For 2018, the Mason Contractors Association of America honored five new inductees into the Masonry Hall of Fame. On January 25th during the MCAA annual convention at the World of Concrete, the newest members of the Hall of Fame were honored at Fogo de Chão in Las Vegas during the closing dinner.
This year, Mario Catani, Damian Lang, Mackie Bounds, Curtis Hoover, and the late Justin Breithaupt joined the esteemed group of masonry professionals previously inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Nominated By: David Biggs, PE, SE; Biggs Consulting Engineering
His Nomination: Mario Catani’s career can be described as masonry, masonry and masonry; that’s masonry design, masonry codes and masonry products. For example because of him, thousands of engineers, architects and contractors called joint reinforcement “Dur-O-Wal” for decades. That illustrates his influence on the masonry industry, but I submit that there was much more that many industry people don’t know. In the 1960s, there were no national masonry standards. NCMA published its first Concrete Masonry Design Manual in 1969. The manual was essentially a guide to designing unreinforced masonry. Mario’s career started out as an engineer and in 1968, he was one of the first two consulting engineers in New Jersey to design a multi-story apartment building using the engineered concrete masonry design manual even before it was published. He was a masonry guy from the beginning! That design put him at the forefront of masonry standards and affected his entire career.
His design experience took him to the Portland Cement Association (PCA) in 1969 to promote Load Bearing Masonry and to advise engineers on the use of the NCMA Design Manual. Engineers needed guidance; few had been exposed to masonry design in college and there were no national standards. The Design Manual was a great start but it was not code. Having Mario, a knowledgeable design engineer, as a technical advisor was crucial to developing numerous projects.
In 1971, Mario joined Akron Brick and Block Company in Ohio as its Vice President. Here his advocacy for masonry design increased and his talents turned to actually developing masonry standards. At that time, the American Concrete Institute was the only organization contemplating developing a consensus standard for engineered concrete masonry and Mario was there to join ACI 531. In 1974, he returned to PCA to lead the cement industry in building promotion with a strong emphasis on load bearing masonry design and construction; and he continued his code development with ACI. That code effort led to their first ACI document published titled ACI 531-79, Building Code Requirements for Concrete Masonry Structures. This was a major achievement, but it still was only for concrete masonry. A major career move for Mario occurred in 1981. He joined the Dur-O-Wal company and became President and CEO. During his tenure, he produced six masonry patents for anchors and joint reinforcement, pushed the industry forward, and made Dur-O-Wal the gold standard for masonry products. Dur-O-Wal was known for quality products and innovation. We didn’t know Catani, but we knew Dur-O-Wal.
Mario understood the importance of strong codes and standards for the industry and accepted the first-ever chair position for the Joint American Concrete Institute, American Society of Civil Engineers Committee 530. This was the origination of what became the Masonry Standards Joint Committee (MSJC), which was created with the addition of The Masonry Society. Under his steady leadership and commonsense approach, the joint committee produced the first consensus-based, engineered masonry design standard ACI 530-88/ASCE 5-88, Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures. The first design standard was groundbreaking because it consolidated the masonry design for concrete masonry and clay masonry in one document using engineered masonry principles, empirical design and more.
This was a pivotal time in the development of masonry codes in the US because earthquake standards were forcing the industry to move to reinforced masonry. Therefore, for the first time, the standard included engineering provisions for both unreinforced and reinforced masonry in one standard along with seismic provisions. It became accepted as the masonry standard in building codes and evolved into the standard we know today as TMS 402, Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures and Mario was our leader. Simultaneously, Mario was tasked as Chair to develop ACI 530.1-88/ASCE 6-88, Specifications for Masonry Structures. I remember many times when he would question a proposed change with statements such as “is this practical, can it be built, should we do this?”
Mario was always thinking of the contractor and constructability, and challenged the committee to keep it real. This was consistent with his approach to running Dur-O-Wal where he innovated numerous products to meet the code requirements and make construction practical. The first Specifications were the first to bring together grouting, hot weather and cold weather practices, and more into one document. The specification document has lived on and is now TMS 602, Specifications for Masonry Structures. In addition to being MSJC committee chair, he used the resources of Dur-O-Wal to work with the committee to present countless seminars throughout the US to train engineers on the application of the new standards. It wasn’t enough to create standards, they had to be explained to designers and contractors. He also published numerous articles throughout his career.
