GEN NXT: Oscar Montaño

Words:

Sponsored By:

Words: Oscar Montaño and MASONRY Magazine
Photos: Oscar Montaño

Editor’s Note: For this month, MASONRY sat down with Oscar Montaño, 2021 First-Year Apprentice Masonry Skills Challenge Winner. Oscar learned from his father and continues to be a leader by helping others in the industry and leading through example. We’d like to thank Oscar for taking the time to talk with us, and Masonry Cosmetics for sponsoring this series. 

MASONRY Magazine
Tell me a bit about yourself. 

Oscar Montaño
My name is Oscar Montaño, and I am 40 years old. I have been doing masonry since I was old enough to carry a wheelbarrow. My dad owns a small masonry company, and that’s how I got into it, you know, always just wanting to be like my dad. I am a father of six future masons. 

M.M.
Was your father a first-generation mason?

O.M.
It has gone through our family forever. That was in Mexico; they call it albañil. That’s basically what they do- blocks. So, my dad got a masonry company, and that’s how it got to be amazing. 

M.M.
What did you originally want to be when you grew up? And does that line up with what you want to do now? 

O.M.
Well, you know, when you’re a little kid, you always want to just be like your dad. That’s what I wanted to be- amazing. And luckily, that’s what I am today. I love what I do. I enjoy it. 

M.M.
That’s amazing and great to hear. So, have you completed any apprenticeships, masonry classes, or competitions? Tell me a bit about that and how you won the Skills Challenge at World of Concrete. 

O.M.
The Skills Challenge- that was awesome. Winning that was pretty cool. And then, you know, when I got back home, all of my friends and colleagues at work and stuff showed me a lot of love. It’s just nice to do something like that and be a part of it. I’ve competed a couple of times in The Fastest Trowel competition, and I never really did too well. But, you know, I gave it all my best. I’m doing all that stuff and preparing for that throughout the year. It’s challenging, but it’s worth the effort in the end… Yes, definitely worth it. 

M.M.
From your personal experience, what competition, classes, or training was the most challenging for you, and how did you overcome that? 

O.M.
I want to say the Skills Challenge because you have to go to school, and there’s a whole lot more to it than just getting into the skills challenge that day. There’s a lot of bookwork and all that. We go to class every Saturday, and we have to be there. All that stuff leads up to that and, in the end, it’s all worth it. Like, man, it is so awesome to just be in this interview right now and to take advantage of all the stuff MCAA has to offer. It’s awesome. 

M.M.
Well, thank you; we appreciate hearing that. So, what is something or someone that keeps you motivated in life? 

O.M.
What keeps me motivated is that I like waking up in the mornings and having the same routine, seeing all the same people, growing with everybody, you know, and helping everybody out. Just that keeps you looking forward to the next day and having the love for your colleagues, your friends, and your family and all the support. It’s hard to do everything by yourself. 

M.M.
Have you been a part of any projects? If so, what is your favorite? 

O.M.
Right by my house on the freeway, I did a really big Caterpillar building. It was about a year-long project. It’s a really nice building with copper and black blocks that we put up, and it kind of stands out when you’re driving. I always see that building when I drive home- it’s one of my favorites.

M.M.
What does your daily work in masonry look like? Day-to-day, how do you prepare, and what do you do? 

O.M.
Well, right now, I am in a lead mason role, so I have to stay ahead of everybody. You know, I have to do bond, measure block and stone, and do all the heights to make sure. A lot of safety, a lot of papers in the morning, and then some more safety, and repeat. Yeah, just trying to stay ahead of all the guys making sure that everything is moving smoothly. That’s about it- I get a lunch break, and then I go home. 

M.M.
Congratulations on the work as a lead mason. Where do you see yourself in the future?

O.M.
Ever since my dad used to teach me, he would say, “If you came to work for me, I don’t pay that much, but you get to learn,” he would always say, “This is our little school.” He always used to get just regular masons and teach them a lot of stuff. That’s how you grow. So, I’ve always been good at teaching and helping other people, and now that I’ve grown a bit more, I really like helping people and seeing people grow to be laborers or apprentices becoming real masons and lead masons. To just see people make more money and feed their families and come back to thank you gets me in the heart. 

M.M.
You mentioned about your dad mentoring you- how was that experience? 

O.M.
I think that’s the hardest part about everything, you know, working with your dad because your dad really beats you apart. That’s where you get a lot of work ethics, and getting all that stuff from my dad was awesome. 

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

O.M.
Challenge yourself every day. You have got to push yourself because nobody is going to give it to you. If you want something, you have to get it. So, aim high and shoot for the stars and get at it. 

M.M.
Do you have anything that you want to add? These can be any memorable moments or people in your life that maybe we have not talked about. 

O.M.
There are so many people that I want to thank, but my dad and so many more of just the masons that have shown me a lot of things. There’s Vince and Josh; they’ve had me in school. I’ve been learning so much going through the program. I thought I was good before I joined it, but this really helps me understand a lot more of what is really going on behind the scenes and other technicalities and standards.

M.M. 
Well, thank you so much for talking with us and taking the time out of your schedule to sit down here. We appreciate it here at the MCAA!

Masonry Safety Inspections

The look of confusion and utter loss on people’s faces when I tell them that I’m a safety inspector for a masonry company is often hilarious.

About: Safety
Dave Jollay Announced as Third Inductee for MCAA 2024 Hall of Fame

Following in the footsteps of his father, O.L. Jollay, the founder of Jollay Masonry, Inc., Dave Jollay has carved out a remarkable career in the masonry industry.

What AI Can Do For the Masonry Industry

If your pension fund doesn’t hold NVIDIA stock, your fund manager has some questions to answer. This week, NVIDIA became the most valuable company in the world, with a market cap exceeding $3.4 trillion. They have been at the forefront of AI mania that ha

About: Featured
Brick: A Resilient Product That Will Make You Proud

Originating as the very dirt beneath our feet, brick has proven to be a sustainable, enduring solution that has been trusted for hundreds of years. While modern consumerism tends to focus on providing fast, cheap merchandise that is not intended to last,