March 2010: Making the Grade


Making the Grade

You wouldn’t expect a first-year mason to have completed both a tour with the United States Peace Corps and a master’s degree. But 30-year-old Craig Nabors, a 30-year-old recent graduate of Meridian Technology Center in Stillwater, Okla., is a determined individual.

“Craig is an outstanding young man with a high degree of integrity,” said his masonry instructor of 27 years, Bret Pickens, at the time of Nabors’ technical school graduation in May 2009. “He has the ambition to own his own business.”

And, with time out in June 2009 to compete in the SkillsUSA national masonry contest as the post-secondary representative from Oklahoma, that is just what Nabors has been doing.

Ironically, it was during his Peace Corps service in Azerbaijan that Nabors discovered his passion.

In 2003 Nabors began working on a master’s degree in international studies at Oklahoma State University, where he could apply Peace Corps service toward his degree requirements. In summer 2004, Nabors and his wife left to serve the Peace Corps by teaching English in the public schools and training teachers in interactive teaching methodologies. They returned in 2006, so that Nabors could complete his degree. Shortly thereafter, he made the decision to establish his own home-improvement business, later concentrating on masonry construction, repair and renovation.

“While in Azerbaijan, I wrote a grant that enabled us to renovate one of the school’s classrooms,” says Nabors. “While supervising the project and working with tradesmen, I realized how much I enjoyed that type of work. I remembered working on cars with my Dad and how much I enjoyed working with my hands. I decided I did not want to be stuck in an office job.

“For now, the size of my business is just right,” Nabors continues. “It allows me enough flexibility to spend time with my wife and two young children, but, ultimately, I’d like to grow the business and specialize in historic restorations.”

Nabors has talked to other masons who have had a hard time finding enough work for their crews in the current economy. “Fortunately for me, my one-man operation hasn’t hindered me in finding projects that are the perfect size for me,” he says. “Recently, for example, I’ve completed a split-face block foundation, constructed a wall as part of a building restoration project and veneered ticket booths along with several tuck pointing and repair projects.”

He’s growing his business as he can, increasing his inventory of equipment. He recently purchased a mortar mixer and trailer that allow him to carry sand from jobsite to jobsite, minimizing waste and clean-up time.

Nabors credits his father and his instructor, Bret Pickens, as the two biggest influences to him pursuing a masonry career.

Return to Table of Contents

Related Posts

  • 42
    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, business
  • 39
    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, time
  • 34
    February 2016 Regional Update Strength and Growth in the NCMCA Metrolina Chapter By Brandon Hartsell Based in Charlotte, N.C., the Metrolina Chapter is fortunate to have a number of the nation’s largest mason contractors and suppliers in its chapter. Although the quantity of contractors and suppliers is a major factor…
    Tags: masonry, mason
  • 33
    October 2015 Seeing the Future Before our Eyes Mark Kemp Chairman Mason Contractors Association of America I am writing this newsletter on my way home from attending the ICE meetings in D.C., and then going to Baltimore to attend the BAC National Apprenticeship contest. It is always good to…
    Tags: masonry, time
  • 31
    February 2016 By Jeff Buczkiewicz, President, MCAA After a very prolonged recession that some have referred to as the Great Recession, the construction industry, in general, has had to deal with a different issue: not having enough well-qualified tradesmen to complete all the work they would like to bid on.…
    Tags: masonry


S26 HEPA Dust Extractor From Pullman Ermator

Ermator HEPA Dust Extractors are equipped with tested and certified HEPA filters that trap the smallest, most dangerous-to-breath dust particles and prevents them from being released in the air. A HEPA Dust Extractor not only exhausts perfectly clean air, it is far more efficient for the fast recovery of bulk dry dust, debris and other building materials found on every Construction, Abatement and Restoration job site.

Drilling and Chiseling Hammer Demonstration | CS Unitec

CS Unitec Drilling and Chiseling Hammer type 2 2414 0010 demonstration. For more information on the tools, drills and other products seen in this video, please visit:

PumpMaster | Masonry Grout Pump for Core Filling | Block Fill | Masonry Wall Grouting

The AIRPLACO PumpMaster PG-30 is shown on a jobsite in Nashville, TN with Masonry Contractor WASCO, Inc. ...