Words: MASONRY Magazine
Photos: Colby Breithaupt, Natltaly Razo, Kelby Thornton
Our Generation Next or GEN NXT series is one of our more fun and interactive article series in the magazine, where we are afforded the time to get to know the industry’s up-and-coming generation. As you know, we’re hoping to shed some light on the experiences of the incoming generation of masons and suppliers, while sharing some advice on entering into this workforce. This year we spoke with five people and decided we should recap a few of our favorites.
In the April installation of our GEN NXT series, we sat down with Colby Breithaupt of Non-Stop Scaffolding. Colby is working in his father and his grandfather’s work boots in the family business. In this interview, Colby discusses his memories working alongside his grandfather Justin Breithaupt Sr. and father Justin Breithaupt Jr. during summer break. He is proud of his family’s accomplishments and role in the industry and is looking forward to what the future has in store.
Colby received a degree in Mechanical Engineering and helps to design various pieces of equipment for mason contractors. He shares his memories of tinkering in the shop with his father, creating things like a miniature cannon for his desk, a knife grinder, and a pinewood derby car while Colby was in Cub Scouts. Colby wears many hats at Non-Stop Scaffold and wouldn’t have it any other way. His biggest piece of advice for the young generation is to get involved in an organization or association, and he believes that life is too short to learn everything the hard way. If you didn’t get a chance to read Colby’s interview in our April issue, be sure to check it out now.
We talked with Natltaly Razo for the October installment of this series. Natltaly is one of two women in the industry we had the opportunity to interview this year. She is a former Butch Hardy Memorial Masonry Competition winner and is currently a brick apprentice with Brodie Contractors in North Carolina. Natltaly is the first in her family to enter the masonry industry and started learning about the trade during her freshman year of high school. She continued to take masonry courses throughout her high school career, as well as participate in competitions.
Natltaly is aspiring to own her own masonry business one day and believes hard work and patience are the keys to doing just that. She’s very thankful for her parents, family, instructors, and mentor for all of their support during her competitions and career. Natltaly is striving to become a project manager to use that experience as a stepping stone for her ultimate goal of being an entrepreneur. Her biggest piece of advice is to be dedicated and believe in yourself. This interview ran in our October issue, so if you missed Natltaly’s inspiring story, be sure to check it out online.
We interviewed Evan Schroeder of Schroeder Masonry in Leipsic, OH for the June installment of this series. Evan is a third-generation mason who has been immersed in the industry since he was a child. He started off as a tender doing grunt work and worked his way up to his current position as Vice President of Operations in his family’s business. Evan handles a lot of duties day-to-day and gets help from his retired father and grandfather whenever he needs it.
Evan is grateful for the memories he and his family have created over the years working in the industry and believes he wouldn’t be here today without those experiences and his family. He is looking forward to continuing his family’s legacy in the industry and in their family business. His biggest piece of advice is to purse masonry if it is your passion, it’s very rewarding work and will be around for 100-200 years to come. If you missed Evan’s interview in our June issue make sure to stop and read it online or check back with your monthly publication.
The August issue featured Kelby Thornton’s GEN NXT interview. This interview was one of the most popular articles of the year, as he was gearing up for the WorldSkills competition in Russia at the time of the interview. Kelby comes from a long line of family members in the masonry and construction industries. He’s been interested in masonry since he was a child and would help his dad on different jobs and projects. At the time of the interview, Kelby was a full-time mason for McGee Brothers in Monroe, NC. He took masonry courses all four years of high school, joined SkillsUSA in his freshman year, and started competing as soon as he could.
Kelby used competitions like SkillsUSA to push him to win and hone his craft, and he felt competing at WorldSkills was his greatest accomplishment, especially since he’d dedicated most of his time to practicing and competing for that opportunity. Kelby aspires to own his own business in the future and to become a successful businessman. His biggest piece of advice for anyone interested in the industry is to join the industry- it’s hard work, but is definitely worth it. Read more of Kelby’s interview in our August issue or check it out online!
We’d like to thank all of our GEN NXT interviewee’s of 2019; this certainly isn’t everyone we had the opportunity of talking with, but are three of our favorites. If you don’t see your favorite interview, or have a suggestion of someone we should interview, email Bronzella Cleveland at firstname.lastname@example.org or Cassandra Stern at email@example.com. We hope you enjoyed all of these interviews as much as we enjoyed conducting them!