Looking Forward To A Brighter 2021

Words: David Biggs

Bronzella Brown, Editor - bcleveland@masonrymagazine.com

As this year comes to a close I can’t help but reflect on everything that has happened and what we’ve been able to overcome. If someone would have told me this time last year that our entire way of living would be turned on its axis shortly after coming back from Las Vegas. I’m not too confident I would’ve believed them. However, this year is certainly proof that innovation and ingenuity can help us in any situation. I may sound like a broken record, but this year is one for the history books. As I write this, I can’t help but think how quickly December snuck upon us. It may be my favorite time of the year, but it all feels like everything meshed together after Halloween. 

Looking back on all of the changes we’ve experienced this year, I can’t but see the growth in myself and the newly found hobbies I’ve picked up during quarantine. I’m not quite fluent in Italian just yet, but give me a year and I’ll be able to speak in full sentences, or at least be able to ask where I can find the bathroom. You know, the important things. Last year I was all about reflecting on the year’s moments and how to be present in them. This year, I’m sure we’ve all been very present in every moment since the stay-at-home orders were first enforced. This year I want us to all point out all the new things we’ve learned or rediscovered about ourselves. Whether it is the love for cooking, shopping online, crafting, or living room workouts that can be just as effective as going to the gym. 

We’ve all been through a lot this year and we can only go up from here. Some of us may already be back to something remotely similar to what we considered to be normal before the pandemic, others may still be working or staying at home. Regardless of where you are right now, we’re certainly not where we were at the start of the pandemic and for that, I commend every one of us. 2020 has only reinforced how resilient we are and proven that we don’t give up that easily. Even if you just relaxed and focused on your mindfulness this year, that’s a win in my book. 

As this year comes to an end let’s continue to look on the bright side of things, make those New Year’s resolutions, if that’s what you’re into. I’ll continue learning Italian, crocheting, and working out in my living room because I tend to have more fun and can’t find a reason not to do so when I am home. Celebrate your small victories into the New Year and chapter of your life. 

This is of MASONRY has tons of interesting articles for you to dive into, our cover story features our 2020 Year in Review, we summarize some of the editorial team’s favorite articles that have run in the magazine this year. You will also find an article on retirement planning, a case study on a hospital of the future, and a workwear article focused on headgear and eyewear. 

In addition to our monthly columns, Guest Writer David Biggs is back with another interesting Marvelous Masonry that highlights the New York State Education Building, our last GEN NXT interview of this year featuring Maria Torres, and you’ll notice we reprinted the October column of the Fechino Files with the images for a better reference. I’d also like to note Mortar Net Solutions’ Masonry Apprentice Scholarship will be awarding 30 recipients in 2021 instead of 21. Last but certainly not least, this year’s Young Professionals of the Year can be found online at www.masonrymagazine.com, we appreciate all the people we interviewed thus far and cannot wait to learn more stories next year! 

Everyone on the editorial team is very excited to bring you more interesting articles and content in the New Year and can’t wait to see the New Year unfold. In the meantime, Merry Christmas, and have a safe and happy New Year from all of us at MASONRY Publications! 

Can anyone relate to how fast yet slow this year has gone thus far? Is it just me? Well, let’s be honest, during those quarantining times I’m sure everyone felt like time was going in slow motion backward. As Dan and I have mentioned before, my husband and I got married right before the state shelter in place order. Actually, it was just a few short minutes before the mandate was enforced. We were thankfully able to move into our place, and what a time to be stuck inside, I mean, quarantine as newlyweds. 

It gave a new meaning to personal space and “me time” — two things I cherish more than most things. I felt a sense of accomplishment and dread moving into a new apartment since we had to be inside pretty much 24/7. Staying on the sunnier side of this situation, it was nice being able to spend a lot of time with my new husband. But I didn’t necessarily think it would be the entire time for a little over three months. 

What I’ve noticed about this year, aside from the time warp it feels like I’ve fallen in, is that time and days still go on. Whether it was a terrible, a great, or an anti-climatic moment in time, those moments still go on and make us better. For instance, my wedding day will forever be unforgettable, not just because it was the “happiest day of my life,” but because we were still able to hold a small ceremony for our family. Time goes on, moments pass, but how I felt in that moment will always stick with me. 

The same can be said about moments throughout the year, be it COVID-19 related and dealing with all the new procedures we’re settling into, or the good, bad, and ugly moments, time goes on. I’m amazed at how resilient we are as a country and in the masonry industry- even with a pandemic, we’re still going strong. Maybe not as strong as we’d like it to be, but we’re still moving on and getting things done. 

This issue is filled with tons of great articles, following my note you’ll find a saw safety article, a workwear and gear article focused on footwear and socks — two essentials that can sometimes be taken for granted, so be sure to check this article out. We have an update from the National Masonry Instructors Association, another installation to our GEN NXT series featuring young company owner Chris Labrie, and a story on telehandler maintenance. 

Our cover story focuses on material testing, ProtectiFlex Masonry sheds light on their efforts in the masonry industry and how these masonry materials that can help resist ballistics, natural disasters, and more. There is a company profile highlighting Arch Masonry & Restoration in Pittsburgh, PA, an informative article on mortarboards — the unsung jobsite hero, and a technology-based case study on the Great Lakes’ Naval Station. Finally, you’ll find our monthly columns as well, including the new titled column Building More by Corey Adams. With all these interesting reads in this issue, we hope you enjoy reading them as much as we do! 

In the meantime, get back to enjoying the fall season and all your favorite spooky movies! 


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