September 2013: From the Editor


From the Editor

The Human Factor

Jennifer Morrell

I recently was copied on an email from an Alfred State College (Wellsville, N.Y.) professor to a group of masonry industry professionals. The professor, Stephen B. Richard, teaches masonry building trades at the college’s School of Applied Technology. The email served as a letter of thanks for all that the recipients did to assist in the masonry program.

My first thought, upon reading the email, was that the project turned out nicely, and it was wonderful to see a masonry program alive and well at this college. But after reading it again, my thoughts ran much deeper. I took a look at the email addresses of the recipients. Everyone from architects to suppliers was included – each one of them having clearly made a difference. The email went to dozens of people. It was remarkably heartwarming.

And then, something else stood out in his letter: the reference to masons as “the human factor.” You know, he’s right. The materials are fool proof. You masons make the ultimate difference as perfectionists at an age-old, time-tested craft that still is very much needed today.

I encourage you to extend your hand and your resources to masonry education and educators nationwide. And, when you do, let me know about it by emailing me at Professor Richard’s letter is below.

Hello to all,

Installation human factor weakest component masonry systems Brick, CMUs, stone properly specified mortarFirst, I want to thank all of you for the many contributions you have made to our quality masonry education here at Alfred State College. You have donated materials, brought seminars to our campus, hosted visits, provided consulting, judged skill competitions, and funded educational opportunities for the students, Mr. Zver and me.

We are not engineers. We are not architects.

We are installation experts. Installation – the human factor – is the weakest component in masonry systems. Brick, CMUs, stone and properly specified mortar always are predictable and perform well.

With your help, we are able to keep abreast with the best practices for masonry construction and pass them on to students. I am happy to say we still are experiencing full enrollment in our program. It is satisfying to see young people who want to work hard with their hands and minds.

Masonry construction is the original sustainable and green system. It is resilient!

Thanks again,
Stephen B. Richard
Associate Professor, Masonry Building Trades
ASC School of Applied Technology

Return to Table of Contents

Related Posts

  • 41
    August 2013 Workforce Development Rebuilding Our Future By Jeff Buczkiewicz There seems to be good news on the horizon. There are pockets of our economy that are seeing a nice rebound. Areas that have not seen a terrific rebound commercially have seen an increase in the amount of work to…
    Tags: program, masonry, school, state
  • 40
    January 2010 Block The Sustainability of Block The National Concrete Masonry Association reports on how making the case for the sustainability of masonry is getting a little easier. By Robert Thomas A funny thing happened on the way to a sustainable built environment. While the visionaries for a more environmentally…
    Tags: masonry, building
  • 39
    October 2015 Technology Advances of Robotics in Masonry By Scott Peters Robotics and automation have gone through a few periods of rapid growth and expansion. We are in one of those periods now. There are many different types of robots out there, everything from industrial robots, such as those used…
    Tags: masonry, technology
  • 37
    February 2013 Brick and Block Investing in Ourselves Shown is Major Ogilvie (center) introducing Sen. Bill Nelson (right) to Charles Newsome with Johnson Concrete Co. on The Hill in 2012. A joint effort between the MCAA and the NCMA will result in more research, increased education and much-needed promotion. By…
    Tags: masonry, program
  • 37
    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


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