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

  • 54
    Masonry magazine has appointed Karen D. Hickey as Editor, effective January 29, 2016, taking the place of Jennifer Morrell, who served as Editor of the publication for more than eight years.
    Tags: editor, masonry, technology, college
  • 49
    Advances in technology are self-perpetuating — conducting research and development inevitably leads to discoveries that propel innovation forward. CarbonCure Technologies is no stranger to this cycle. The company’s technology started when their CEO, Robert Niven, began researching the chemical reaction between carbon dioxide (CO2), cement and water while earning his…
    Tags: technology, masonry
  • 41
    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 bid.
    Tags: program, masonry, school, state
  • 41
    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. Masonry is not an exception to this.…
    Tags: masonry, program
  • 40
    A funny thing happened on the way to a sustainable built environment.
    Tags: masonry, building