2019 Year in Review


Words: MASONRY Magazine 
 Photos: AMS Merlo, Bruce Starrenburg, CAD BLOX, Colby Breithaupt, EaCo Chem, Evan Schroeder, Direct Design Software, Interstate Brick, Iron Age, John Deere, Kelby Thornton, MagnaReady, Manitou, MASONRY Magazine, Natltaly Razo, NCCER, Toro, Trimble Solutions, EZG Manufacturing, Red Wing Shoes, Vectorworks   

We know you love masonry as much as we do. As we look back on the thousands of pages of content produced throughout 2019, there are many articles to choose from, but we have carefully curated a list of pieces that best represent the interests of the industry throughout the year. If you missed any of these and are interested in reading more, they can all be found online. This has been an exciting year, and as we transition to a digitally-driven publication in 2020, we are always striving to bring you up-to-date industry information, magnificent case studies, and an in-depth look at masonry trends.  


The masonry industry is a fascinating one. As one of the world’s earliest and longest enduring professions, there have been a lot of changes in recent years to the way professionals are conducting their business. This year, we have worked hard to accurately report on several industry events covering the state of the current industry, as well as future endeavors, and we are thrilled to spotlight some of our favorite recaps.  

WOC Recap 

World of Concrete 2019 was truly one for the record books! This year’s convention was held January 21st-25th and was one to remember. From Masonry Madness on Wednesday, January 23rd to the South of 40 event Tuesday, January 22nd, to the Hall of Fame dinner Thursday, January 24th, there was certainly something for everyone.  

Bruce Starrenburg Photography for MCAA

Since World of Concrete/World of Masonry is such a big event, we wanted to make sure you didn’t miss a thing- so we gave you two articles, one that recapped the events of the convention and the other that covered the competition. Both of these articles provided event details and competition breakdowns. These recaps ran in March, which we designated our World of Concrete Recap issue. With an event as large World of Concrete, there was no doubt it was going to be included in our review!   

The State of Masonry: June 2019  

We have introduced many new concepts, themes, and ideas over the past 11 months, and our benchmark survey series is one of those things. We hope to provide key insight into this multi-billion-dollar industry, from the power of our dollar to equipment purchases and more. June issue included the very first State of Masonry article in this important series, where we outline the compiled data for our readers to see.  

We outline all of the information based on each respondent type, their role in the company, and their responses while providing comprehensive charts and infographics along the way for you to better visualize the information. If you missed this extensive article on our findings, be sure to check it out online or in your June issue.  

Legislative Fly-in Recap  

We had another successful Legislative Fly-In conference, where attendees enjoyed a tour of the Federal Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and a night bus tour around the Capitol, before the meetings were fully underway. This year we awarded two House Representatives and two State Senators with our MCAA Freedom and Prosperity Award. Attendees also spoke with their respective state representatives and senators with this year’s designated talking points.  

If you missed this article, or couldn’t make it out to Washington D.C., take a look at the whole article in our July issue. We’re looking forward to seeing you at next year’s Legislative Fly-In, so keep an eye out for more information!  

Midyear Recap  

Every year the MCAA’s Midyear Meeting is held in a different state. This year, the meeting was held in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, in the historic Omni Mount Washington Resort on September 8-11, 2019. There were a ton of activities to do at the resort, from a paint and sip party to ziplining, hiking, golf, and much more.  

Aside from all the fun to be had, the MCAA conducted its Masonry Foundation Meeting, the MAC PEC golf outing, Speed Dating, Contractor Round Table discussion, and the MCAA Safety Advantage Awards. To read the full article, be sure to check out the previous issue for more information and to see where next year’s Midyear Meeting will be.  


A New Beginning for the Masonry Foundation 

The MCAA was founded to support the mission of giving back and serving the masonry community through a combination of outreach, service, and education to all members. In the spirit of giving, the Masonry Foundation has established a committee solely to process grant requests from industry members. The Foundation will fund initiatives focused on important topics like workforce development, education and training programs, and industry research.  

