The Stucco Manufacturers Association was formed by key stucco industry members in 1957. Over the decades, the SMA has added dealers, contractors and done some very good things for the industry. The association has put out relevant technical information and for years, has promoted the use of the cement finish coat. A lot has changed since 1957. For example, most people today consider the entire Portland cement plaster assembly as stucco, not just the cement finish coat. Even the purist may have to agree it is probably time we all accept the term “stucco” as exterior Portland cement plaster regardless of the finish coat being used.

The SMA is going through a series of changes, such as its goals, direction and change in leadership. The executive director of the SMA has been Norma Fox, and for nearly two decades, she has done a fantastic job of holding the group together, making the board of directors focus and prioritize the goals of keeping the stucco market intact. Under her leadership, the overall market share for stucco grew compared to most claddings. This is impressive as many claddings went on the offensive attacking stucco.

Through Fox’s determination, hard work and ability to manage and connect people, stucco actually grew in some of the darkest hours of our industry. The SMA and stucco industry owes her a debt of gratitude and she left big shoes to fill after announcing her retirement.

The SMA board of directors formed an executive search committee to find a new executive director for the SMA. This person would have to embrace and carry forward the strategic plan established in 2014 for the SMA, which included “growth through education, expansion and partnership with the industry.” This new strategic plan included a more national scope for its long-term vision. The ultimate goal is to make the SMA the technical authority and technical resource for all things pertaining to the stucco industry. Step one was to form various committees including three-coat stucco, one-coat stucco, trim accessories and a lath and plaster committee. This has been done and projects are underway.

The Future of the SMA

I am extremely happy, proud and honored to write that the SMA has appointed myself to be the new SMA executive director. I am humbled to be selected as director for a group with such a rich history. I grew up watching the SMA lead the industry. I sat with the SMA board of directors and we openly discussed our industry’s challenges, opportunities and possible direction the SMA could take. We shared ideas, and a common vision was apparent. I have sat on several strategic planning committees over the years, and this group is truly committed to a common goal of industry betterment for all groups in plastering and stucco. I believe with this group’s vision, passion, backing and commitment, success is immanent.

Ironically, the president of the SMA is Kevin Wensel of Omega Products International. An estimator working for our families lath and plastering company firm in the early 1970s named Bob Bible announced he was leaving us to start his own company. Bible told us he was going to make stucco. I remember seeing the plain brown paper bags delivered to our projects. He had not yet created a logo or named his company. He quickly named the company Omega Stucco.

The future of the SMA will include a much greater presence in other parts of the country. Stucco and even plastering has several regional variations. Spending a lot time in the Pacific Northwest, I witnessed how minor alterations helped to make stucco work in their particular markets. The South is another big stucco market with unique regional practices that should be embraced. The SMA has the goal to be inclusive of these proven and acceptable regional practices.

Working with an architectural firm that specialized in exterior envelopes, I know the design community is looking for an unbiased and neutral source of information for stucco, lath and plaster. The SMA plans to step up and be that source of information on a national level. This will help regional groups, our industry and keep our industry growing by helping every company that manufactures, sells or installs anything stucco related.

My personal pledge to everyone is to represent the plastering industry with dignity and honor. I hope that as I begin touring the United States and Canada, you will come up, say hello, share your concerns, hopes and dreams for your stucco and plastering industry. We are all in this together.