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From the Editor

With the closing of summer, the hustle and bustle of school once again sets into motion. This month, we've practically had to dedicate the entire issue to the leaders of masonry education and training, as these students, teachers, schools and masonry organizations have been extra busy!

First, we highlight the winners from the 2005 SkillsUSA National Leadership and Skills Conference held in Kansas City, Mo., over the summer break (see pg. 14). Josh Morrison and Dallas Caudle — students of Todd B. Hartsell, masonry instructor from Central Cabarrus High School in Concord, N.C. — took home the first place honors in the post-secondary and high school competitions. Morrison, Caudle and Hartsell's accomplishments have been heralded in the past, and we certainly look forward to watching their stars continue to rise in the future.

We are also honored to include a feature article about the grand opening of the American College of the Building Arts (ACBA) in Charleston, S.C. (see pg. 28). The ACBA is the first and only institution in the United States to offer two- and four-year degrees in six of the building arts trades, including architectural stone carving and masonry.

Using a curriculum based on the European guild system of learning, with 50% advanced bookwork and 50% intense hands-on training, the ACBA will soon be providing the industry with seasoned masonry restoration experts. Starting next summer, the ACBA will also offer short workshops so that masons, who are experts in their own right, can brush up on additional skills.

We are very excited about the introduction of this opportunity for higher learning in the trade and anticipate that the graduates will raise the bar in the industry.

Equally anticipated is the opening of the new International Masonry Institution (IMI) training facility (see pg. 54). The flagship training center, located in Bowie, Md., will be completed sometime in fall 2006. Two buildings, totaling 106,000-square-feet, will provide classrooms, design studios, recreation facilities, a cafeteria, meeting rooms and dormitory rooms for 108 students, as well as offices for faculty and staff. The IMI provides masonry training for all levels of craftworkers, from pre-job apprentices to journeymen and instructors, and the new facilities will enable them to offer even more specialized training.

Like these leaders in masonry education and training, you can make a difference, too! The Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) is gearing up for Career Days across the country, and they need your help. There is no better way to recruit the future workforce of masonry than through these one-on-one presentations by industry experts.

If you are interested in visiting a local school, or if you know of a school in your area that would benefit from a visit with a masonry industry expert, please call Melissa Polivka, MCAA's Director of Workforce Development, at (800) 536-2225.



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