Words: Lynn Nash

North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association (NCMCA) President Bob Gates has announced that award-winning former high school masonry instructor Ryan Shaver will join NCMCA on March 1, 2018 to fill the newly created position of Workforce Development & Training Coordinator (WDTC).

Ryan Shaver clearly stood out to the committee as someone extraordinarily qualified to take on the new position. Ryan was a national masonry champion (1993) as a student of award-winning instructor Doug Drye at Mount Pleasant High School in Cabarrus County, North Carolina.  He was a successful young journeyman mason at McGee Brothers Company and later managed his own masonry company.  He was drawn to teaching and proved to be very successful in attracting and training young folks for masonry careers at Mount Pleasant High School.  During his teaching career, he produced state and national masonry champions. He was Mount Pleasant High School Teacher-of-the-Year and a finalist for Cabarrus County Teacher-of-the-Year in 2014.

Most recently, Ryan has gained invaluable experience working with Johnson Concrete Products/Carolina Stalite promoting and demonstrating patented new masonry products across the entire nation.  Ryan chaired and coordinated Masonry Education Day for the last two years at Gold Hill, which included the Carolina qualifier for Mason Contractors Association of America “Fastest Trowel on the block” competition this past November.  More than 400 students participated.

Ryan says, “It is with great excitement and pleasure to be considered for and offered the position of Workforce Development and Training Coordinator for the NCMCA! I have spent my entire career in the masonry industry and have been on all sides from a mason to education to product development.  I have a huge passion for promoting the masonry industry and for helping introduce young people to the opportunity that they can have in the industry that has made me who I am today.  I am looking forward to working beside each and every one of you and helping grow our workforce and keeping the masonry industry at the forefront of all the trades. The NCMCA has been a leader nationwide and this is yet another example of how we, North Carolina, are taking the necessary steps to insure our future.  Thank you for giving me this opportunity.”

The NCMCA Board of Directors appointed a committee, chaired by President-Elect Kent Huntley to define and fill the WDTC position.  Serving on the committee with Huntley are NCMCA Past Presidents Doug Burton, Calvin Brodie, and Gary Joyner, along with Past-President and present NCMCA Secretary-Treasurer Danks Burton.  Also serving are NCMCA President Bob Gates, NCMCA Executive Vice President Lynn Nash, Greg Huntley and Cliff McGee.

Clem Hellmann Leadership Award Presented to Mike Sutter

On February 24, 2018, Arizona Masonry Contractors Association presented the first recipient of the Clem Hellmann Leadership Award. This award recognizes an individual who has made significant contributions to the masonry community through leadership of, and/or involvement initiatives that have resulted in industry-wide impact and is representative of the highest level of leadership and involvement.

The presentation was made by Clem’s daughter, Jennifer Freiland, President of Quality Block Co.

An excerpt from the presentation:

In 1991, Mike and his wife Colleen opened Sutter Masonry. Like my father, Mike lives the “Givers Gain” philosophy in both his personal and professional life. Mike’s greatest gift to the industry is the investment of his time and service to our state and national masonry associations.

Mike has been a member of the Arizona Masonry Contractors Association since 1994 and a board member since 1995. He has served as President, Vice President, Treasurer and Apprenticeship Committee Chair. In fact, he played a pivotal role in getting the apprenticeship program up and running in Arizona.

As many of you know, Mike is very passionate about workforce development for the industry. In 2017, Mike’s passion for recruiting our next generation of mason led him to form a partnership with the Construction Trades Program at West-MEC’s Verrado Campus. In typical Sutter style, Mike offered to provide an experienced mason to work with students during the masonry unit only if the school was willing to increase the length of the unit from 2 weeks to 8 weeks.

The school agreed. Mike Gray from Sutter Masonry along with Mike Sutter spent most of August and September of 2017 working with the 1st and 2nd year construction students. Sutter Masonry’s investment of time in that program has paid off greatly. In the October 2017 Masonry Skills, Mike’s West-MEC students swept the competition taking 9 of the 10 top spots in the high school division.

Sutter Masonry also sponsored the top 3 West-MEC students and their instructor to attend the Masonry Madness Day during the World of Concrete/World of Masonry Convention in Las Vegas last month. In addition, 6 of the students applied for and were accepted into AMCA’s Central Masonry Apprenticeship Program and now have jobs waiting for them when they graduate from West-MEC in May of this year.

Over the last few years, Mike has played a pivotal role in the industry’s lobbying efforts at the state capital. His testimony during various legislative committee hearings has helped prevent various bills from going into effect that would have been detrimental for our industry.

Mike’s participation in stakeholder meetings for House Bill 2114 Declaration of Independent Business Status during the 2016 legislative session led to the construction industry being carved out of the bill. Without this change, the practice of misclassification of employees as independent contractors in the construction industry would have become even more widespread than it is today and make it more challenge for companies who comply with the state and federal regulations and laws to compete on a level playing field.

Mike has been the driving force behind the development of a new funding program, which will be a “game changer” for the masonry industry throughout the entire state. When launched the program would establish Arizona Masonry Council and finally provide the financial resources to move our industry from its traditional reactive position to being a proactive industry.

Last month, Mike completed his term as Chairman of the Mason Contractors Association of America and Colleen as First Lady of the Masonry Industry. Although his term as Chairman was only two years, he served a total eight years on the MCAA Executive Committee in addition to years of service as Region G Vice President and Arizona State Chair.

During his term as Chairman, Mike and Colleen spent numerous hours away from their company in order to travel to various MCAA chapters and other masonry state associations meeting and events. This was all done at their own expense.

During his tenure as Chairman, MCAA went from a membership of 620 members to 930 members– which sets the record for the largest growth in membership in any two-year period in MCAA’s history.

Under his leadership, MCAA developed a Silica Train-the-Trainer Compliance program for members. MCAA has trained over 520 trainers across the US. MCAA estimates that these trainers have since trained close to 3,000 masonry employees since the program was launched in early 2017.

Despite his success, he still is very grounded and humble. When he is asked what he does for a living, Mike doesn’t say he owns masonry company or that he sits on various boards and committees. He simply replies, “I’m a bricklayer.” To us here in this room and to many of our counterparts across the country, he is much more than simply “a bricklayer.” Through his active involvement, leadership and dedication to our industry he has laid the foundation for many generations of block and bricklayers to come.