An Update From The Arizona Masonry Council

Words: Dawn Rogers

Words: Dawn Rogers, Executive Director Arizona Masonry Council
Photos: Arizona Masonry Council

The Arizona Masonry Council continues to expand its efforts, adding additional exciting programs to our existing ones. As always, the AMC Board of Directors refers to our strategic plan and the four pillars to follow behind and build stronger as we move forward. 

  • Education & Promotion
  • Advocacy
  • Workforce Development
  • Building Codes & Standards

Education & Promotion

The AMC Education Committee has recently just launched the Contractor Certification Program which will officially kick off in second quarter 2022. This program is built very similar to RMMI and NCMCA’s Certification Programs.

The newly elected board of governance for our Contractor Certification Program is:

Chair: Moroni Mejia, Hobbs Masonry
Contractors:
Adam Waltho, Sutter Masonry
Koby Baum, Sun Valley Masonry
Supplier:
Tyler Smith, Yavapai Block
Architect:
Ken Powers, Perlman Architects
Engineer:
Tony Polusny, Buehler

The Education & Promotion committee along with the Building Code and Advocacy Committee is working with a local architectural firm to develop a Southwest Guide to Masonry. This will be a comprehensive investigation of masonry and how its properties compare to other building materials across a range of considerations – labor and life-cycle costs, aesthetics, maintenance and durability, installation and detailing, sustainability and embodied energy and insurance needs/ramifications, to name a handful. The purpose of this Guide will be an evolving resource for the AEC Industry at large – targeting not only Architects, Engineers and Contractors, but also Owners, Client Representatives, and Facility Managers. This document aims to provide accessible and understandable information to showcase the Total Package Value of masonry as a building material. 

AMC is also in the process of producing marketing and educational videos, highlighting the benefits of masonry and the benefits of being a part of the association. The videos will be used for social media purposes and well as recruiting.

Advocacy

AMC and its lobbyist are watching over 100 different bills at the state legislative level this year. One of our main efforts involves backing an effort to allow drug testing of parolees via a sweat patch that can be removed and evaluated in the field without requiring these members of our labor force to leave the job site for mandatory drug testing. Second chance programs in Arizona provide a labor pipeline utilized by our contractors. As a condition of parole these individuals are subjected to random drug tests, which we fully support, but the sweat patch would be faster and less disruptive to the activities of the contractors who employ these individuals.  

Workforce Development

Our core apprenticeship program, both Central and Southern Arizona, has kicked-off another strong year, after graduating a new group of Journeymen in January 2022. 

Our Tender Training program relaunched last year and graduated its first class in 2021. This is a 17-week program that includes training and credentialing in scaffolding, rigging, CPR/first aid, and OSHA 10. 

In addition to the Tender Training program, AMC launched English Classes specifically for the masonry industry. The objectives of these courses are built in three different levels. Level 1 will teach the conversational skills, upon which competition, participants will be able to communicate confidently and effectively. Level 2 will teach basic writing and reading. Participants will be able to read and interpret basic forms and notes such as those found on construction drawings and be able to fill basic forms out with clear phrases and segments upon completion. And Level 3 will refine the participants ability to read and write. 

At the end of March, AMC will have successfully completed its first year of our newest program: Machine Operators. This program includes both hands-on and classroom instruction. The objectives include Basic Hydraulic, Mechanical, Pneumatic, Electrical, Electrical Control Systems and Concrete Masonry Technology. AMC is currently looking for a full-time instructor for our Machine Operators program. 

The next training program AMC will be rolling out will be the Leadership Program. This program is geared toward teaching current and developing foremen the necessary skills to be a successful leader and productive part of their company. 

AMC’s high school outreach program is booked for the remainder of this year, with one-to-four-week hands-on training programs at schools throughout the state of Arizona. The students are engaged and learning one step at a time – spreading, buttering, laying, etc. The last few schools have stepped it up a bit and ended their training time with a pizza party with pizzas cooked in their very own brick ovens! 

As an extension of our high school outreach activities, AMC recently met with executives from a company called Graduation Alliance. The firm is working with the state to establish drop out recovery and adult education programs to help those who have not yet gotten a high school diploma. They will have a pipeline of high school graduates looking for work and they are interested in including our industry as one of their recommended career choices.

AMC recently met with executives from a company called Graduation Alliance. The firm is working with the state to establish drop out recovery and adult education programs to help those who have not yet gotten a high school diploma. They will have a pipeline of high school graduates looking for work and are interested in including our industry as one of their recommended career choices.

Building Codes/Standards

AMC’s Technical Committee keeps a pulse on all things related to masonry codes and standards. Currently the council is seeking either a full-time staff engineer or is looking to enter a contract with a structural engineering firm to assist in our local and national efforts.

This addition to our team will contribute to our growth as we continue to advocate for the masonry industry and our members.

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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.

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