GEN NXT: Jessie Demler

Words: Isa Stein

Editor’s Note: MASONRY Magazine had the opportunity to talk with Jessie Demler from Shane Demler Masonry, Inc. about his experience in the masonry industry. Although he has not competed in competitions, Jessie is known across masonry social media as “SlimBrick” as a 4th generation mason.

MASONRY Magazine: Tell me a little bit about yourself.

Jessie Demler: Hey! My name is Jessie Demler. I go by SlimBrick on social media, and I am a 4th generation mason. I'm married to my amazing wife, Christina, and we have our little dog, Butter, here in northern Utah. I work with my dad, and we do commercial masonry; currently, we are working on the new city fire station, the 6-story addition to the local hospital's ER building, and an addition to an Electric Vehicle Research building for Utah State University. Our company has been in business since October of 1996, and I have been full-time since 2014 after I "finished" college, haha.

M.M.: How did you get into the masonry industry? First-, Second-Gen?

J.D.: I got into masonry because of it being the family trade. I am a 4th generation mason. My Great Grandpa Demler was a mason, my Grandpa, Chad Demler, my dad, Shane Demler, and now myself, amongst many other members of the family who have taken part in the trade. Even the attorney had been a hoddie at one point. I did summers between my high school years, worked summers and between classes in college, and then became full-time when I realized I could just go to work and learn the business rather than write 8-page papers, haha.

M.M.: Have you competed in competitions before? If so, tell me about it. If not, would you?

J.D.: I have never competed in any masonry competitions before other than the usual battle at work trying to take on the old journeymen. I think I would compete in something someday, and I jokingly told everyone on TikTok/Instagram to come challenge me at the "Beat The Mason" challenge that Spec Mix puts on during the World of Concrete. However, I know I have no business competing in something like the Bricklayer 500 or the Fastest Trowel On The Block; those guys are no joke!

M.M: Did/Do you have a mentor that has helped you in the industry? If so, tell me about that experience.

J.D.: I have had several great mentors and great men around me who helped me learn this trade. Jarrod Spackman, Sokun Dy, John Anderson, Casey Spackman, and Troy Nielsen have all greatly impacted my career as a mason and foreman. They still help me learn every day, and I wouldn't be anything without those journeymen around me. Aaron and Tyson Roby, when I was younger learning to hod tend, Robert Buttars taught me the value of a good work ethic through his example as a foreman while growing up as well. Of course, my dad as well; he and I may butt heads sometimes, but he's taught me so much about this business, trade, and industry, and I am forever grateful for who I lucked out to have as a father. I can say the exact same thing about my mom; she's a great businesswoman and keeps us all in line, employed, and makes sure this ship keeps sailing. She's always there for me when I need advice, and I truly lucked out to have her as a mother as well.

M.M.: What are your goals in the industry and overall?

J.D.: First and foremost, I want to continue to help create a company where everyone involved can be proud to work here, grow and become the best version of themselves, and be taken care of. I would be nothing without the people around me and as I work toward running this business, I will not be forgetting that. Secondly, I would like to continue to use my influence on social media to entertain, inspire, and educate. I've heard too many times in my life that this is a dying trade, and I want to continue to do my best to bring awareness to it, encourage the generation that I am a part of, as well as the younger generations, to pursue it as a career, and continue to encourage my generation and the older ones to teach those coming in and help them gain the pride and passion in this trade that we all have.

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

J.D.: It's always looking back at something after it's done and being able to say, "We built that." There is something so satisfying about building something with your hands, your crew, and the other trades around you all coming together to do so. I can spot something that my family has put their work on in almost every block of our town, and that has always been such a cool thing to experience. A family bought the house that my great-grandpa Demler built, and they contacted me to come fill in some windows after their remodel, which was an incredible experience for me. I never got to meet my great-grandpa, but I have met him through his work several times now, and it's always an experience that I am thankful for.

M.M.: What keeps you motivated?

J.D.: My wife. She is such a great support system, always has my back, and continues to help me pursue my goals as well as her own. The idea of being able to run a company where I can help those around me take care of their families and be the best versions of themselves possible. The idea of being able to inspire those who may see me on social media to pursue our trade or even just their own goals and what is best for themselves. Building really cool stuff and being able to say I had my hand in helping this building, which will last for much longer than my own life, become a reality and a part of the world around me.

M.M.: Do you work in the industry now? What does your normal routine look like?

J.D.: Yes, I do! My daily routine involves some morning time with Butter since he and I are usually awake at the same time, then I kiss my wife and head out to work. I can't make it to the job site without a stop at Maverik, haha, and then I'm on my way to help our operator get mud going and the ball rolling for the day. I'm currently running my first job as the sole foreman, so try to touch base with everyone in the morning on a game plan, and then we get to it. Most days, I am laying with the crew, but some days, I help the laborers, get set up and ahead, plan ahead with the general contractor, etc. At the end of the day, I head back home to hang out with Christina and Butter and relax.

M.M.: What advice would you give to someone looking to join the masonry industry?

J.D.: This is a tough trade, but it can be so satisfying. Make sure to take care of yourself both mentally and physically. Check your ego at the gate; nobody needs to be a "hero" and ruin their body just to show off how tough they are. You only get one body and one life; make sure you're taking care of what gets you through it. Oh, and those old guys at work don't hate you. Sometimes they're grumpy, but they just want to see what you're made of, so just know if you work hard, crack some jokes back at them, and earn their respect, then they'll be in your corner for life. Other than that, raise the line!

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

J.D.: You mean something to somebody; keep your head up and take care of yourself out there. If you ever need help, don't be afraid to ask for it. You don't always need to "man up" and deal with things alone. The construction industry has an alarmingly high rate of suicide and addiction, and I just want anyone out there that reads this to know they don't have to go through things alone.

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