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Making the Grade

Howard Cole, a 21-year-old graduate of A.B. Miller High School in Fontana, Calif., is our Masonry Apprentice of the Month. Cole was nominated by his proud employer, NuWay Inc. of Riverside, Calif.

Initially, Cole was encouraged to participate in his high school's masonry program by instructor Bob Freeman. Upon completion of the four-year program and graduating from high school in June 2003, Cole was hired by NuWay Inc. and began the Masonry Industry Training Association (MITA) program one night a week. He has excelled in that program and will soon graduate.

Cole has won several local masonry competitions and, as a third-year mason, placed fourth in a fastest trowel competition held by a local manufacturer.

NuWay spokesperson Roger Coons said, "Howard is not only a great bricklayer, he is a great employee and a real asset to our company."

Coons gives all the credit to Coles' training, which was both formal and informal. "We owe special thanks to his high school teachers, Bob Freeman and Kenny Ott; Leo Dufour, Howard's instructor at MITA, too. These men are great educators. Their students are the proof," Coons said. "And, we have a great crew at NuWay, too, who take pride in working with young men like Howard to teach the trade."

"I've learned a lot from a lot of different people," Cole said. "I learned the fundamentals in class, but it's different on the job. I probably learned the most from my foreman, Jeff Voss. He's taught me a lot."

Voss taught Cole enough that in a little more than two years, Cole has become a foreman himself, taking over and completing a parking structure project.



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