Since the publication of this article in the August issue, several requests were granted later this year. Those initiatives include the Masonry Institute of Iowa’s Workforce Development Program for Prisons, and Texas Masonry Council’s Construction Digital Campaign. If you’re interested in learning more about how the MCAA is putting these funds to work, or if you would like to pledge a donation to the foundation or submit your own grant request, visit the MCAA website or contact Todd at tfredrick@masoncontractors.org.  

MCAA Association Health Plan - Live January 1, 2019  

While we are in the midst of 2019’s open enrollment period and insurance coverage is on the minds of many employees and company owners, we felt it was especially important to remind our readers about the health care plan options available and afforded to them through MCAA membership. The interest in the health care topic has certainly grown throughout the year and this article, along with our updates, have given our members and readers plenty of information on the potential savings the MCAA Association Health Plan can provide.  

This article was one of the first articles of the New Year, was the cover story of the January issue, and was the talk of the town at World of Concrete. It is also this year’s Article of the Year, so if you missed it in January, or if you need a refresher, be sure to check it out in this issue’s reprint.  

MCAA Masonry Hall of Fame 2019: A Sit Down With Four Inductees   

We sat down with the four of the 2019 MCAA Hall of Fame Inductees at World of Concrete in Las Vegas on January 24. It was an honor to interview Alonza “AC” Lewis, Angelo Tedesco, Kenny Foeste, and Mike Sutter and to learn and share their stories and legacies in the masonry industry. Each interview was recorded and made available on Youtube, as well as featured in our World of Concrete Recap issue.  

Each inductee interviewed was able to tell his story, their experience in the industry, and give us their best pieces of advice. It was undoubtedly a fantastic experience to sit down with the MCAA’s legends in masonry. If you missed their interviews and this article, check out the March issue.  

MCAA Membership Perks 

There are many benefits or perks to being an MCAA member. Aside from the obvious perks of networking and support of the industry, there is a whole program available to members that offer discounts on various products and services that are currently being used on a daily basis.  

Savings on fuel costs and mobile phone services are just two ways members can save money. This article, which ran in the August issue, details the MCAA Perks Program and the potential savings that are included. As a publication, we want to inform our readers of available innovations, regulations, and in this particular case, savings. Read more about the MCAA’s Perks Program, and see where you potentially save money. If you have questions, feel free to call Todd Fredrick of the MCAA at 800-536-2225.  

Workforce Development  

As most of you know, workforce development is a hot topic that is near to our hearts, because without growth in the industry, masonry will eventually be used and seen less and less. This year we covered the workforce topic at least once a quarter and decided to provide you with the top three popular articles in our Year in Review. Take a look and see if your favorite is listed. If you didn’t get a chance to read any of these articles, be sure to do so!  

EaCo Chem Training at Penn College of Tech  

In an effort to strengthen the workforce in the construction industry, Pennsylvania College of Technology’s Building Construction Technology Department offers associate and bachelor’s degrees in this field. Coursework like general masonry principles, stone masonry, fireplace construction, and structural masonry systems are offered to students interested in pursuing a career in construction.  

Students have the opportunity to take a coursework load that focuses heavily on the final stages of masonry, which happens following graduation. EaCo Chem and Penn College partnered in the hopes to educate students on the various techniques of preserving and restoring masonry in order to fully prepare future masons and construction workers. This was one of the more popular articles from our February issue. Don’t receive our magazines regularly? Be sure to check this story our online or flip back to our February issue.  

Western Specialty Contractors Plans for its Future Through Recruitment 

Western Specialty Contractors created an internship program in the hopes of developing qualified employees to fill management positions long term. This mason contractor company makes visits to colleges and universities, offering students first-hand perspective into the restoration construction and preventative waterproofing field. Students are given the opportunity to gain more than just work experience.   

