Taking Education Within The Masonry Sector To A Higher Level

Words: Bryan Lloyd brings over 40 years of field experience as a mason to his role as Masonry Instructor with Arriscraft International. Prior to joining Arriscraft, Bryan owned and operated a firm specializing in custom residential stonework.  He also previously was a partner in a commercial masonry company. He has developed working relationships with industry associations and unions; being asked to provide guidance and training to apprentices and experienced masons across North America. His vast “hands-on” experience qualifies him to provide exceptional training in all aspects of masonry work with Arriscraft products. This experience has led him to not only refine and develop new products for Arriscraft, but for other allied manufacturers as well. Brian Lloyd’s Training Program focuses on optimizing installation efficiencies to assist with the bidding process​, ​understanding the layup patterns of Arriscraft building stone masonry​, ​site cutting and finishing ends​ and ​guidelines for detailing​.​ The climate of American business is ever changing. The construction sector, whether residential or commercial, is no exception. Whether it’s a builder, a developer, a dealer, or a homeowner, the selection of exterior cladding should be based upon appropriate product knowledge and hiring competent installation contractors with tomorrow’s skills. Doing so will positively impact overall industry economic growth. When it comes to the masonry industry, “There are a lot of lost skills,” stated Bryan Lloyd, Lead Mason Instructor at Arriscraft. “Stonework has evolved into somewhat of a lost art. Modern bricklayers aren’t trained in some of the older methods… procedures that still work and exemplify why we still have buildings standing, which are many centuries old. “It’s also important to introduce new techniques to older, highly experienced tradespeople, too,” continued Bryan. “Especially when it comes to thin stone and bricks. For example, thin material right now is doubling its market share, getting bigger and bigger. As a result, installation processes for this type of material are constantly refining and improving. Professionals in the field should be teaching old dogs new tricks. And conversely, they should teach new dogs old tricks, as well!” The big questions: Are industry professionals up-to-date on the myriad of benefits offered by the latest and greatest manufactured stone and materials? Are they just as knowledgeable about how to install and maintain these products? Are architects and designers being taught nearly as much about product performance as they are about their aesthetics? Clearly, education is key within the exterior cladding arena. It’s no question that the more one learns, ultimately the more he or she earns. The next questions: Whose responsibility is it to conduct cogent training sessions to ensure that, for example, what the buyer has purchased, once installed, will perform correctly? Who has to make sure their contractors are using tomorrow’s installation techniques and not yesterday’s? Who has the very big responsibility to do whatever it takes in letting anyone and everyone know the score about newer products they’re bringing to market? Arriscraft, a company that specializes in the production of manmade stone cladding materials, doesn’t just want to dabble in offering educational programs. “We want to take a leadership role relative to education,” declared Bryan Lloyd. “There are new developments and new products launching all the time,” he stated. The average mason is in their 50s. He/she doesn’t want to go back to school to learn new techniques, so companies such as ours must bring these to them. A professional sales force has its knowledge and training capabilities to use as marketing tools. Personnel from that team should be at every jobsite to ensure everyone knows the product and the technology involved for optimal installation.” “Salespeople should be experts on what they’re selling,” Bryan continued. “That’s a no brainer. But we want even more. Internally, we want as many people as possible within our organization to understand what we’re selling, what benefits are offered by these materials - to learn as much as they can”. Training sessions can range from new product introductions to training contractors on cutting-edge installation techniques. Bryan stated that these could involve as little as 2 or 3 “students” or as many as 30-40, depending on location and focus. These sessions may take place onsite, in sales offices, at architect’s offices or professional trade schools. Basically anywhere. These cross-country training sessions, according to Bryan, range from uncertified/self-taught tradesmen, apprentices, journeymen, builders, owners, architects, engineers, as well as site superintendents. Many times, while being organized by one supplier, the “instructors” may be a team of experts from different companies, each offering their unique expertise. “For example, when conducting a hands-on workshop for thin building stone, not only can our representative be teaching there, but also, representatives from other suppliers such as providers of adhesives, cutting materials and other tools related to this type of material,” stated Bryan. The task to educate most everyone within their sphere of influence is daunting, to say the least. But people like Bryan Lloyd of Arriscraft know that an unselfish education program benefits many. Product knowledge and subsequent acceptance help not just the educator’s company, but also the entire industry, to grow exponentially.
Words and Photos: Arriscraft
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