January 15, 2021

I hope the New Year is off to a good start. It may come as no surprise to most of you that I am looking forward to 2021 as being the year we take back control of what the future of masonry looks like.

We are expecting the registration process enabling block producers to vote in the CMU Checkoff referendum to begin in the next few weeks. And I am wholeheartedly encouraging each of you to quickly return your registration and submit your vote at the appropriate times. I will pass along those dates once we know them.

Here’s the reality, folks. We don’t have time to for a few loud voices to distract us with mistruths and attacks. We all know that we can’t afford to do nothing. And we’ve agreed as an industry, and as individual producers, that if we don’t work together, we are accepting that our market share at best stays the same, but more than likely continues to erode rather than grow. And when I say erode, I think you all know how painfully accurate that is with just over one billion blocks sold in 2020.

With our CMU Checkoff we can all participate at an equal rate to invest millions of dollars into programs that, over time, will bring back the market share for block. Imagine the kinds of programs we can fund, as a united industry, to demonstrate why block is best. Whether that’s partnering with local high schools and vo-techs to create masonry apprentices or a national advertising campaign promoting the resiliency of block construction or technology-forward design tools that show exactly how block can be versatile, economical and strong at the same time.

Before I sign off, I want to be sure we all are on the same page regarding a few things. In no way does the Order on which you are voting on allow for the checkoff to be expanded beyond block to include any other concrete products. Such an expansion would require a new Order and a new referendum. And the people who make the decisions at the national and regional levels on where our checkoff dollars go will be ourselves. It will be producers who make up the board directors who oversee the checkoff. Those producer directors can be nominated by anyone in our industry, as outlined in the draft Order. Control of the CMU Checkoff and our dollars will be with ourselves.

I remain committed and excited about the CMU Checkoff and the potential that comes when we work together and invest in our future.

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.

© Concrete Masonry Checkoff Initiative