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March 2014: From the Editor

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March 2014

From the Editor

Investing in our Future

Jennifer Morrell

The MCAA, Skills USA, and many other organizations are digging in deep to assure the masonry industry will be stocked with skilled, talented mason contractors. I hear it from contractors over and over: There’s just not enough skilled labor out there to cover the jobs. Companies have identified lots of opportunities for work, but are having a hard time finding qualified hands to hold the trowels.

During various events at World of Concrete/World of Masonry – in combination with Masonry Madness Day – I saw evidence of an enthusiastic young crowd of masons – good masons. Precision and attention to detail were evident during the MCAA’s Masonry Skills Challenge competition.

Jennifer Morrell places an EnduraMax High Performance Wall System brick
Jennifer Morrell places an EnduraMax High Performance Wall System brick during World of Concrete/World of Masonry. Oldcastle hosted the Build for Charity event, which featured installing the bricks as a fundraiser for SkillsUSA.

As for the masons who have been around a little longer, they were able to showcase their skills and abilities during both the MCAA Fastest Trowel on the Block competition (see MCAA Convention coverage on pp. 14-17), and the SpecMix BRICKLAYER 500 competition (see our April 2014 issue of Masonry for more on this event).

On a very sad note, we lost one of our prized masons, Kris Belinte Chee, on Feb. 16, 2014. Kris graduated from the AMCA Apprenticeship Program in 2001 and, since that time, regularly volunteered his Saturdays to work with apprentices and assisted with various apprenticeship community service projects throughout the years. He was a regular competitor in masonry competitions, including the Arizona’s Fastest Trowel on the Block competition and the SpecMix BRICKLAYER 500. Kris represented Arizona many times on the winners’ podium during the MCAA Fastest Trowel on the Block Competition, held during the World of Concrete/World of Masonry Convention, including:
2014 – 2nd Place
2012 – 3rd Place
2011 – 1st Place
2010 – 1st Place
2009 – 3rd Place

Our thoughts and prayers are with the Belinte Chee family during this difficult time. He is gone, but not forgotten, in our tightly knit masonry community.

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