April 2010: Making the Grade


Making the Grade

James Lux could easily be the “poster boy” for the value of technical training.

“James Lux will go down in the history of my class as the best, most motivated and determined student I have ever taught,” says Gary Siler, Lux’s masonry instructor at Harford Tech. “James gave me an excitement about teaching that has never left me. He was the type of student that you could show one time how to do something, then he practiced it and quickly mastered it.”

Lux has an equal respect for his teacher. “I learned 99 percent of what I needed to know for my first five years on-the-job from my masonry instructor at Harford Tech,” he says. “He has his graduates well prepared. If it weren’t for my technical training, I wouldn’t be where I am.”

Lux advanced to a regional contest at the end of his junior year. As a high school senior in 1995, Lux was the first of Siler’s students to advance to the national competition, at that time held in conjunction with the Vocational Industrial Clubs of America (VICA) National Leadership and Skills Conference in Kansas City, where he placed fifth.  

By the time he was competing in the regional contest during his senior year, Lux received three job offers from judges adjudicating the contest. He sought his instructor’s advice and signed-on with Whitehall Masonry, where he spent five years laying block and brick.

Working early, staying late, Lux was discovered on the job by Florida Rock Companies. FRC hired as a general contractor.

“I feel really lucky,” says Lux. “Most general contractors come from the carpentry trade. As carpenters, they work with more different trades than most. I was lucky, too, that FRC was willing to train me for that position.”

After another five years working for FRC, he was hired as a superintendent for Manekin Construction Co., a general contractor out of Columbia, Md.
The VP of construction at Manekin, Dan Sharpe, thinks highly of Lux. “James is a great employee,” he says. “He’s a knowledgeable and a hard worker. He gets along great with our subs and provides good customer service. We can always count on him.”

Lux says the future of construction is getting more technical. “When I started, it was still a lot of hammerin’, sawin’, runnin’ wire and slingin’ mud,” he says. “It’s much more than that now.”

Lux seems a long way from his masonry roots, but that is not so. “I lay block and brick whenever I can,” he says. “It must be in my blood.”

Lux currently serves as a craft committee member at his alma mater, Harford Technical School in Bel Air, Md.

Return to Table of Contents

Related Posts

  • 44
    August 2015 As a skilled labor shortage in the masonry industry continues to frustrate, we are reminded in this article of why the masonry trade is such a viable option for young people today. Masonry is an indispensable trade. Without working masons to construct important new buildings and perform needed…
    Tags: masonry
  • 41
    Table of Contents September 2010 Volume 49, Number 9 FEATURES MCAA Mid-Year Meeting Report Updating you on the MCAA’s efforts, goals and missions through a report on the annual Mid-Year Meeting, which took place in Chicago in July. Mast Climbers A look at how companies are coping with current mast…
    Tags: masonry
  • 40
    December 2015 Will You Accept the Call to Serve? By Melonie Leslie I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t a part of the masonry industry. I have participated and contributed at many levels for our local and national associations. But, I had never ventured to Washington, D.C., to try…
    Tags: masonry
  • 39
    Archives - 2007 and 2006 2007December- Mortar for an Industry: The Natural Stone Council- Reinforcing an Industry: Anchors, Fasteners and Connectors- Benefits of Masonry Industry Software November- Green Building- Keep Small Tools in Top Condition- Architectural Precast Concrete Versus Cast Stone- Industry Captains October- Burning Opportunities- New Standards of Protection-…
    Tags: masonry, training
  • 38
    September 2012 Business Management What It Takes Interview by Jennifer Morrell The best way to learn what it takes to keep a masonry construction business in the black is to go straight to the sources. Masonry consulted three of our industry’s best, each with a unique perspective on successfully managing…
    Tags: masonry


Zachary Zuldema 1st Place (2nd Year) Winner Interview at the World of Concrete

Zachary Zuldema 1st Place (2nd Year) Winner Interview at the World of Concrete

Bill Dentinger 2015 Inductee MCAA Hall of Fame

Bill Dentinger 2015 Inductee MCAA Hall of Fame

John Smith, Jr.

John Smith, Jr. receives the 2015 MCAA C. DeWitt Brown Leadman Award

2015 MCAA Fastest Trowel On The Block Winner

2015 MCAA Fastest Trowel On The Block Winner

Daniel Furr 1st Place Winner

Daniel Furr 1st Place Winner (First Year), Masonry Skills Challenge

Synpro Products

Masonry Magazine Video News Interview: Michael Goyne

Hydro Mobile Inc

Interview with Kevin O'Shea of Hydro Mobile, Inc.

Interview with Mark Kemp – Chairman, MCAA

Interview with Masonry Contractors Association of America Chairman, Mark Kemp

Mortar Net Solutions

Interview with Steve Fechino from Mortar Net Solutions

Pullman Ermator

Interview with Lyndon Kelsey of Pullman Ermator

Keene Building Products

Interview with Jim O'Neill of Keene Building Products