December 18, 2020

The year 2020 has been like none other, but I have to tell you, I think next year will be too. Because I believe that this time next year, we will have the first few months of the CMU Checkoff under our belts and we will already be funding programs that will return a positive impact to each and every one of us. And, if you haven’t had time yet to take a look at the great work James Cain has done on programs please do so.

You know, there are two things that I have learned to be true since I entered this industry so many years ago.

One is that the block masonry industry is made up of some of the most hard-working, trustworthy and innovative people I know. I trust my fellow producers. It’s one of the many reasons I am so confident that a national, mandatory checkoff is the best path forward for us. The checkoff is created by us and it will be run by us. Producers will make the decisions about where our money goes. Not the government, not staff, but for us. Some are suggesting it is a tax, I see it as an investment where just a penny a block will create investments in programs to regain market share. Everyone invests equally, everyone benefits.

The second is that when you feel like you are at the biggest odds with somebody, you usually really aren’t that far apart. And while I have talked to so many of you who support the checkoff, I know there are some of you that have questions about how the program will work which is absolutely fair. Here’s the thing. This is just the starting point for a block checkoff. Are there things that we would like to see different? You bet. But once our checkoff gets started, we’ll have a board made up entirely of producers who can begin to put processes and programs into place to make sure this is the best checkoff program any industry could hope for. Did I mention how much I believe in my fellow producers?

I have continued to listen to our discussions and have decided to share with you a series of recommendations that I will personally provide to the future CMU Checkoff Board. These recommendations were created based on both input we have heard from other producers, but also things that were our intent in the original Order. We had built purposeful flexibility there to allow for CMU producers to be able to make needed adjustments without going back to the U.S. Congress. These actions and policy additions are fully within the Checkoff Board’s authority to make or to work with the DOC to address and are in the spirit of continuing our journey to create the very best checkoff possible. I’ve also shared them with the NCMA Board of Directors, who conveyed their full support. I hope you feel the same way after reviewing and trust you will share other ideas with me as you have them. Below is a quick description of each recommendation and you can click here to get more specifics and detail.

  • No assessment increase for at least five years;
  • Encourage the Department of Commerce to reapportion to add Florida as a sixth region;
  • Strive to mitigate the impact of current limitations on spending (escrow requirement);
  • Clarify that the CMU Checkoff will only address CMUs;
  • Increase funding to geographic regions.

Things are looking brighter, friends. The future of our industry is in our hands.

Major Ogilvie
CMU Checkoff Chair

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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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