North American Masonry Conference (NAMC) – Attend to Learn, Network, Promote, Recruit

Words: Isa Stein

The 14th North American Masonry Conference will be held June 11-14, 2023, in the heart of historic Old Market in Omaha, Nebraska, United States. The conference will be jointly hosted by the Durham School of Architectural Engineering and Construction at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) and the Nebraska Masonry Alliance (NMA), and sponsored by the Masonry Society (TMS). Several industry sponsors, including MCAA’s Masonry Foundation, are helping to support the conference.

14NAMC is a forum for the exchange of scientific, engineering, architectural, construction, evaluation, and repair information on masonry. It is one of the largest events to report on masonry research and practice for professors, graduate and undergraduate students and practitioners in the world, and as such it is an incredible opportunity to learn what is being done while meeting some of the brightest minds in the masonry technical community. While the conference has historically been targeted toward those conducting research, in recent years, it has emphasized practical masonry applications and findings through case studies, innovative learning sessions, and tours. The Innovative Learning Sessions have been especially popular as they allow manufacturers to highlight new and innovative products, showcasing them to the attendees. 

What is particularly unique for the 14NAMC is that for the first time in its history, student competitions are also included. Dr. Ece Erdogmus, Conference Chair and Professor at the Georgia Institute of Technology, has developed and is hosting a number of student competitions targeted from graduate students all the way to kindergarten students. Competitions, while fun, focus on the strength, durability, beauty of masonry (Figure 1). K-12 student drawings and posters from all over the U.S. will be displayed during the conference. Undergraduate students from US and Canada will give 5-minute masonry talks and graduate students will present their posters for a chance to win $1000. The increased involvement of undergraduate and graduate students in the conference will provide the attending professionals a chance to recruit their next employees and learn from the youngest and brightest minds.

Figure 1 - Drawing titled “Why bricks are better than wood for building”, by Alice McNaughton, 2nd Grade, Morningside Elementary School, Atlanta, Georgia

14NAMC this June in Omaha – We hope to See you There!

Over 100 technical papers and a number of Innovative Learning topics are being reviewed at this time, and will be presented during the Conference – forming a strong technical basis. 

In addition, a few hands-on workshops and exhibitions are being planned under the theme of Rediscovering the Possibilities of Masonry with the latest technologies. One of these exhibits, hosted by Georgia Tech’s School of Building Construction, will allow the participants to try out back-support exoskeletons when lifting a masonry block (Figure 2). Exoskeletons are wearable robots that can help to prevent health and safety issues such as work-related musculoskeletal disorders and back injuries. These wearable robots augment human capabilities, so they can also improve workers’ productivity. Given the current shortage of skilled labor in the United States, such technology can increase interest in the masonry trades as it may help shift the perceptions around an occupation that is tough on the body.

Figure 2 - Assistant Professor Dr. Bola Ogunseiju of Georgia Tech’s School of Building Construction is experimenting with lifting masonry blocks using a back-support exoskeleton. Attendees will be able to experiment with this technology.

14NAMC will also have vibrant social events, exciting technical and site-seeing tours, world-class key-note speakers, exhibitions, and more. Besides being an excellent way to learn, the NAMC is also a tremendous venue to network – to meet with young students, professors, designers, manufacturers, contractors, and others who attend. For the last conference, over 200 attended, the majority from the United States and Canada, but many international attendees were able to join as well. Fun games and events allow people to get to know one another quickly and to find people they may want to learn from, or as is sometimes the case, to collaborate with on future projects, or on future jobs. A number of employers found new hires of some of the best and brightest at the conference.

For additional information on the 14NAMC, or to register to attend, sponsor, or exhibit, see: We hope to see you at the historic downtown of Omaha for this exciting event!

TMS 402/602 Code Committee & Other TMS Committees Meeting Prior to NAMC

Prior to the 14NAMC, The Masonry Society (TMS) will be hosting its Spring Business meetings including the meetings of TMS 402/602 and its Subcommittees. Come learn what the Society is working on while participating in discussions on the national masonry code. Those attending the 14NAMC, can attend the TMS business meetings.

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