Each student is assigned a supervisor to work within his or her respective personalized training program that consists of several tasks based on the desired area of study and work. This story was featured in our May issue, be sure to read more about this useful program that is certainly helping to grow the industry.  

A Key Ingredient Missing From Today’s Younger Workforce by Corey Adams 

Our new Columnist, Corey Adams, writes about different hot topics in the industry. However, his column from the October issue seemed to really take off with our readers. His focus on what’s missing from our younger workforce really puts the issue into perspective. Comparing the evolution of video games and the growth in popularity is very effective.  

From generation to generation the trends seem to change, and you know what they say, change comes with the times. The pressing question is, how do we continue to grow the oldest form of construction each year? Corey believes companies have to adapt to the times and continue to learn different ways to attract and retain young employees. Check out his article for more information, it is available online and in our October issue.    


Without brick, block, and mortar, there are no masons. These materials are the foundational elements of masonry construction, and although the classic brick is seemingly as old as time, there is always room for innovation. In order to help you, our readers, provide the best possible results for your clients, we have covered a variety of interesting and informative articles in our recap to refresh your memory as we move into the new year. If you missed any of these great reads, be sure to check them out online.  

Resiliency: Ballistics Pt. 1  

This is a topic that we know makes some people uncomfortable, but the fact remains that in this day and age we live in a world where ballistic resistant building materials are not only innovative but necessary. We spoke with Don Sackett and Steven Judd of Interstate Brick to discuss the testing of their reinforced brick products. While the testing had to, unfortunately, be suspended for the safety of those at the testing site, they were still able to gather valuable data that they shared with us so we could better educate our readers on the potential applications of this innovative material.  

We also learned a bit about the reinforced brick itself, and how it came to be a real-life product after many rounds of concept and development. This October article was eye-opening for many of our readers, some of whom had never heard of such a product before. If you missed it, be sure to flip back to your October issue before you check out Part 2 in this one, where we cover the second round of testing and final product results.  

Designing and Adhered Masonry Veneer- Part 2 

Guest Writer and 2020 Columnist for MASONRY, Steven Fechino wrote an informative four-part article series on weather-resistant barriers for adhered masonry veneers. This series was very popular online. However, the second installment was read a bit more closely by our online community. In this article, the most common weather barriers in residential projects were the point of discussion by Fechino.  

He covers each step and aspect of this process, from house wraps, to drainage planes, to the types of felt and grades of paper to use. This part of this article series was featured in our September issue. If you missed this series, be sure to check all the articles out online or in the August - November issues.  

The Mystery of the Wandering Drip Edge   

The idea of a mystery involving masonry can be a bit off-putting, but in this article’s case, it was downright entertaining. Robert Haukohl and David Fortino give us their experience in the case of the wandering drip edge. Aside from disbelief and confusion, the building with the wandered drip edge presented tons of questions, tests, and a barrage of solutions.  

This interesting article provided us with a breakdown of the issue, an industry-standard detailing, observation details, and the solution. All in all, a great read for industry professional and mystery lovers. If you missed this story in our June issue, be sure to read it.  


Safety is always one of the first thoughts as contractors send masons out on jobsite. From dangerous heights, heavy machinery, and caustic chemicals, masonry professionals come into contact with many potential hazards on a daily basis as they work. As a result, articles regarding safety education and best practices always perform well in our publications. It was difficult to only choose four, but we are confident that each of these articles is definitely worth revisiting. Looking to focus harder on safety in the New Year? Check out our MCAA webinars!  

The Importance of Regular Safety Meetings Q&A  

As you know, our Q&A series is one of our more popular article types. It gives us the chance to voice the experiences of contractors in the field while answering questions we all have. Therefore, we definitely had to include one of the more popular topics of this series. We spoke with 2018’s MCAA Safety Advantage Award Winners Paul Cantarella, Jr. and Brandon Hartsell on the subject of regular safety meetings. They provided us with tips and best practices when it comes to safety, and ensuring everyone goes home to their families and loved ones at the end of every day. Read more about safety meetings and their role in the field day-to-day.  

