December 11, 2020

Hello! My name is James Cain and I am the president of the Southeast Concrete Masonry Association. When I began working with SCMA, I quickly heard from many of our producers about the potential of a CMU Checkoff. I also heard a lot of personal stories about how important a national checkoff would be to ensuring the future of many family-owned block companies throughout the country as well as in our southeastern part of the U.S.

Recently I have become more involved in the campaign to propel our industry forward with the CMU Checkoff. As part of that, I’ve participated in several regional and national sessions where we’ve had to brainstorm potential programs we could fund with a national checkoff. We recently compiled all of the input from so many of you into one document that outlines key initiatives and projects that could and should be considered by the CMU Checkoff Board when established.

I’ve also heard some ask about a voluntary checkoff. Let’s be clear—voluntary programs that go above and beyond what our current associations are doing have their merits and times when they make sense, but take a look at what’s happened to our industry. We are fragmented. Today, we only have two voluntary state programs in the United States. Even with these two states, they don’t have 100% participation and that means not every producer is contributing equally. Then ask yourself how do we rebuild this industry that is more fractured than ever without each producer contributing equally and benefitting both as individual companies and as an industry. Also, don’t forget we’ve gone from four billion blocks produced a year to one billion across our great nation! A national, mandatory checkoff arms us with the funds and the power to take on not just the competition, but the future of block masonry.

See below for a summary of potential programs and projects. Think about how this work could positively impact your company. And remember as you read them, that it will be producers just like you who make the decision on where checkoff dollars go to work. No one else. Once you’ve had a chance to think about it let us know if you think of any other programs you would like to see on this list. Just hit reply to this note or reach out to Major, me or any of your regional checkoff captains.

I encourage each of you to remain strong and optimistic about the future of block masonry if we are lifted with the power of a national CMU Checkoff.

Together we have a national plan!

Best,
James Cain
Southeast Concrete Masonry Association
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Design Escapes
The CMU Checkoff Initiative was created by producers frustrated with continual loss of market share. That frustration was compounded when program ideas surfaced that could drive demand, but there was no way to fund multi-year, well-funded programs that would change outdated perceptions of CMU.

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