BMJ Stone
EZG Manufacturing
Federated Insurance
Fraco USA, Inc.
Hohmann and Barnard, Inc.
Hydro Mobile, Inc.
iQ Power Tools
Kennison Forest Products, Inc.
Mortar Net Solutions
Non-Stop Scaffolding
Pullman Ermator
Tradesmen's Software, Inc.
Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) receives the MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award from Joe Buechel (left) and MCAA Chairman John Smith (right)
Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI) receives the MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award from Joe Buechel (left) and MCAA Chairman John Smith (right)
June 1, 2013 7:00 AM CDT

Eye opening

An enjoyable and well worth-while trip to D.C.


We have just returned from our Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C. I was hoping that more contractors would have attended. It was one of the most exciting trips I have been on with the MCAA.

The South 40 Group went on a tour of the National Cathedral. It was awesome! We not only saw the Cathedral from behind the scenes, we also got a first-hand look at the earthquake damage. Joe Alonzo, the head mason at the Cathedral, gave us the tour that lasted for almost a full day. His expertise and knowledge of the facility made the tour out of this world. To see how the stone finials and towers weathered the quake was impressive.

From the stone exterior façade, we were able to see the amount of red face brick used in some of the fourfoot-thick walls.

After the Cathedral visit, we toured the Nation’s Capital on a special tour planned by Matt Keelen, our legislative lobbyist. We could have spent a couple of days there; the history and craftsmanship are amazing.

The actual conference started Tuesday morning, with a briefing session by The Keelen Group. They did an amazing job setting up our appointments and helping us on our position papers. We met with more than 100 Congressmen and Representatives over a day and half of meetings. There is a lot going on there, and it was critical for us to participate and lobby for the sake of the industry.

MCAA President Jeff Buczkiewicz and Zach Everett (our Safety Chairmen) had a meeting with OSHA as there is more discussion with OSHA on silica. A proposed rule with regard to the silica issue is being evaluated by the Obama Administration and rumored to be released sometime this year. We will be involved with a coalition of construction groups to review the proposed rule when presented and draft a response for the industry.

A special thanks needs to be given to Jeff and the staff, along with The Keelen Group, for making this trip not only enjoyable but well worth-while. It is hard to break away from your business, but it is harder to live with rules in our industry that make it impossible to operate.

About the Author

John J. Smith Jr. is the President of John J. Smith Masonry Company. He has served as an officer on the Executive Board, the Region E Vice President, and the Marketing Committee Chairman for the Mason Contractors Association of America.


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