Words: Alan Herrera
Photos: Mortar Net Solutions
Mortar Net Solutions, a leading supplier of moisture management solutions and pioneers of the masonry industry, continues its generosity into 2020 with an expanded Masonry Scholarship Program.
In an unprecedented time where social distancing is the norm and household incomes are uncertain, every professional industry is being challenged. Steven Fechino, Engineering and Construction Manager, is determined to put Mortar Net Solutions to the test. These scholarships will provide partial tuition reimbursement and empower the selected masonry students with industry tools to use for the rest of their career.
In 2019, four fortunate students were awarded the scholarship.
“We gave the four scholarships out [last year] and it was very successful,” says Fechino. “Our goal is to at least double the number of scholarships next year…”
This year, it will be awarded to twenty students. That’s more than double, and evidently, phenomenally successful. Fechino wholeheartedly believes in the future of the masonry industry and recognizes that sometimes people need a little help.
“No one gets to where they are by themselves,” says Fechino. “Sometimes you go through some financial hardships just to get a foot in the door.”
Considering the future of any industry is critical. “Mortar Net is proud to help these students discover the tradition of working in masonry,” says Fechino. “I greatly support the work they’ve done for this industry over the past 30 years.”
Each scholarship pays $350 directly to the school which typically pays for 1 semester for the student. It also comes paired with Mortar Net Solutions-embroidered tool bag filled with more than $1,000 worth of tools and equipment provided by Bon Tool, Kapro, and others. Mortar Net will also provide product and support for the school.
“We’re trying to help build the trade one apprentice at a time,” says Fechino. “Someone who may be interested but may not be able to afford to take that leap. We’re trying to help those people take that leap.”
Matt Sonnhalter, a Vision Architect at Sonnhalter, says that Mortar Net Solution has always supported the industry. They have donated products for training purposes to various locations and institutes, and even venture out to train in the field. “This is something that is in Mortar Net’s blood,” says Sonnhalter. “Wanting to make sure the masonry industry is successful for the upcoming decades and generations. This is just our way of doing so.”
The Mortar Net Mason Apprentice Scholarship is need-based. Aside from having to financially require the aid, students must still have one or more years left in trade school and their nominating instructors must be members of the National Masonry Instructors Association (NMIA). The entry form can be found here.
The Masonry Scholarship Program’s winners will be selected by Mortar Net Solutions and will be announced later this year on July 7, 2020. The ceremony will take place at the NMIA Annual Summer Conference in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.
The scholarship program is already hugely successful, and Fechino is working to make it bigger. Fechino has ideas for the program for 2021 and onward: “We’ll either cap the scholarships at 20 and will increase the amount of money being awarded, or continue to increase the number of scholarships available. Whatever it takes to continue to help those who need it.”