Safety and Efficiency, Can They Coexist?  

Safety is paramount on every single jobsite, every hour of every day. When it comes to ensuring the well-being of mason contractors, extra care must be given in particular when working with power tools like saws. In June, we shared our conversation with Sarah Hurtado and Paul Guth of iQ Power Tools where we picked their brains for advice on the best practices to observe when working with saws on the jobsite.  

When it comes to saws, advises Hurtado and Guth, the only way to ensure a combination of safety and efficiency is proper planning, organization, and education. By walking through the jobsite and visualizing what can be improved and then implementing improvements gradually, mason contractors may enjoy greater success when it comes to maintaining a smoother and safer workday for all employees. This is a must-read for anyone who is concerned about safety and heavy machinery on the jobsite, so be sure to check it out if you missed it the first time around.   

Scaffold Safety  

When it comes to scaffolding safety, there are so many do’s and don’ts that it can be difficult to keep them all straight when you’re 80 feet above the ground. With that in mind, we were sure that including an article on Scaffold Safety in our September issue this year would be very well received, and it was indeed. Written by David Glabe, P.E., a Director for the Scaffold & Access Industry Association (SAIA), this article covered a wide range of topics relating to scaffolding safety and a number of things to keep in mind when working on or around this type of equipment.  

With recommendations for proper platform size, methods and best practices to avoid electrocution, and falling object protection suggestions among other useful information, this was an easy choice to include in our Year in Review. Thanks to this in-depth look at scaffold safety, we know that mason contractors around the country may be a little bit safer on the jobsite. If you missed this one, we highly recommend you head over and check it out on our website.  

Height Safety 

In November, we shared an article based on our conversations with Ken Hebert from Malta Dynamics and Jocelyn Durant of Pure Safety Group. When it comes to height safety, these two professionals are some of the best and offered excellent advice that we were very excited to share with our readers. We discussed proper anchoring procedures, best practices for calculating swing clearance, and a number of recommendations for proper equipment and personal fall arrest systems.  

Mason contractors will inevitably have to work at significant heights at times if the job requires it, and it is only through education and strict adherence to height safety protocols that they will be kept safe from this unavoidable jobsite hazard. If you’re brushing up on your training for this year, be sure to give this informative article another look.  


Equipment is used daily in the masonry industry, from little forklifts and skid steers to larger telehandler and mast climbers and more. Previously, we’ve covered everything from mast climbers, telehandlers, and the importance of skid steers, just to name a few. We want you, our readers, to be in the know and up to date with new products, trends, and innovations. Here are our top four articles from 2019- are one or all of your favorites listed?  

Telehandler Spec Off  

Vehicle fleet with construction machinery of building or mining company

In the construction industry, a mason or construction worker is only as good as his or her tools. In the September issue, we did our first Jobsite Vehicle Spec Off where we compared various vehicles from smaller compact telehandlers or forklifts to larger telehandlers that have a max load capacity of 10,000 pounds.  

We examined various makes and models of telehandler and compact vehicles to provide you, our readers, with a comprehensive list of vehicles that may fit your job types. We highlighted lift capacity at max height in pounds, max reach, engine power, and the warranty to give a broad picture of what the vehicles can do. In addition, we also provided a comprehensive list of cab specs for your comparison. If you missed this article this year, check it out in the September issue or MASONRY’s website.  

The Restoration Advantage  

Anchors are considered to be one of the many integral parts of the masonry wall system and all anchors are not created equal. The old phrase, “knowledge is power” couldn’t be truer when it comes to the masonry industry, especially when your bottom line is involved. Knowing the different uses of the various anchors can make a significant impact and overall difference when building any masonry wall. 

