Membership dues paid to the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) is the largest source of funding that we have. Its importance cannot be understated…it's a vital part of the association that enables us to continue to fight for our industry on behalf of all mason contractors. Our involvement on all fronts (from regulatory reform to education and training) continues to ensure the survivability and viability of our industry for generations to come. Below is a list of some of our recent successes supported by MCAA Membership dollars followed by a brief outlook for the year ahead.
BIM SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
Phase II of the BIM Software Development program is moving forward. Phase I gave the industry a roadmap forward to implement a fully operational BIM for Masonry program and Phase II is starting that process. Later this year contractors will begin to see opportunities to educate themselves on computers, what BIM is through an introductory to BIM software and other programs. This is an exciting step forward in the process and will offer huge opportunities for contractors. The entire process is projected to be about a five-year process. When complete masonry will level the playing field with competing systems and will be at the very beginning of the development process in building design. We plan to be incorporated into designer software making the design of masonry in project development a very easy task.
The MCAA was very busy this past year working on developing arguments both as a part of a construction industry coalition and as a representative of our industry. We testified at hearings in March of 2014 on issues we had with the new proposed rule and submitted written testimony on our objections. We are now in an evaluation period where OSHA will determine what they will do with their rule. We expect a final rule to come in the new year. This battle over a fair and reasonable rule will be continued and the MCAA will continue to fight for the interests of our industry on this rule. Watch for this issue in 2014-15. This was an unbudgeted item and the MCAA did not hold back on representing our interests on this issue, as it will be critical to our future. Likely the next stage of the battle will get very expensive (potential lawsuit against the Federal Government by major industry coalitions including MCAA).
WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT INITIATIVE
The MCAA had an opportunity to begin implementing its workforce development issue it had been working on with the Masonry Association of Florida. This was not a budgeted item, but it was an opportunity to roll-out the program in an area that was ready for this initiative. In October of 2013 we hired Terry Ruppel from Nashville, Tennessee to kick-off our MCAA/NCCER high school sponsor-training program. The MCAA has secured their first schools and plan for a major expansion of the program in the fall of 2014. This program’s goal will be to support and implement new high school construction in particular masonry programs at the high school level. Then use those programs to feed new apprentice programs in the states we are working in. Tennessee is the first model program and once self-supporting, the MCAA will look to branch out into other areas. Look to hear more about this in 2014-15.
NEW LEARNING EXPERIENCES FOR CONTRACTORS
In 2013-14 the MCAA continued our popular networking sessions for contactors to share information with one another. Something that has branched out as a result has been the development of on-line networking groups. These are designed to take the valuable networking events we have had at our meetings and make them available all year long. In addition, the MCAA has bulked up the popular Live Webianr Season Pass to the weekly webinars. Now most weeks contractors have multiple webinars they can attend and allow everyone in their company access to the recorded events 24/7. Look for this to be further enhanced in the year ahead. In 2014 the MCAA also released the first three revised programs to what has been known as the MQI. These new programs were created by mason contractors for mason contractors. Look for an additional three to roll out in 2015.
NEW MEMBER BENEFITS
In 2013-14 new member benefits were rolled out. Benefits were added to our traditional programs such as our Grainger discount program, and safety discount program. The MCAA is introducing a company called Sageworks. They offer member firms some of the best financial comparison numbers that can be found in the industry. Look for more on this in 2014-15. It is a new program that will help your firm benchmark it’s expenses and profits to fellow contractors (in a discreet fashion locally, regionally and nationally). It is a very exciting program and those who have seen the demo have been very impressed with its capabilities. Beeline Safety Products has expanded their offerings and now has a web-store for members to get everyday low pricing on safety equipment and needs. Make sure you take advantage of broker buying through Beeline.
In an effort to better identify needs and services of our members and non-members, the MCAA undertook a massive survey effort in 2013-2014 of our members, non-members and past members. It stared out with an intensive interactive survey done on-line for three days and allowed for interaction of those surveyed and the MCAA so additional questions could be posed after responses to the initial questions. Phase II is finishing as we write. That was a much larger survey, but was done traditionally as an on-line question and answer survey. Once the results are compiled, the MCAA will evaluate the responses and begin to implement and make changes to MCAA offerings based on the results. The marketing firm used for the survey process will work with us to implement these in 2014-15.
A LOOK TO THE YEAR AHEAD
It is expected that OSHA will release their final rule. The MCAA will be poised with our coalition members to continue our effort for reasonable regulation on this issue. Further action on this initiative will be dictated by the content of the final rule. There is hope that OSHA will spate out construction and establish a different PEL for construction. If very little changes about the rule, the MCAA is prepared to work with coalition members to continue our fight on a multitude of levels including politically and legally.
DEVELOPMENT OF NEW MEMBER BENEFITS
An area you should expect to see developed in 2014-2015 is a new member only benefit which will be specifically tailored to our member needs and the discount offered in this program will only be available to MCAA members. The MCAA will be working with a consultant on an exclusive program, which will be formulated by finding out the top three controlled expenses our members have. The goal is to take one of your largest expenses that you have control over (taxes, medical etc. would not be included) and get a national provider to offer a savings program that will reward you for being a member and likely cover your membership dues in savings. Look for more details on this in the summer of 2015.
One thing that has come out of our initial membership survey is to bring regional conventions to our members and non-members. These conventions will bring the best of educational and networking opportunities from our national convention to a more local level. The idea is to reach out and engage members who can’t afford to be at our convention for either economic or time issues. The MCAA is planning to initiate three of these in the year ahead.
The MCAA will be introducing something termed speed dating at our mid-year meeting. This concept will bring suppliers who have new products to meet with our members and discuss those products in a half hour program. Suppliers will be selected based on their ability to help contractors with their products to more efficient and productive. This will be a unique opportunity for contractors to engage in a small group discussion with suppliers about how they can utilize them and be more profitable as a result. Look for more details in the coming months.
ASK THE EXPERT
New at this year’s convention will be an MCAA booth which will be themed to be similar to the Apple Store Genius Bar. We will be scheduling short question and answer sessions with experts from our industry on a wide array of topics and they will be in our booth to answer questions and share knowledge. This will be a unique way to learn not only about industry topics but also other topics to help make you more productive such as tablets and how to utilize them on a job-site. More on this coming soon.
As the year develops there will be undoubtedly more exciting opportunities for our association to participate in. We need your continued support to maximize our opportunities and serve the needs of our industry.