GEN NXT: Abril Baza

GEN NXT: Abril Baza

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Editor’s Note: MASONRY Magazine had the opportunity to talk with Abril Baza, a sophomore who has enjoyed her experience competing in masonry competitions and working with her mentor towards future goals in the industry. 

MASONRY Magazine: Tell me a bit about yourself.

Abril Baza: My name is Abril Baza and I am from North Carolina. I am 15 years old and went to an early college where I chose masonry as an elective. I chose to take masonry and welding as electives and I really enjoy laying bricks and going to competitions. 

M.M.: When you chose masonry as an elective, did you know people who were masons or in the industry?

A.B.: No, I did not. I chose masonry as an elective and my instructor got me into all of the competition stuff. He is the one who got me into it.

M.M.: Can you tell me a bit more about the competitions that you have been involved with?

A.B.: I won first place for level one in the state competition this past year. I have competed in a few others as well and have placed in all of them except for one so far. I competed in H. A. “Butch” Hardy, but that is the one I didn’t place in. Other than that, I have competed in various county and school competitions. 

M.M: Can you tell me about your teachers or mentors that have helped you in the industry? 

A.B.: His name is Fred Mason. Since I started in the class, he always told me that he knew I was going to be good at masonry. He has always continued to push me to do better and practice more after school and in my free time. He always tells me the great things about the industry and that keeps pushing me to get better. 

M.M.: What are some goals that you have?

A.B.: I’m not totally sure yet, but I think I would like to get into estimating. Since I placed first in the state during my freshman year and I am in my sophomore year now, I still have a lot to see and learn. I don’t have a particular goal yet, but I have interests in the industry and estimating. 

M.M.: Can you tell me more about your interest in estimating? 

A.B.: I really enjoyed the experience of going to Atlanta for nationals and having one of my teammates compete. When we were there, we had an immersive experience that I really liked. 

M.M.: What has been your favorite experience in the industry so far? 

A.B.: I would have to say going to nationals or state. I love competing in competitions and the adrenaline that you get when people are watching. When we went to Greensboro for state, I competed. It’s just a lot of people and a lot of new experiences since I was so new to the industry. Then, nationals was even bigger – more people, more faces. You get to see more things and have more experiences. 

M.M.: What keeps you motivated in and out of the industry?

A.B.: Well, I would have to say my instructor and my mom. In the masonry industry, my instructor pushes me to do better things. My mom motivates me because I just want to make her proud. 

M.M: Do you work or take classes in the industry now?

A.B.: I don’t work in it now, but I do take classes. I am currently in high school so I take high school classes, and I want to finish that and see what’s next. 

M.M.: If you were to meet someone who was just entering the industry, what advice would you give them?

A.B.: I would tell them to keep working hard and keep practicing because they will get there eventually. Just stay motivated and watch other people with their moves and techniques because you will learn something from it. 

M.M.: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

A.B.: I really hope to get into estimating one day, and would love to keep meeting people and networking to achieve that goal. 

Thank you, Abril, for taking the time to talk with us!

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