Words: Dawn Rogers, Executive Director of Arizona Masonry Council
Photos: Arizona Masonry Council
In May 2020, two long-standing fixtures in the masonry industry joined together to form one cohesive voice to serve the contractors, producers, and professionals in Arizona. The Arizona Masonry Contractors Association and the Arizona Masonry Guild officially merged to form the new Arizona Masonry Council (AMC). The Council moved quickly to build a strong team, hiring Dawn Rogers as the Executive Director, retaining Cassie Mejia as a Program Manager, and adding Ryan Gray to fill a new role as Outreach Coordinator.
The council has seen its voluntary check-off program produce the funding needed to move the goals of the association to another level, supporting its strategic plan of four pillars established by the membership:
- Education & Promotion
- Workforce Development
- Building Codes & Standards
Education & Promotion
The council is actively working with the Arizona architectural and structural engineering community, holding lunch and learns as well as making sure they are informed on the latest code changes. AMC also continues to work with higher education institutes making sure students in the three state universities get a well-rounded masonry education.
Along with most of the industry, AMC had to cancel its largest event, the Architectural Awards Banquet, in 2020. Currently the council is working to bring the 2021 program to another level, making sure to acknowledge all the amazing winners from 2020 (we had 18 winning projects) and of course 2021.
The council has hired a local lobbying firm to support the activities of our Legislative Committee. Together, we follow all proposed legislation that would affect our members and the industry. In addition to following legislative activity, the committee plans to meet with some of the new legislatures in 2021, making sure they understand who we are and what our mission is in the state.
One of our more active areas of focus is workforce development. In spite of the current pandemic conditions, construction activity remained strong in Arizona throughout 2020. The Council continued the existing apprenticeship program and updated and restructured the various curricula to make it stronger and to better support the needs of the members.
The core apprenticeship program is managed by our Program Manager and currently operates in two locations in Arizona. The southern program, located in Tucson, AZ, uses space at Pima Community College. This new alliance with the college allows our apprentices to have access to the campus resources and gives them the opportunity to earn college credits towards a degree in construction management.
The central program continues to grow and expand its presence at the East Valley Institute of Technology in Mesa, AZ. Our long-standing relationship with this regional high school vocational program allows us to support the high school student’s construction program activities, which provides an opportunity to recruit graduates into our apprenticeship program.
Both programs operate under formal lease agreements with the respective institutions to ensure our space and longevity. This gives us the dedicated space we need for our hands-on activities, with access to fully-equipped classrooms for class activities.
Additional priorities in 2020 included expansion into additional areas beyond the full three-year apprenticeship program. Out Tender Training program has been updated and relaunched as a 17-week program that includes training and credentialling in scaffolding, rigging, CPR/first aid, and OSHA 10. Additional training topics include stocking, mixing, saw cutting, equipment maintenance, grouting, and construction drawings.
The new Site Development Program is a one-year program with hands-on and classroom instruction that focuses on filling the need in Arizona for a workforce qualified in building masonry site walls, which a large market segment in the residential construction industry in Arizona.
In 2021 the Council is researching the development of a Foreman Certificate program to support the needs of our contractor members, and a Machine Operator’s Certificate program to support the needs of the producers.
One of the main roles of our workforce development coordinator is to interact with the high schools throughout Arizona to develop an active pipeline of students interested in the masonry industry.
AMC’s Technical Committee keeps a pulse on all things related to masonry codes and standards. Our committee members serve on the national code committees to give the Arizona masonry industry a voice in emerging code development. This involvement also allows our members to stay abreast of future changes that could affect their business.
The Arizona Masonry Council also maintains an active presence and participates with The Masonry Society, the Masonry Alliance for Codes and Standards, and the Western States Clay Products Association. We look forward to continued growth in the coming year and hope to reintegrate in-person activities and conferences later in 2021.