Another Successful SkillsUSA National Leadership And Skills Conference

Another Successful SkillsUSA National Leadership And Skills Conference

Louisville, Kentucky served as host for the 54th annual National Leadership and Skills Conference put on by SkillsUSA. Designed to increase the quality of our nation’s skilled workforce with a combination of “citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training,” it works to create a strong upcoming generation of our workforce. Over 16,000 attended the show. Among them were students, instructors, and partners in the business world.

Friend of MASONRY Publications and recent MCAA Hall of Fame inductee Damian Lang spoke to attendees during lunch on the day before the competitions. Additionally, DIY Network Rescue Renovation star and trade advocate Kayleen McCabe also addressed the competitors and emphasized the importance of hard work and vocational education. She even filmed her show from the masonry contest area. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos also visited the site and spoke with industry professionals about the importance of vocational education.

On Wednesday and Thursday of the conference, the Championships were held in a variety of trades. One of the most exciting and technical events however, was the masonry competition. Sponsored by NCCER for the ninth year, the competitions put high school and post-secondary students enrolled in technical programs to the test for entry-level performance within the field.

The contestants were required to complete a written exam prior to the competition, and then efficiently and effectively reconstruct a project based off of a plan. A technical committee made up of respected members of the industry, designed the project that the contestants would ultimately complete.

2018 Skills National Masonry Technical Committee:

Jeff Buczkiewicz – MCAA – Chairman – (IL)

Ryan Shaver – North Carolina Masonry Association – Co Chairman and a past Skills Gold Medal Winner

Tim O’Toole, MCAA (IL)

Dan Belcher – NCCER (Fla.)

Nick Blohowiak – SpecMix (Wis.)

John Bongiovanni – Bon Tool (PA)

Brian Carney – SpecMix (Minn.)

Kim Haley Marshalltown Co. (Iowa)

Peter Kiley – Oldcastle Architectural (GA)

Ray Leonard- Brick Industry Association (VA)

Bryan Light – BIA Southeast (GA)

Bob Melton – Masonry Institution of Tennessee

Jason Thompson National Concrete Masonry Association MA (VA)

Greg Ferree – Lehigh – Past Skills Gold Medal Winner

Daniel Furr – Stalite – Past Skills Gold Medal Winner


2018 Skills National Educational Team:

Todd Larson – (Wis.)

Al Herndon – (Fla.)

Richard McKnight- (SC)

Richard Nagy – (OH)

Curtis Hoover – (MA)

Dan Hiltebeitel – (PA)

Toni Herndon – (Fla.)

The above individuals have been appointed by their companies or associations to represent the Masonry Industry at Skills USA. They help showcase the Masonry Industry and the talents of the Secondary and Post-Secondary schools in America.

Over 45 contestants took part in the six-hour masonry competition, and each built a brick and block project set on a concrete block base. The details were based on the most commonly-used elements within residential construction. While working quickly was an element of the challenge, safety and quality are also stressed.

The detail drawings were handed out at the previous day’s lunch, and competitors were expected to adhere to the plans as closely as possible. Winners were determined by a combination of their respective performances on the written exam along with their finished projects. A judging panel made up of journey-level masonry professionals were assigned to review each completed build.



Allison Lind Gardner, MA
Andrew Hoak Linthicum Heights, MD
Austin Goodman New Tazewell, TN
Bailey Evanson Waverly, GA
Brittany Livingsston Easley, SC
Caibry Owczrzak Essexville, MI
Cole Christadore Hampton, CT
Cole Rains Eureka Springs, AR
Colton Ohme Pittsburg, KS
Damien Rosallez Richford, NY
Danasia Lewis Yazoo City, MS
Daniel Smith Colorado Springs, CO
Dylan Cates Pawnee, OK
Dylan Grider Sellersburg, IN
E’san Viera Providence, RI
Hunter Bryant Courtland, VA
Inchantra Armitage Centralia, WA
Jacob Brooks Buckeye, AZ
Joseph Wright New Castle, DE
Kaylee Folckemer St. Augustine, FL
Kevin Ruiz Gonzales Grand Prairie, TN
Luke Roth Dayton, KY
Marty Krumenacker Carrolltown, PA
Mason Saunders Mount Pleasant, NC
Michelle Perez Downey, CA
Nicolas Stephenson Rudolph, OH
Roberto Gutierrez Martinsburg, WV
Sachi Baeta Lincoln, NE
Travis Dames O’Fallon, MO
Wellington Lopez Scotch Plains, NJ
Yusef Alghaim Bossier City, LA




Alex Garcia Webb City, MO
Anthony Vickrey Nashville, TN
Ashton White Cleveland, NC
Bryce Dean Belcamp, MD
Christopher Stevenson Binghamton, NY
Gregory Gruber Crownpoint, NM
Jacob Jackson Perkins, OK
Jake Freeman Collinsville, AL
Jonathan Davenport Yellville, AR
Luis Sorto Leesburg, VA
Patrick Grosvenor Belle, MO
Ramon Vargas Phoenix, AZ
Rodrigo Patron Harlingen, TX
Wayne Halcomb Poplarville, MS





Mason Saunders,

Mount Pleasant High School

Mount Pleasant, N.C.



Cole Christadore

HH Ellis Technical High School

Danielson, Conn.



Cole Rains

Eureka Springs High School

Eureka Springs, Ark.





Ashton White

Rowan Cabarrus Community College

Salisbury, N.C.



Bryce Dean

Williamson College of the Trades

Media, Penn.



Jake Freeman

Wallace Community College

Selma, Ala.


Masonry Sponsors:

A.C. Krebs



BON Tool

The Brick Industry




Masonry Institute of Tennessee

CM National Concrete Masonry Association


PCA, America’s Cement  Manufactures




Masonry Prizes Sponsors & Donors:



Calculated Industries

IQ Power Tools

JAG Clamp







Build Your Future



Carhartt Inc.


South Wire Co.

Warson Brands

About SkillsUSA – SkillsUSA is the national organization for students in trade, industrial, technical and health occupations education. It sponsors the SkillsUSA Championships annually to recognize the achievements of career and technical education students and to encourage them to strive for excellence and pride in their chosen occupations. Visit to learn more.

About NCCER — NCCER is a not-for-profit 501 (c)(3) education foundation created by the construction industry to develop standardized curriculum with portable credentials and to help address the skilled, construction workforce shortage. NCCER is recognized by the industry as the training, assessment, certification and career development standard for the construction and maintenance craft professional. For more information, visit or contact NCCER customer service at 888.622.3720.

Words: Masonry Magazine
Photos: Bruce Starrenburg
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