The NCMCA Metrolina Chapter celebrated its “Annual Recognition Night” at the end of October. Students, apprentices, and instructors from the Charlotte area who have achieved masonry competition success in the past year, along with their guests, were hosted for dinner and awards. Pictured top, left to right, Rodney Harrington, instructor at West Rowan High School, the school that received the Douglas Drye Overall Best Program Award for the 2019 NC SkillsUSA State Masonry Competitions and instructor for two 2019 National Champions; Drew Huntley, Huntley Brothers Company, second place at both the 2019 Sam McGee Memorial and the Annual State Fair Contests; Jace Huntley, Huntley Brother Company, First Place/David R. Sigmon Award, Sam McGee Contest; Wade Taylor, Huntley Brothers Company, First Place 66th Annual NC State Fair Masonry Apprentice Contest; Grant Helms, Helms Masonry/West Rowan High School, 2019 National High School SkillsUSA Masonry Champion and Second Place at the Las Vegas MCAA International Skills Challenge; Justice Isenhour, Helms Masonry, Fifth Place in both the Sam McGee Memorial and the Annual State Fair Contests; Todd Hartsell, Central Cabarrus High School and USA Team WorldSkills Masonry Expert; NCMCA President Kent Huntley who accepted the “David R. Sigmon” traveling plaque on behalf of Huntley Brothers Company for the fourth consecutive year for having the winning apprentice at the Sam McGee Memorial Contest; and Metrolina Chapter President Brandon Hartsell. Bottom, left to right, Reese Hallman, Third Place, Sam McGee Memorial Contest and Zachary Smith, Fourth Place, Annual NC State Fair Contest, both of McGee Brothers Company; the new Southeast Concrete Masonry Association (SCMA) NC SkillsUSA traveling Championship Trophy, presented to West Rowan High School for 2019; Ashton White, University of North Carolina at Charlotte, 2019 National Post-Secondary SkillsUSA Masonry Champion (for the second consecutive year;) JK Huntley, Huntley Brothers Company, Winner Third Year Division, MCAA International Masonry Skills Competition, Las Vegas; Kelby Thornton, USA Team/Masonry, 2019 Russia WorldSkills Competition; and NCMCA Workforce Development & Training Coordinator, Ryan Shaver.

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NCMCA members and friends contributed over $9,000 in cash for tools and expenses, plus materials and equipment for October’s 66th Annual North Carolina State Fair Masonry Apprentice Skills Contest sponsored by ApprenticeshipNC. Thirty apprentices from ten NCMCA member companies participated, along with two high school masonry student alternates. Volunteers spent a Sunday afternoon and all day Monday setting up the contest, tending the contest, judging and scoring the contest, and cleaning up the contest. 

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Wade Taylor, an apprentice with Huntley Brothers Company, is the Champion of the 66th Annual North Carolina State Fair Masonry Apprentice Skills Contest held in October at the state fairgrounds in Raleigh. Pictured, top, left to right, Contest Head Judge Doug Burton; Contest Chairman Calvin Brodie; Second Place finisher Drew Huntley of Huntley Brothers Company; Wade Taylor; Third Place finisher Esequiel Gayton of Brodie Contractors; Kathryn Castelloes, Director of Apprenticeship, NC Community Colleges; and David Smith, Senior Deputy Commissioner of the NC Department of Agriculture. Bottom, left to right, Ryan Shaver, NCMCA Workforce Development & Training Coordinator; Fourth Place finisher Zachary Smith of McGee Brothers Company; and Justice Isenhour, Fifth Place, Helms Masonry. Thirty-two contestants and ten NCMCA companies participated.

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In July, NCMCA gathered several of our more “senior” industry leaders for a session to record their thoughts and recollections about the evolution of the industry and their stories about the larger-than-life personalities masonry has produced here in the Carolinas. Participants included, left to right, NCMCA’s Ryan Shaver; Charles Newsome (82,) past-president of both the Southeast Concrete Masonry Association (CCMA) and the National Concrete Masonry Association, recently retired from Johnson Concrete Products/Carolina Stalite after fifty years with the firm; Jimmy Harrell (80,) journeyman mason, respected material supplier, masonry consultant and a past president of the Southeast Concrete Masonry Association, who hosted the meeting at his home in Stoneville; NCMCA President Kent Huntley; and NC State University School of Architecture Professor Patrick Rand, who worked with both Harrell and Newsome when they all served together on the board of the NC State Design Guild. Curtis Laughlin (89,) retired from Carolina Quality Block and a member of the National Concrete Masonry Association’s Hall-of-Fame joined in the session via speakerphone. An edited version of the recording session will soon be available as part of the NCMCA archive collection.

In June, Ashton White (fifth from left) made history at Louisville becoming the first woman to repeat as National Gold Medal Champion at the 2019 SkillsUSA Masonry Competition. She won the post-secondary title in 2018 and has won again in 2019. North Carolina had a sweep of the Louisville masonry competitions with Grant Helms (sixth from left) winning the Gold Medal in the high school division. With the 2019 wins, North Carolina’s national medal count now stands at 38 Gold, 15 Silver, and two Bronze. Ashton and Grant are instructed by Rodney Harrington at West Rowan High School.  Pictured left to right, Daniel Furr, Carolina Stalite; Tim O'Toole, Mason Contractors Association of America; Jesus Ruiz of Arizona, third place, Post Secondary; Khalif Collins, Sr. of Georgia, second place, Post Secondary; Ashton White; Grant Helms; Jose Jaquez-Valles of Delaware, second place, Secondary; Dylan Cates of Oklahoma, third place, Secondary; and NCMCA’s Ryan Shaver, contest co-chairman. Photograph by Al Herndon.  Additional pictures from the 2019 conference, CLICK HERE 

NCMCA traveled to Stoneville in June to visit with Jimmy Harrell who for years served the industry as a journeyman mason and contractor, as a material supplier, as a leader of what is now the Southeast Concrete Masonry Association, as chairman of the NC State College of Design Foundation Guild, the masonry representative for what is now SkillsUSA, and as an instructor for masonry workshops of all types, including the NCMCA Masonry Contractor Certification Program classes. Pictured left to right, NCMCA Workforce Development & Training Coordinator Ryan Shaver, Harrell, and NCMCA Executive Vice President Lynn Nash. For the industry historic archives, Jimmy presented NCMCA with his official “VICA” red jacket including many years’ worth of VICA/SkillsUSA conference pins. Jimmy was chairman of the national masonry competition in 1993 when Ryan Shaver won the national masonry title as a student of Doug Drye at Mount Pleasant High School. Photo by Aubrie Stoneman

Nineteen-year-old Huntley Brothers Company apprentice Jace Huntley is the 2019 Champion of the NCMCA Annual Samuel A. McGee Memorial Masonry Apprentice Skills Contest and takes home the prestigious David R. Sigmon Award for best score in the competition. The May contest was held at Triangle Brick Company in Durham, the host for the event. The “third time is the charm” for Jace. He competed in the 2017 and 2018 contests, finishing in eighth place in 2018. 2019 completes his eligibility for the McGee contest. Winning the McGee competition earns Jace the opportunity to represent North Carolina at the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) International Skills Competition in February 2020 at the Las Vegas World of Concrete. Jace is the son of Chet and Donna Huntley. Jace began working for Huntley Brothers at age sixteen when he graduated high school. His supervisor is Robbie Watson and Chaney Huntley is his foreman. Jace works as an assistant foreman. 2019 marks four consecutive years that Huntley Brothers Company has fielded the McGee Memorial winning apprentice. 

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