Checkoff supporters hold Dallas Strategy Session
A series of breakout sessions divided the attendees into six regions: five for manufacturers, one for suppliers, partners, mason contractors and other supporters.
One possible outreach program all regions of the country seemed to agree upon was the need to strengthen building codes. "Number one, codes and standards," says Kent Waide of Kentucky's Ruby Concrete Products. "That's really a national issue, but for our region , it's important for us to be able to build more sustainable buildings in a tornado region, which affects our part of the country."
Blair Harter of Region 5's Basalite Concrete Products in Washington state also found discussions surrounding codes and municipal ordinances timely. "The checkoff is going to allow us to have funding to do all the important things that our industry needs to do to gain back market share, as well as to defend our position in the marketplace with respect to codes," says Harter. In Region 1, codes and code education made the list of possible programs. "We need help ," says Rocky Fizzano of Philadelphia's Fizzano Brothers. "That's one of things the checkoff will be able to help us with because it'll create strict building codes, better building codes. It will allow us to have a more national presence," he says.
Another possible program attendees agreed upon was the need to develop messaging surrounding the safety value of concrete masonry. Harter points to the destruction from recent fires in Northern California as just one example. "We want to have safer communities, better neighborhoods and something that is going to last a long time," he says.
Suppliers were also part of the strategy session, and Monica Manolas of Suwanee American Cement summed the safety message up best. “This is all about making our industry better and stronger and bigger, and all of those great things about our business,” says Manolas. “But for me, this is about making our communities stronger and safer. We want families safe inside concrete structures that stand up to fires, against storms, against wind. So again, it's about growing the industry, but it's also about making the world better.”
Industry partners also attended the Dallas session and pledged to facilitate outreach to producers and identify other suppliers to aid in the Checkoff effort. Paul Odom, MCAA Chairman and CEO of Legacy Masonry, LLC in Texas says: “I don't know a single mason that is not for the checkoff program. I’m sure there may be some out there, but most people in our industry know how important this checkoff program is.”