Mario’s leadership was so valued by the masonry industry that he subsequently was asked by the Mason Contractors of America (MCAA), National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA), BIA and OSHA to chair the development of the industry’s standard for bracing masonry walls. This was a crucial issue for the masonry industry because OSHA threatened to create its own standard without masonry input if the masonry industry could not come together on a practical approach to masonry bracing that made life safety the key ingredient. In the end, OSHA approved the committee’s work. That document has been updated a few times and is published by MCAA. So today, every set of project specifications references Standard Practice for Bracing Masonry Walls During Construction thanks to Mario’s initial leadership.
So for all those that worked with Mario over the years, we experienced his commonsense approach to leadership, masonry code development, education of designers, improved materials and methods for mason contractors, and product development. While he retired to Tennessee in 1999, he left a legacy of masonry successes and I am pleased to nominate him for the honor of joining the esteemed members of the MCAA Hall of Fame.
From His Plaque: Career started as an engineer. Led effort to publish ACI 531-79, Building Code Requirement for Concrete Masonry Structures. Produced six masonry patents for anchors and joint reinforcement during tenure at Dur-O-Wal. Led effort to produce the first consensus-based, engineered masonry design standard ACI 530-88/ASCE 5-88, Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures.
Leader in evolving the masonry standard in building codes into TMS 402, Building Code Requirements for Masonry Structures. Tasked as Chair to develop ACI 530.1-88/ASCE 6-88, Specifications for Masonry Structures. Served as MSJC committee chair; chair for the Joint American Concrete Institute, ASCE Committee 530; and chair in development of the wall bracing standard. Retired in 1999.
Nominated By: Becky Hendershot, Lang Masonry & Restoration Contractors
His Nomination: Damian grew up in the small rural community of Waterford, OH. He resides there today, close to his childhood home. Not only is he a great contributor to the masonry industry, he has an undying dedication to his workforce, family, and community. His impact on the local economic development is immeasurable. He began as a laborer, mixing and carrying mortar to the bricklayers.
In 1984, after borrowing $800 to buy his first pickup truck, he started his own masonry company focusing on residential basements and brick houses. In the early days, he used 55 gallon drums for scaffolding and pine boards for scaffolding plank. After years of experience in owning and operating a successful business within the masonry industry, Damian drew on this jobsite experience to create Grout Hog® and Mud Hog® products which are now being used by masons throughout the United States and around the world. EZ Grout Corporation was founded in 1998 as a sister company to LMC to provide ergonomic and laborsaving equipment to the masonry industry. These products have literally transformed the masonry industry in how mortar is mixed and grout is delivered into block walls. Damian has also provided insight, products, and education on wall bracing systems in contributing to the standards and developing the Hog Leg® products.
From the inception of his first company, Lang Masonry & Restoration Contractors, safety, quality and customer service has been the founding strength of his success. Damian paves the way for the masonry industry by constantly staying in tune with current issues in the industry and being at the front of solving problems not only for his company leaders and workforce, but all masonry companies who need advice on day-to-day operations. He has contributed to MASONRY Magazine for a number of years in writing a Contractor Tip of the Month article that reaches thousands of readers. Today, Lang Masonry & Restoration Contractors is a multi-million dollar company.
Beyond his mechanical innovations, Lang realized early on in his career that the greatest resource in his masonry business was the workforce. He set out to develop a program that would motivate his employees without sacrificing safety, quality, and production. Damian has written a book, Rewarding and Challenging Employees: For Profit in Masonry, published in 2003, which serves as a model and guide for other businesses. Without a doubt, he is a true industry leader.
Damian is an active member of MCAA, AGC, ABC, Ohio Masonry Association, BX of Central Ohio and other local organizations in Washington County, OH. He is a true advocate for constant professional development and enjoys participating in several peer groups and Vistage. He enjoys golfing and hunting excursions with family, colleagues, and customers alike.