Guest writer Stephen Franks outlines how to effectively use anchors in the restoration process. He outlines the proper way to use anchors during this detailed procedure from start to finish. Get the tips and steps for the best practices for anchor use with restoration. If you missed it in our May issue, be sure to do so now!   

Wheels vs. Tracks: Choosing the Right Powered Buggy  

Jobsite portability and efficiency are some of the keys to a job running smoothly. So, in the August issue, we covered the various styles of mixers and delivery systems. Since every job and company are different, equipment is not one-size-fits-all, especially when it comes to mixers and delivery systems.  

This story provided insight into Toro’s powered buggy systems, while EZG provided critical information on what you should know before purchasing a mixer. Even if you’re not in the market for a new mixer, you can certainly brush up on the new equipment that’s available. If you missed this article in the August issue, read it now or check it out online.  

Innovations in Workwear  

Workwear is another topic we like to cover in the magazine, especially with so many different innovations and options out there to choose from. In July, we wanted to give you an update on the innovations in workwear and gear from heavy-duty boots to accessible shirts. We outlined the rugged-yet comfortable boots that have been released for purchase since the original publication of this article and introduced a new shirt that is accessible to wear and is OSHA compliant.  

Red Wing Shoes and Iron Age Brand provided key insight into their sturdy boot that still provide the cushion and support that every mason or construction worker needs on a jobsite, and MagnaReady was originally born out of the necessity for the president and founder’s husband.  Maura Horton has created a brand that has grown to be a perfect adaptive item for those who struggle to button their shirts, which doubles as a quick release if caught while working on the jobsite. Missed this story in our July issue? Check it out for more innovations in workwear.  


The use of technology in the industry is constantly growing, from the crew management software tools to the 3D designing tools. Available options are endless when it comes to day-to-day use of technology. Here are our top three software articles- take a look and see if any of your favorites made it to this review!  

Direct Design Software, Clear, Precise, Direct 

Guest writers Russ Peterson and Jason Thompson give us a walkthrough on NCMA’s design software Direct Design. They outline the disadvantage masonry has compared to other wall systems, with the solution to this problem being the Direct Design software created specifically for the masonry industry. 

This software has the ability to build masonry from the ground up by providing calculations and trial designs, just to name a few of its useful functions. Russ and Jason also provide step-by-step directions on how to use this intuitive program. For more information on the Direct Design software, be sure to read the article online- especially if you missed it in our June issue.  

Constructible BIM for Masonry: Estimate, Plan and Build  

In the November issue, we had another BIM-M update written by Guy Erickson and Jarod Beaman of Trimble. They provided insight into the best practices when using this application and how to best maximize the performance of this masonry tool. By giving you a rundown of uses of the application, from estimation to utilization in the field, users have a better idea of how things will play out.  

Guy and Jarod also give us an in-depth look at the CMU tools that are offered through the Trimble application, along with how to use them. If you missed this article or want to refresh your memory, flip back to the November issue or check it out online.  

Real-Time Renderings Become Reality with Vectorworks and Lumion LiveSync   

For our final article in our review, we found our Vectorworks and Lumion LiveSync article was a very popular read on our social media channels. Being able to see renderings in real-time with 3D capabilities can really help to prevent issues that come up during the build. Landscape Architect Eric Berg outlines the uses of Vectorwork’s software and how it can be tied into designing and construction hardscaping.  

Eric outlines the advantages of the software while providing various projects as examples. Time is money, so the opportunity to save time and easily organize tasks, projects, and images are other useful features offered by software like this one. This story ran in our September special edition issue that featured both MASONRY and MASONRY Design articles. Check out this article online or flip back to the magazine if you missed it.  

With 2019 coming to a close and 2020 upon us, we’d like to thank you, our readers, for your continued support! It is an absolute pleasure working hard for you, the hard-working mason, laborer, and contractor. We hope you enjoyed this year’s issues, and remember, be on the lookout for new things to come with the New Year.  



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