The NCMA Checkoff Campaign has had the opportunity to be introduced to and engage with the DOC Checkoff Team assigned to help our industry get through a successful referendum and creation of a program that will advance our industry. That team includes the following: Program Lead Mike Simpson along with Ken White, Mike Thompson and Phil Saputo.

The first priorities of the team have been: 1) to engage the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) on the process of working through the regulatory steps needed to create a successful program; and 2) to understand the dynamics and demographics of the concrete masonry industry.

To address the second priority, three of the DOC team members visited this month with industry members in the Pacific Northwest, as well as others attending the NCMA Midyear Meeting in Seattle. The team started the week with Mutual Materials’ Executive Chairman Joe Bowen and toured Mutual’s Kent, Washington plant for a first-hand look at concrete block production.

At the conference, the team spoke individually with several producers and state leaders. Ken White spoke at the NCMA Town Hall and briefly introduced the team members and their objectives for their outreach efforts. The DOC team ended their week with a tour of a masonry construction site: a new parking garage at the new REI headquarters campus in Bellevue, Washington. The tour was hosted by John Davidson with Fairweather Masonry and Vinnie Ceccarelli with Basalite Concrete Products.

Next on the docket for the DOC team is working through the regulatory phases of creating a new commodity checkoff program, developing an Order which will serve as the basis for an industry referendum and preparing the mechanisms on how that referendum will be conducted.