Two separate organizations. One parallel mission: growing the concrete masonry industry. That mission will only be accomplished if both organizations are focused, well managed, and complement the other.

Effective collaboration and leveraging of investments and resources with other partner organizations and regional masonry promotion groups will also be critical to success. How will the roles and expectations of each of these components evolve to create meaningful and lasting advantages?

A CMU Checkoff has the ability to provide a platform for the development and implementation of a coordinated strategic approach to improve the competitive position of concrete masonry in the market. The checkoff’s engagement with every producer across the U.S. and the mechanism to provide consistent funding and resources into program work puts the masonry industry in a unique position to accomplish change.

At the same time, it’s important to also realize that the CMU Checkoff is not intended to create new, redundant infrastructure and overhead. It will be designed to be lean and lift the performance of our industry partners.

With a checkoff in place, NCMA is expected to retain its focus on technical support and advocating for concrete masonry at the national level and through building codes and standards. It will continue to provide service to and expand opportunities for its members. Most likely, the checkoff will not employ engineering staff, instead tapping in to NCMA resources. The checkoff is also prohibited from funding lobby and advocacy efforts. The funding focus of the checkoff will be education, research, and marketing programs to make NCMA programs even more effective.

Similarly, the checkoff will rely on regional partners to provide leadership and implement programs in a more meaningful way at the local level. The checkoff also can provide funding for any program gaps that may exist at the regional level. And it will rely on other national partners where they have focus and expertise that differs from that of NCMA.

Where should checkoff investments be prioritized? A new national marketing and promotion campaign to promote the benefits of durable and resilient masonry construction? To provide enhanced education and resources to design professionals? To engage emerging professionals at formative stages of their development through universities and other schools? To fund innovative research? To help ensure enough trained professionals are available to install and manufacture our products. That decision lies with checkoff-contributing producers and there will be multiple touchpoints to influence those decisions through the checkoff program.

With a checkoff, NCMA and other industry associations working in tandem, the masonry industry is poised for new opportunities and new demand, creating a competitive edge that few can match.