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November 2007

Making the Grade

A Natural Talent
A high school hobby pays off for one North Carolina masonry contest winner as he joins McGee Brothers.

Masonry Magazine
Marcus Hefner's knack for masonry is a skill that seems to come naturally.
Masonry Magazine
Marcus Hefner's interest in masonry actually was built over time. As a sophomore in West Stanley High's masonry program, Hefner was an average student until he volunteered for a state

estimating competition. He won that competition and, while there, observed the skills portion of the competition firsthand.

"That's when his interest kicked in," says Timothy Kidd, who instructed Hefner at West Stanley High School in Oakboro, N.C. "The next year, Marcus volunteered for competitions and started trying really hard. The more he tried, the better he got. In his junior year, Marcus placed fourth in the State SkillsUSA competition. He then placed ninth in the North Carolina Masonry Contractor's competition for apprentice masons. Later, a first-place finish in the SkillsUSA North Carolina competition qualified him for the [2007 SkillsUSA National Masonry Contest], which he won."

Kidd describes Hefner as "determined and dedicated," noting that he received instructions well and, frequently, practiced after school.

"The competitions he participated in required a lot of extra work with extra hours practiced in the lab and studying at home," Kidd says. "Marcus did it all, and it paid off for him."

McGee Brothers Contractors Inc. sponsored Hefner in the North Carolina Department of Labor while he worked at the company during the summer. He placed first in the competition. Hefner later joined McGee Brothers Masonry as a full-time employee and, now, works with two other recent winners of the National Masonry Contest. Garrett Hood won the high school division of the contest in 2001 and placed second nationally in 2002. In 2004, Dallas Caudle placed second in the national contest and won it 2005. Both are now foremen with McGee Brothers Masonry, a position to which Hefner aspires.

Kevin Hallman supervises the three winning masons at McGee Brothers and 52 others. "I feel like George Steinbrenner," he says. "My team is loaded.

"Hefner is extremely intelligent, hard-working and honest," Hallman continues. "He's a solid citizen and a young man our staff likes to be around, both on and off the job. I want people to know that Marcus is a fine young man with good ethics and, of course, good parents."

Hefner's dedication to excellence in masonry may be best illustrated by what he wrote on an information form for the national masonry contest. Under "school-related sports, extra-curricular activities and hobbies," he wrote, "laying brick in our class."



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