From His Plaque: Began his career as a laborer. Started Lang Masonry Contractors, Inc. in 1984. Drew on his jobsite experience to create Grout Hog® and Mud Hog® products. Founded EZ Grout Corporation in 1998. Provided insight, products and education on wall bracing systems in contributing to the standards.
Has contributed to industry publications for a number of years in writing a “Contractor Tip of the Month” article. Wrote “Rewarding and Challenging Employees: For Profit in Masonry,” published in 2003. An Active member of MCAA, AGC, ABC, Ohio Masonry Association, BX of Central Ohio and other local organizations. A true advocate for professional development and the masonry industry.
Nominated By: Pete Groetzinger, Brazos Masonry
His Nomination: Mr. Bounds joined MCAA in March of 1989. The 2018 World of Concrete will make 30 straight conventions for him.
He started in the industry at the age of 16 as a laborer in Bloomington, IN. It was his summertime job, but a seed was planted. Upon graduation, he worked for a short period of time in his family’s retail carpet business, but the masonry world was in his blood.
He and his wife moved to Texas in 1980, and he went to work immediately in the construction industry. He soon went to work for Al Brown Masonry and continued there until opening his own business March 21, 1989, which was also his birthday. He always said he was young and dumb, but we all know he had a vision! His first step was to join MCAA. He believed in supporting the industry and being a part of it. His first convention was 1988, when at Al Brown Masonry and he saw then the importance of his membership.
Mackie and wife, Norma Jean, are blessed with two children, son Kent and daughter Crystal. They saw the determination and drive and stood with him and behind him as he pursued his dream. Kent will tell you that his $.50 weekly allowance even came to an end. Mackie became the membership chairman of MCAA and always thought every mason contractor in the country should be a member. His goal was 1200 members, but before he could do that in 1997 he became a regional Vice President of MCAA.
Back at home, he put mason contractors together with the help of suppliers and in 1995 started the Central Texas Mason Contractors Association and he became its first President. He also served many years on the board of directors of the Associated Masonry Contractors of Texas (later became Texas Masonry Council). He was also Legislative Chairman of the association. As regional Vice President of MCAA, he made the motion to change the Leadman Award to the Dee Brown Leadman Award. Mr. Brown always addressed Mackie as “the kid,” and it was his privilege to show the world his respect for Dee Brown. It wasn’t long and he was nominated to be MCAA Treasurer and started his climb to the President of MCAA.
Back at home he was working with other trades and was helping put together a legislative voice for all subcontractors in Texas. It was soon formed as the Texas Construction Association. He spent hours at the Capitol in Austin and was instrumental in passage of the Prompt Pay Act in Texas and also getting laws passed that protects subs on “Contingency Pay clauses and Indemnity clauses.” Now the Texas Construction Association has a multimillion-dollar budget and has become the strongest voice at the Capital when it comes to Construction Law. He also served five years as Chairman of the Texas Subcontractors Association and while Chairman, the association was given the Hammer Award as the fastest growing chapter of the American Subcontractors Association.
At MCAA, many changes took place as he was coming up the ladder as Secretary and Vice President. Mackie and Norma Jean still treasure all the many friendships that have been established in the industry at home, in the state and nationally. When Mackie became President, the national economy was at a low and MCAA was very low on funds. He rolled up his sleeves and started a journey. He worked feverishly to bring a fragmented trade together. He met with all industry associations and had open dialog. The first Mid-Year meeting of his term was held with NCMA Mid-Year.
He formed an alliance by traveling over 60,000 miles in his two years bringing people together in a tough time. He opened discussions with NCCER to help address manpower issues. He traveled to Washington, D.C., meeting with Congressmen and Senators addressing the use of masonry in government buildings, and went to the Pentagon with the help of his congressmen to promote sustainable construction for our soldiers. He kicked off the 2020 Vision plan to have more masonry used nationwide by the year 2020. He established active committees that worked on behalf of the industry, and specifically the MCAA. He knew the future was important and started the South 40 Committee and had four committee chairs under the age of 40. He also recognized pride was needed back in our industry. He, with the help of others, established the Masonry Hall of Fame. He was so proud to induct Dee Brown in the very first class! He felt, once again “the kid” had come through.
