As a basketball official, I’m expected to be consistent on each ruling I make during a game. Coaches and players want to know how to adjust their game to the game official’s interpretation of court activity. A foul call in the opening minute must be the same that is called on that last second shot.

So long term readers of these editorial comments won’t be surprised when I suggest that last month’s World of Concrete was an indication of an improving that our industry is not only steadily recovering, but reinventing itself. After all, isn’t this a claim I make each year following the show?

But I believe World of Concrete 2014 was different. We have never had so many events, activities, and technical displays focused on masonry. We literally had thousands of supporters come together to better our industry. Let me offer you fill you in on several indications for my continued spirit of cautious optimism.

-          The SpecMix Bricklayer 500 National Competition Champion won in both categories – brick laid and in workmanship.

-          The SpecMix Bricklayer 500 National Competition Champion was tendered by his daughter.

-          Four masonry contractors finalized their requirements in MCAA’s Contractor Certification Program.

-          Oldcastle Building Materials encouraged attendees to support the National Masonry Committee  for SKILLS USA, and welcomed 8 vocational students from Desert Rose High School who served as tenders for the event.

-          The Air Barrier Association of America conducted their first World of Concrete contractor certification program, certifying 15 new installers.

-          The International Safety Equipment Association provided hands on training on the proper use of fall protection equipment.

-          There were four entries in the Masonry category of the 2014 Most Innovative Product Award program.

-          BIM-M garnered industry recognition by having their own booth in the World of Masonry.

-          David Biggs received his award for his selection as Industry Influencer.

-          The Scaffold and Access Industry Association conducted a successful competent person training program, and hosted a very active Bootcamp in Gold Lot.

-          MCAA’s Fastest Trowel on the Block had its largest number on participants ever at World of Concrete.

-          World of Concrete’s Masonry Hands On Training course had its largest number of students.

-          The Masonry Heater Association built two appliances in the Gold Lot, one being a pizza oven, while highlighting the new techniques needed to conform with upcoming new EPA regulations restricting particle emissions.

-          The Cast Stone Institute unveiled a new demonstration wall in the Masonry Veneer Live area.

-          Masonry Madness found growing industry support from the National Masonry Concrete Association.

I’m certain I haven’t captured everything that happened that week in January. There tens of important industry association committee and executive meetings. Thousands of contractors had a chance to meet, share experiences, and profit from new connections. And finally sales of millions of dollars of new equipment and products were quoted.

And perhaps the best indication of the continued potential success for the masonry industry and the importance of World of Concrete, was the renewal of the MCAA’s agreement of participation. As you plan for next year, I urge you to adjust your game and become involved at World of Concrete.