Our current national outreach campaign, driven by regional volunteers, is asking fellow concrete block producers to imagine a world that recognizes the universal benefits of concrete masonry.

ABOVE: Since 2010, Major Ogilvie has been the driving force and public face of the industry’s eight-year campaign, a campaign he calls “a long pull”.

“The opportunities are vast, and our only limitation will be our imagination and willingness to collaborate across the industry,” says Major Ogilvie, CMU Checkoff Campaign Chair.

Presently, industry representatives are fanning out across the country to reach every block producer in the United States. The goal is to ensure each manufacturer is updated on the complex process to put the checkoff into place.

“As I talk to producers across the country, they are proud of what they do and they work hard every day to put quality products in the marketplace,” says Ogilvie.

“Working together through the checkoff we can do even more for our communities. This is an opportunity we can’t just let pass us by."

Promoting Resiliency

Ogilvie attended last year’s National Disaster Resilience Conference in Clearwater, Florida and found the cost of recovering from recent large-scale disasters sobering. “The total cost of recent wildfires, tornadoes, hurricanes here in the United States exceeded $300-billion. The concrete masonry industry has the ability to lessen the impact of natural disasters on homeowners and U.S. taxpayers.”

He notes one potential promotional program financed by the checkoff could focus on masonry’s built-in resiliency. “We often market concrete masonry based on energy efficiency, the fact that it’s the ultimate local and sustainable product, and that CMU are being used in exciting design approaches. But most important to me, it results in more resilient structures that stand up to natural disasters.”

Ogilvie feels that while adopting the national checkoff would grow the industry, it would also allow for stronger, safer communities. “We want concrete masonry structures that shelter people from storms, fires and wind. We want to grow the industry and we will do that through focusing on creating the best structures possible for our families and our communities."

Educating Builders

Another aspect of the national checkoff would center on educating architects, builders and engineers on current technology available to design structures that leverage all the benefits of concrete masonry.

“Over the past eight years we've learned numerous times that designers did not and were not using the modern methods of design for our product,” says Ogilvie. “What that’s doing is making us seem less competitive. An immediate opportunity for us is to develop even more advanced design tools and software so designers can fully optimize the economics of our product.”

Researching Advances

Funds from the national checkoff could also be earmarked for research into new uses and product improvements, an opportunity that excites Ogilvie. “I look at what some of the other checkoff programs have done and see how they have researched new ways to use their products and it’s impressive,” he says. He points to the United Soybean Board as one such example.

“The soybean checkoff works closely with public universities and private companies to identify new uses for soybean oil and bring additional profits back to their producers. As a result of that partnership, Goodyear recently launched a line of soy-based tires that can be used on three-quarters of the cars, minivans and SUVs on the road today.”

Stay Informed

The concrete masonry industry continues its efforts to establish a national checkoff program to generate long-term funds for product research, designer education and promotion of block’s unique benefits.

You can get involved by reviewing the suggested links below and by ensuring your email address allows our monthly online eNewsletter InSight to be delivered to your inbox.

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