Mackie has always loved his community. He is a Paul Harris Rotarian and was very active in many associations. He served as President of Axtell FFA Ag Booster Club, was awarded a Lone Star FFA Degree by the Texas FFA officers, served as Chairman of the McLennan County Jr. Livestock Show & Sale, served as Chairman of the Board of the Heart of Texas Fair Complex, which impacted the local economy $60 million per year. The list goes on. He has helped raise millions of dollars for youth scholarships throughout Texas. He also loves his cattle and ranch, and served many years on the Beefmaster Board of Directors and as Chairman of the Board for two years. He finds rest looking at cattle and enjoying a part of God’s creation.
As he left MCAA with the help of Tom Daniels, they brought a vision to reality, The Masonry Foundation. He simply wanted masonry to be there for years and years, but also at the top of the construction industry.
The things that mean most to him have nothing to do with work. His wife of 39+ years, his two children and their spouses, and his three grandchildren. His foundation is in his God as he reads his Bible every day and prays many times each day. The Church has always come first even when it meant less time for himself. He now looks forward in helping others to be happy and enjoy life.
From His Plaque: Started in the industry at the age of 16 as a laborer. Moved to Texas in 1980 and worked for Al Brown Masonry until opening Brazos Masonry, Inc. on March 21, 1989. Served as MCAA Membership Chairman, MCAA Region F Vice President, MCAA Treasurer, MCAA Secretary, MCAA Vice Chairman, MCAA Chairman, founder and first President of the Central Texas Mason Contractors Association, and Legislative Chairman and Board of Directors for the Associated Masonry Contractors of Texas.
Formed the Texas Construction Association and served as Chairman. Established Vision 2020 campaign, MCAA South of 40 Committee, and Masonry Hall of Fame. Helped create The Masonry Foundation and served as secretary. Awarded C. Dewitt Brown Leadman Award in 2013.
His Nomination: I started my career back in 1974, while still in high school. A new Vo-Tech center was opening called North Arundel Vo-Tech. This was just a technical school, which would be near the seven high schools in the north end of Anne Arundel County. I did not choose the Masonry program. Instead I signed up for the Home Improvement program. The related class for this program was Masonry, a fact I did not know until second semester. After taking Masonry that semester, I knew what I wanted to pursue for my career. I fell in love with the class as it seemed to be natural for me.
We were introduced to VICA (Vocational Industrial Clubs of America) known today as SkillsUSA. My first full year, I competed in the state VICA Masonry Competition and placed fourth. My senior year I placed second and won a Silver Medal. This was the first medal ever won for our school. My dad had it placed in a frame, which I currently display for all my students in hopes of encouraging them to do their best. I want them to know that they can accomplish anything if they work hard and put their minds to it. I started doing little masonry jobs while still in school, and was amazed by what kind of money one could make. I built my first fireplace at the age of 16, and was paid $400.00 which helped me purchase a car.
I officially started my career going out on work study my senior year for R.L. Walker and Sons, which was a residential masonry contractor. Most of the work was bricking up the front of houses, foundations and fireplaces. I worked for R.L. Walker for one and a half years. I always remained in contact with my Masonry instructor. One day, we were talking when I mentioned I wanted to get with a company that had benefits. His brother was a foremen for Henry J. Knott Inc., which was one of the largest union mason contractors in the Baltimore area. They hired me in 1978. I started working as a bricklayer, and then in 1982 I began as a foreman at the age of 25.
Soon after, the company began to grow and they were looking for an Assistant Superintendent, a job which included training new foreman from within the company. The task included blueprint reading classes, safety meetings, documentation of the jobs, and many other tasks which were involved in running a project. It also involved running our yard, which included all of our equipment needs, clean-up of jobs, etc. I loved that job, but the economy in the first part of the 90’s was on a downward trend, which hurt us. I ended up going back in the field as a foreman.
In the summer of 1993, I was building the Lowes store in Salisbury, Maryland, when I received a phone call from my masonry teacher, telling me that the Masonry Instructor position was open at our old school. I applied, did two interviews, one of which was with my former principal. I was selected out of 8 other candidates.
