MCAA Communities: Building Walls With Words
By Cass Stern
When mason contracting companies, suppliers to the masonry industry, and career masons join the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) they are often surprised to learn that their membership offers exclusive access to the MCAA Communities section of the masoncontractors.org website. Many new members are surprised to learn such a thing exists, much less how they can participate within the MCAA Communities forums and discussion boards to benefit their company and grow in their career.
Throughout the last few years, a growing unease towards technological innovation and the changes that are introduced in the masonry industry has started to decrease, and professionals throughout the world are beginning to welcome what evolution has brought. While things like improved BIM-M software, timesheet-management phone-apps, and even drones may come to mind, it’s actually the connection and networking afforded through Internet communities where the power of the Digital Age truly lies.
When you open the MCAA Communities homepage, you’ll immediately see three main areas of engagement: Latest Discussions, Recent Shared Files, and Upcoming Events. The Latest Discussions block highlights the three most recent posts or replies so that you can jump right into the most recent active conversation that you mind interesting. In the Recent Shared Files block, you can browse materials uploaded and shared by other members, including diagrams, safety plans, and more.
The final block is the Upcoming Events, where you can get updates and reminders for conventions, webinars, and other MCAA activities. Finally, at the bottom of the homepage, we feature our top four most active users! User accounts on the MCAA Communities Boards earn points for engagement like posting or replying to topics, which can be found through the different tabs at the top of the page.
Through the MCAA Communities Discussion Board, members can post anything from a technical question about a particular aspect of a current project to a general observation about the industry itself. Recent topics from the MCAA Discussion Board range from Climbing Style Hard Hats to Employee Reviews, Direct Deposit Payroll, and High School Masonry Programs. Members encourage and offer advice to posters seeking solutions to common problems, and can offer services and support for those seeking resources for workforce development initiatives.
While the MCAA Discussion Board is thriving, it is only as successful as its participants, and the more knowledge and experience that is shared and the more positive interactions that are exchanged, the more successful the Discussion Board will be.
One interesting feature of the MCAC Communities page is the ability to filter different categories to find what you’re looking for. Search by post title, community, general topic, or even keywords. There is also a Member Directory tab, which allows you to search for other members based on their name or the name and contact details of their company. This search function further encourages networking within the community and the sharing of industry information between career masons, mason contractors, and industry, and educational professionals.
There are four main communities to choose from when starting your own thread or searching for a topic. The communities are General Discussion, Membership Community, South of 40 Community, and the Instructor Community. The General Discussion Community has almost 3,000 members, hundreds of active threads, and even an archive library of threads that share important and useful information. This community is for anyone who is an MCAA member, and topics are very open.
There is also the Membership Community, which focuses on membership initiatives and ways to improve membership benefits. The Membership Community “The Membership Committee is responsible for all membership recruitment and retention activities, oversees such member development and promotional efforts such as welcoming new members and assisting them into actual membership within the association, and is responsible for determining member satisfaction and that future needs of the membership are met.”
There is also the South of 40 Community, who’s mission statement reads as follows: “The mission of the South of 40 Committee is to provide members the opportunity to learn, to become more involved, and introduce a youthful voice into the masonry industry. We will accomplish this by fostering lasting relationships, encouraging new ideas, and educating the leaders of tomorrow with the objective of increasing the masonry market share and ensuring our industry is as solid as the products we promote.” This Community focuses on outreach and works closely with those involved in workforce development as educators.
Speaking of educational professionals, the Instructor Community is one of the best resources for anyone looking to participate in or even start a workforce development initiative. There is plenty of discussion in the Instructor Community that focuses on pooling industry resources and information for workforce development initiatives, recruiting volunteers and donations for charitable efforts, and exchanging up-to-date educational resources, teaching plans, programs, and more. You will often see posts from masonry professionals who focus on bringing masonry awareness and educational programs into schools looking for support or ideas for new programs.
The Participate tab at the top of the page is the gateway to your engagement with these different MCAA Communities. Select the drop-down menu to access the Help/FAQ section to get started, or jump right in and select Post a Message to share your thoughts or questions with your fellow community members. Find something interesting or useful? You can share that too both quickly and easily by uploading through the Share Your File section. All of these features can be accessed through your MCAA member login information and are available for your use 24/7.
The Mason Contractors Association of America is here to help career masons and mason contractors child successful careers and businesses, and these days, one of the best ways to do so is by offering an online forum for members. Through the MCAA Communities, members from across the country can easily connect and share the crucial industry information they need to succeed.
Using a new type of mortar? Ask for help from others who have used it before. Not sure which method is the best to use for a particular project? Ask other experienced masons what they have done in your situation. By pooling our knowledge together and making it accessible to the entire community, we are strengthening our industry by exchanging experiences and making each other better builders. If you’re interested in becoming an MCAA member and joining the MCAA Communities Board, contact MCAA Membership Director Todd Fredrick at email@example.com.
About the Author
Cass Stern is the Media Operations Associate at MASONRY Publications.