Words: MASONRY Magazine
Photos: Colby Breithaupt
Editor’s Notes: This month we had the opportunity to talk with Colby Breithaupt of Non-Stop Scaffolding. He is an Alumni of the University of Arkansas where he earned a degree in Mechanical Engineering. Colby is proud to continue his family’s legacy at Non-Stop Scaffolding. We would like to thank Colby for taking time to chat with us as well as thank JagClamp for continuing to sponsor this series.
Masonry Magazine: Tell us about yourself.
Colby Breithaupt: I’m 25 years old and recently graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. As a senior in high school, I had some extra free time, so I decided to take welding at a local technical school as an elective. I welded for Non-Stop the following two years while going to school nearby. I got married at 21 to my lovely wife Claire Beth, and I followed her to graduate school in Arkansas.
C.B.: I started working at Non-Stop Scaffolding when I was 16 and I saw the welders would get paid a little more and they were doing something that looked cool to me. So, I decided to learn how to weld and it’s been one of the best things I’ve done. Welding has given me a trade I can fall back on if I’m not successful in engineering. It has also given me an appreciation for skilled, hard work that I may not have known otherwise.
M.M.: How did you get into the engineering field?
C.B.: For me, it was my dad [Justin Breithaupt Jr.]. Anything we have ever done together has been somewhat mechanical. Whether it was fixing my car, or designing and building something we didn’t want to buy at the store. It’s just something I’ve always been interested in, and my dad has always influenced me to pursue that as a career.
M.M.: What kind of projects have you guys worked on together?
C.B.: He helped me build a miniature cannon using a lathe and mill because I thought it would be cool to have one on my desk. Justin helped me build a lot of my senior project, which was a mini conveyor belt system that sorted packages based on their barcode. We built a large knife grinder so that I could start doing a little bit of that for fun. He also helped me with my pinewood derby car as a Cub Scout, of course, it was the best.
M.M.: How often did you work on these projects?
C.B.: I’d say once or more a month. It gives us an opportunity to spend a little time together, and it gives us a break to focus on something new.
M.M.: Did you always want to work with your dad at Non-Stop Scaffolding?
C.B.: Believe it or not, I didn’t decide that until I was a junior in college. I had done a couple of internships at bigger companies and I didn’t like it. Being a desk engineer just wasn’t something I wanted to do. I like to get my hands dirty, and I don’t enjoy designing something without being able to make it myself.
M.M.: What is your current role at Non-Stop?
C.B.: I run the plant, I do some sales, I answer the phone if no one is around, and I plan what we are going to make and when. I fix things when they break. I train customers on how to use our equipment. I also design new products for the company.
M.M.: How is it working with your dad?
C.B.: It’s great. He sits 10 feet away from me, so sometimes I can’t always hear who I’m talking to on the phone. But it has been a wonderful experience to be able to work with him and learn from everyone here at Non-Stop. It is truly a family business and I wouldn’t want to be doing anything else right now.
M.M.: What does it mean to you to continue your grandfather’s legacy?
C.B.: It means the world, seriously. When I was working here as a kid, I didn’t notice how much thought went into every single thing we produce. But now I’m starting to see how brilliant and obsessed my grandfather was when it came to scaffolding efficiency. He made it his life’s work to perfect this scaffolding system and the way we make it. It’s really cool to continue doing that and help mason contractors make higher profits.
M.M.: Tell us more about your memories when you were younger working at the company.
C.B.: Oh man, it really taught me about the meaning of hard work. It gets really hot down here in Louisiana and I remember there were days where I didn’t want to be here, but I would sit down and eat lunch with my dad and grandfather and find the energy to get through the rest of the day. I have come to love every aspect of this plant, but spending those 30 minutes with my dad and grandfather was always the highlight of my day.
Every time I was working outside, my grandpa would stand beside me and would watch quietly; and if I was doing the job satisfactorily, he would hit me with a thumbs up. If I could improve, he would tell me what I needed to do. He really loved efficiency, which led to the invention of our scaffold and to see my dad’s place in that process with my grandfather was a good experience.
M.M.: Have you been treated any differently being younger in the industry?
C.B.: Not really, I grew a beard and haven’t had any problems since (joking). But I think you’re treated how you let people treat you. If you give someone respect, then they are more likely to give you respect. A lot of my generation believes they are entitled to respect without having to give it. I try to follow the Golden Rule that you treat people as you’d like to be treated, and that has gone a long way for me. A lot of people my age are on their phone constantly. Stop staring at your screen and become a part of reality around you.
M.M.: What advice would you give to someone looking to get into the industry?
C.B.: Get involved, join an organization, and go meet people who aren’t in direct competition with you. That way you hear the truth, and you get solutions to problems you may be having. Life is way too short to learn everything the hard way, so seek other people who have experienced things you haven’t, so you can learn from them.
M.M.: Tell us about your involvement with the MCAA.
C.B.: My family has been involved with the MCAA for a long time. My grandfather was a member when he was a mason contractor and my dad told me those were some of the best vacations he’d ever been on. We go to the mid-year and the annual meeting every year and learn what is going on the industry as well as share our thoughts on solutions to problems being faced in the industry. We contribute a fair amount and hope to help grow the MCAA as well as give back some of what it has given to us.
M.M.: What are some benefits you’ve seen from being members of the MCAA?
C.B.: We get to hear about problems that members are facing and see if there is any way we can help them find a solution. We get to network with members which is beneficial to our company. We get to visit places that we would otherwise not go to and have a little mini-vacation with our wives. We get to meet a bunch of like-minded people who are pleasant to be around.