The toughest thing about taking the position was telling Henry J. Knott Ill that I was leaving his company. He said he understood and wished me the best of luck and if it didn’t work out, I was always welcome to come back. We are still very good friends today, and I try to send him some of my students whenever I can. After taking the position, I attended my first Masonry Showcase in Charlotte, North Carolina in 1995. That was very impressive and I knew I had to get involved. I received a phone call from a young lady about judging the Masonry Skills Challenge in Tampa, Florida. It was a great honor to be asked to judge.
This is when I met some great gentlemen, who were also masonry instructors. Mr. Milton Young & Mr. Eugene Johnson were talking about the National Masonry Instructors Association and suggested I should join. I did. This organization is more like family than just peers. I have had the privilege serving as President of the National Masonry Instructors Association for 5 years, and am now Treasurer. I will always be the NMIA spokesperson.
I have spent my entire life both as a teen and as a adult, in this great field and will continue as long as the good Lord allows me to. My words to other instructors have ways been “get involved” in whatever organization that can help you and your students be successful. There are no words or money that can put a price on watching a student succeed in industry and I am lucky enough to have had many. They all seem like they are my own kids today, because I still follow their successes.
From His Plaque: Started career while still in high school in 1974. Instructor since 1993, providing instruction and evaluation for 40-60 students annually. NCCER Certified Instructor. Host of Maryland SkillsUSA Masonry Competitions since 2002. Judge of National SkillsUSA Masonry Competitions since 2010 and MCAA’s Masonry Skills Challenge since 2003.
Served as President and Treasurer of the National Masonry Instructors Association; President of the Masonry Instructors Association of PA & MD; MCAA Workforce Development Committee member; teacher liaison for the Masonry Institute of MD, VA, and D.C.; active member of the Mid-Atlantic Masonry Association; Maryland SkillsUSA Advisor since 1993, Maryland Board of Directors since 2015, and Co-Chairman from 2017-2018.
Nominated By: Bill Dentinger
His Nomination: I would like to nominate Justin Breithaupt Sr. as a nominee for the Masonry Hall of Fame. These days, most folks will recognize Justin as the founder and developer of Non-Stop Scaffolding. No surprise there, as both the product and company have been very successful.
But I first met Justin long before that scaffolding was developed. Back then, he was a successful mason contractor, and we were both active in the Mason Contractors Association of America. To me, Justin was a fooler. With a German name like Breithaupt, he sure could have come from my city, Milwaukee, or even Saint Louis. But his self-described North Louisiana accent and style sure would not have fit. Like I said, he was a fooler. Justin was bright, and sharp as a tack. He was totally dedicated to masonry, and he was obsessed with making it more efficient.
Back in those days, self-elevating scaffolding was not unheard of. But the main tower scaffolding product available back then had issues. It swayed in the breeze. Bricklayers needed ‘sea legs’ to work on it. Some would not work on it. Justin’s alternative was well thought out, simple, and far more stable. How good was it? Well, the existing tower product it replaced is no more. And look how many companies are making and selling scaffolding that is nothing but a “badge change copy” of Justin’s product. Well, they say such competitive copies are in fact the strongest form of compliment. Self-elevating scaffolding was not the only innovation Justin tinkered with. He was also coming up with new ideas like variations on ‘speed pole’ lead systems, hand tool upgrades, and so on. In his early Non-Stop days, he would call on mason contractors to sell his scaffolding, and he always had some new masonry gimmick along with him. In that North Louisiana accent, he would look you in the eye and say, “Here! Give this little thing a try.” I think Justin Breithaupt Sr. has left his fingerprints on the industry, and he certainly deserves to be considered as a nominee for the Masonry Hall of Fame.
From His Plaque: Born into a family of masons. Started his own masonry company after college in 1954 at the age of 24. Got fed up with scaffolding choices and invented his own. Founder and developer of Non-Stop Scaffolding in 1975. Totally dedicated to masonry, and obsessed with making it more efficient. Innovator of self-elevating scaffolding, ‘speed pole’ lead systems, hand tool upgrades, and more. Active member of the Mason Contractors Association of America since the 1960s. Left his fingerprints on the masonry industry.
Photos: Bruce Starrenburg