Wall of Fame: Phil Cote

Words:

Words: MASONRY Magazine

Photos: Phil Cote 

Editor's Note: We sat down with Phil Cote for this year's first Wall of Fame interview. Phil is a sixth-generation mason continuing the legacy created by his family members who worked in the industry before him. He runs his company 6th Generation Masonry and looks forward to teaching masonry to his children in the future. We'd like to thank Phil for taking the time to talk with us.

MASONRY Magazine: How old were you when you started in the industry?

Phil Cote: I was about 5 or 6 years old.

M.M.: Can you tell us about your background and how you got started?

P.C.: I am the 6Th generation mason in my family. My father had me working alongside him at a young age. I really didn’t have an option. My father grew up in the trade himself and was an old-school mason. He was very strict and tough. He would tell me “You want your apprenticeship, well you have to tend to 2-3 masons (uncle and father) mostly for a year without asking for a single thing.” So, I put my head down and went to work. At the time, I had a lot of resentment towards him. Looking back now, I am so thankful for what he did by teaching and instilling a strong work ethic in me.

M.M.: What drew you to the masonry industry?

P.C.: My family, father, and grandfather.

M.M.: What are some of your earliest memories at work?

P.C.: One morning my father took me to a local supply yard. He told me I earned my apprenticeship. Then said to pick out a trowel on the wall. I must have handled each trowel 3 or 4 times before making my decision.

M.M.: What’s kept you in the industry this long?

P.C.: Keeping our family heritage alive. I look forward to teaching my son and daughter and creating memories alongside them like I did with my father.

M.M.: How did you progress through the industry?

P.C.: I have continued to seek knowledge, learn, master certain aspects of the industry, and set goals. At a young age, I wanted my work to be featured in a product catalog. I was able to achieve that, as well as a magazine. I worked for a few companies after my father passed. When contractors continued to request me to be the mason who will be doing the work, that was when I knew it was time to go on my own.

M.M.: What is the hardest part of working in this industry?

P.C.: Being able to find good honest help. Also finding someone who can meet the standards I set in every aspect of my project from start to finish.

M.M.: What do you like about the industry?

P.C.: Stonework. I gravitated towards stonework at a young age and truly loved being able to take something from nature and turn it into a focal point. However, I do enjoy all aspects of masonry.

M.M.: What is your legacy?

P.C.: Honest, hardworking. Not sure if you call it a legacy or more of a trademark. I like to gift one of my hand-carved wooden spoons and give them to my clients when I have completed a project. This shows our appreciation for our clients.

M.M.: What does this work mean to your family?

P.C.: Masonry has been in my family for years and years. It’s a part of our family. I have multiple family members in the USA as well as Canada that are currently in the trade.

M.M.: Do you have any advice for people who are going into this field?

P.C.: Fully commit. Dedicate time in the area of the industry you favor. Brick, block, stone, or all of them. Seek out advanced masons that have the skillset you desire. Obtain their knowledge, mechanics and ask questions. Chances are they had a trowel in their hand before you were born. Practice, practice, practice, and set the goals you want to achieve. Learn from your mistakes. Continue to hold love, value, and passion throughout your career. Ultimately you're working for the Lord and are doing good work onto him.

M.M.: What does being recognized as someone who has done so much mean to you?

P.C.: I am not one to seek recognition but the meaning for me would be craftsmanship, honesty, and work ethic. When I hear or read compliments, referrals, and receive positive reviews that my wife and I put into the company.

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