A few weeks ago I was asked to do a career day for four kindergarten classes.
A few weeks ago I was asked to do a career day for four kindergarten classes.

Calculating Your Return on Investment

Chairman’s Message

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.

Chairman’s Message Archive

June 2017

Calculating Your Return on Investment

May 2017

Sweet Tea and Grits

April 2017

Silica, Auctions and Policy

March 2017

Things to Remember

February 2017

Looking Forward

January 2017

A Fresh Start

December 2016

Making Our Industry Stronger

November 2016

MCAA Midyear Meeting Does Not Disappoint

October 2016

Have You Made Your Pledge to the Foundation?

September 2016

MCAA to Publish Masonry Magazine
Who Moved My Cheese?

August 2016

Get Ready for MCAA’s Midyear Meeting

July 2016

Making a Difference

June 2016

Southern Hospitality

May 2016

The 2016 MCAA Legislative Conference

April 2016

MCAA: Looking out for your interests

March 2016

Let’s share our passion!

February 2016

Thanks for letting me give back

January 2016

A week of masonry you can’t miss

December 2015

Giving back

November 2015

A successful Midyear Meeting in the Florida Keys

October 2015

Seeing the future before our eyes

September 2015

Join us for the Midyear Meeting

August 2015

The MCAA Midyear Meeting is approaching

July 2015

Spread the Word: Masonry Doesn’t Burn

June 2015

Busy on ‘The Hill’ for you

May 2015

Progress in the making

April 2015

A voice in Washington

March 2015

Another successful Convention in Vegas

February 2015

An exciting year ahead

January 2015

MCAA Convention is approaching

December 2014

Defining success

November 2014

Coming together for our industry

October 2014

Striving to reach perfection and continually improving

September 2014

Hitting the road and making a difference

August 2014

Staying busy for you

July 2014

MCAA Midyear Meeting approaching

June 2014

MCAA staying busy and making progress

May 2014

Be a voice in your industry

April 2014

The MCAA is on the move

March 2014

It’s all about helping each other

February 2014

Ready for action

January 2014


December 2013

Happy holidays

November 2013

MCAA Midyear update

October 2013

Ushering in a busy fall season

September 2013

Workforce a familiar friend

August 2013

The MCAA in D.C.

July 2013

A lot happening

May 2013

Why not be a member?

April 2013

First South of 40 Conference

March 2013

Positive movement

February 2013

Headed to Vegas

January 2013

New beginning

December 2012

It’s finally over

November 2012

My trip to the Rockies

October 2012

The 2012 election

September 2012

Stay involved

August 2012


July 2012

Summer time

June 2012

Exciting time

May 2012

Working for you

April 2012

Join us in D.C. next month

March 2012

New beginnings

February 2012


January 2012

One more to go!

December 2011

The life of a mason contractor

November 2011

Join us in Vegas

September 2011

This ole cowboy is excited!

August 2011

As the world turns

July 2011

Update From the President

June 2011

The Strong Spirit of our Industry

May 2011

A Bright Future

April 2011

Springtime Updates from MCAA

March 2011

Tidbits From MCAA

February 2011

Time Flies By

January 2011

The MCAA Convention: A Priceless Experience

December 2010

The End of the Year

October 2010

South of 40

September 2010

Get Involved on All Levels

August 2010

What Are We Doing?

July 2010

Have a Great Summer

May 2010

MCAA Key Accomplishments 2009-2010
The Government is Working, 24-7

April 2010

MCAA is Working for the Mason Contractor

March 2010

Moving Forward

February 2010

A Fond Farewell

January 2010

A New Year

December 2009

Start the Year Strong

November 2009

The Greening of our Industry

October 2009

A Successful Midyear Meeting

September 2009

MCAA in D.C.

August 2009

Brick Voids

July 2009

Vision 20/20 Moving Forward

June 2009

Success On The Hill

May 2009

Show Your Support Through Membership

March 2009

On a Positive Note...

February 2009

Vision 2020
State of the Association

January 2009

The Silver Lining

December 2008

How Is Your Business Doing?

November 2008

Fastest Trowel on the Block

October 2008

Thoughts on the 2008 Election

September 2008

Industry Cooperation for Positive Change

August 2008

Networking: Not Just a Buzz Word

July 2008

MCAA: A Critical Investment in Your Future

June 2008

Impact on the Hill

May 2008

An Industry Response to a Customer Request

April 2008

Join Us Next Month in D.C.

March 2008

Were you at the World of Masonry in January?

February 2008

New Horizons

January 2008

State of the Association
Thanks for an Enjoyable Term as President

December 2007

Wrapping up Another Year

November 2007

Greetings From Italy!

