www.masonryinstructors.com.
About the Authors
Eugene Johnson is a masonry instructor at Lake Marion High School in Santee, S.C. He has served as Secretary and President of the National Masonry Instructors Association.
Milton H. Young is a retired masonry instructor.