Stronger Together.

It is an exciting time to be in our industry. We are in the final stretch of establishing the CMU Checkoff – a program created for producers, by producers, that will let us work together to win back market share, create new demand and position concrete block as the superior building product it is.
Major Ogilvie

Some of you may have seen an email from a small group proposing a voluntary checkoff, which as we know from our checkoff studies, do not provide long term opportunity that we all recognize we need to support our industry and future.

We’ve always known that there might be a few producers in opposition, but we hoped in time they would see the value of the entire industry working together to advance masonry. We feel there's many benefits to every producer working together to compete against industries chipping away at our market share.

Frankly, given all the hard work that many of you and others have contributed towards establishing a successful checkoff for us and our future, it is disappointing but we must move forward.

With the CMU Checkoff, we will be able to work together to accomplish things none of us could do on our own. National Mandatory Checkoffs work because everyone contributes equally and together we fund long term programs that benefit all producers because mandatory checkoff’s provide a long term, consistent level of funding.

Unlike voluntary checkoffs, we’ve seen national mandatory checkoffs work time and time again, including for some of our competitors.

Since the inception of the softwood lumber checkoff, demand for their product has increased by 3.6 billion feet. A big chunk of that has been at the expense of concrete block. They invest $14 million a year to promote wood to our customers and beyond.

We can’t win without a united approach. And that’s the challenge when it comes to a voluntary checkoff.

As history has shown, we will not be able to scale to the level that our competition is at with a voluntary checkoff. And we will not be able to take on the challenges and to capture the opportunities that are before us.

Here's the bottom line:

With our checkoff we can win back lost markets, create new demand and develop new product and design innovations. Our checkoff will let each of us focus on promoting our own products while the checkoff works to shorten our sales cycle, promoting all the benefits of block. It will be like each of us is adding a product and design research team, a marketing and promotion team and more.

There are good things ahead. I’m excited about the potential before you and I encourage each of you if you haven’t done so already, to take a some time to look at the draft Order that has been published in the Federal Register.

Please be sure to share your support with us and send your comments to the Department of Commerce about our CMU checkoff.

Best,
Major

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