October 2007

MCAA, World of Masonry Join Forces

September 2007

MCAA Looking to Expand Masonry Markets

August 2007

Certification: Good Efforts and Bad Rumors

July 2007

Positive Changes on the Horizon

June 2007

MCAA Appoints New Executive Director
Mason Contractors Step up to Promote Total Masonry Construction

May 2007

Certification is Not a Financial Windfall to the MCAA

April 2007

Isn’t It Time You Joined With Us?

February 2007

Advancing Masonry in a Global Economy
Certification Can Strengthen Our Markets

January 2007

A New Battle Rages in Washington

December 2006

National Initiatives Will Build a Stronger Industry

November 2006

Masonry Showcase 2007: Networking to Build a Better Industry

October 2006

Totally Engaged in Washington

September 2006

MCAA's Skills Competitions Create Enthusiasm for Training

August 2006

Heeding Huckabee's Call for Action

July 2006

MCAA Membership Can Pay Real Dividends

June 2006

Inaugural Masonry Industry Legislative Conference Presented a United Masonry Industry

May 2006

This Years Convention Exhibited A New Excitement

April 2006

I Can't Wait To Get Started!

March 2006

Coming Together to Advance the Industry
Serving the Industry Has Been a Rewarding Experience

February 2006

Coming Together to Expand Our Opportunities

January 2006

Strategic Planning Creates Successful Future

November 2005

It's Time You Joined the MCAA

October 2005

You Have A Choice of Trades Shows Next Year in Las Vegas, But Only One Supports The Industry and Your Future

September 2005

Volunteerism Advances America and Our Industry

August 2005

Legislative Conference Puts Face of Industry in Front of Elected Officials

July 2005

MCAA National Insurance Program Has Something to Offer Everyone

June 2005

2005 Masonry Showcase in Chicago Promotes Our Finest

April 2005

Advancing the Masonry Industry
"Village" Competition Will Spotlight Our Industry at Construct America

March 2005

Strong Reasons to Go to Masonry Showcase

February 2005

Contractors Taking the Promotion Initiative

January 2005

We Need Your Help!

December 2004

Elections 2004: An Interesting Political Year

November 2004

The Internet is Opening New Doors for Contractors

October 2004

Mason Contractors + Specifiers = Construct America

September 2004

Your Influence Can Impact the Election

August 2004

Mason Contractors Lead Effort to Develop Volunteer Silica Work Practice

July 2004

MCAA is More Active Than Ever on Your Behalf

June 2004

Stepping Up to Sell Masonry Systems

April 2004

New Challenges Await Us!
The State of the Association

March 2004

Seeking Expanded Opportunities for Mason Contractors

February 2004

The MCAA: Getting Plugged into Washington

January 2004

Contractors Organize to Tackle Promotion

December 2003

If You're Not Part of the Team, Now's the Time to Get off the Bench

November 2003

The Strength of Unity

September 2003

Association Health Plans - Making Insurance Accessible and Affordable
Military Construction: Traditional Masonry or Modern Design

August 2003

All the Fun of Las Vegas will be Right Outside Your Door at the 2004 Masonry Showcase

July 2003

Award-winning Masonry Magazine is Vital to MCAA's Strategy

June 2003

Partnership with CSI Benefits Industry

May 2003

Masonry Showcase: Promoting Our Industry's Best

April 2003

Strength Through Advocacy

March 2003

Galvanizing Our Industry through MCAA's Masonry Magazine

February 2003

A New Year, a New Congress and a New Outlook

January 2003

Masonry Showcase ... Take Your Business Further

December 2002

Let's Not Lose Sight of Training

November 2002

MCAA Is Working Hard On Your Behalf

October 2002

Washington Representation - The Final Piece of the Leadership Puzzle

September 2002

Spirit of Cooperation Will Lead To Larger Markets for All of Us!

August 2002

Phoenix ... Rising From the Ashes

July 2002

Industry Beginning To Think Together

June 2002

New Ergonomics Standard: Right Approach, But May Be Short Lived

May 2002

Industry Training at a Crossroads

April 2002

Coming Together As Contractors

March 2002

A Steadying Force in Uncertain Times

February 2002

Changing of the Guard

January 2002

Associate Members Play a Key Role in Industry

March 2001

Strategically Thinking About the Future of the Masonry Industry

February 2000

A Half Century of Service...A Half Century of Leadership

January 2000

Fifty Years of Serving the Masonry Industry

March 1998

Our Work Awaits Us… Let Us Begin!

March 1993

Meeting the Challenges Ahead

February 1961

A Message from Stephen D. Raimo