Olalde is 2012 NC State Fair champ
59th Annual NC Department of Labor State Fair Apprentice Masonry Skills contest
By Lynn Nash
Twenty-three-year-old Fernando Olalde, an apprentice with Brodie Contractors in Raleigh, is the Champion of the 2012 NC Department of Labor State Fair Masonry Apprentice Skills Contest.
Brodie Contractors apprentices came away with the top two spots with company apprentice Juan Rodriguez claiming second place.
Third Place Finisher was Kelton McGee of McGee Brothers Company; Fourth Place Finisher Landon Huntley, Huntley Brothers Company; and Fifth Place Finisher Jacob Eudy of McGee Brothers Company.
Daniel Furr of Mount Pleasant High School finished “First” in the newly created high school/pre-apprentice division followed respectively with Rodolfo Trujillo of West Rowan High in Second Place and Jacob Sides of West Stanly High in Third Place.
Ten high school masonry students from eight high schools and 13 apprentices from five NCMCA member companies participated.
New Champion Fernando Olalde is from Durham by way of Guanajuato, Mexico. Fernando has worked for Brodie Contractors six years and has been a masonry apprentice for one year. He worked as a laborer (specifically as a scaffold erector) during those previous five years. Fernando is being trained to be a full-time mason on-site by his long-time foreman Joe Torres. Joe’s pre-contest advice to his apprentice: “Don’t look around you! Pay attention only to what you know how to do best. If you do what I know you can do, then you can win this thing.” At the contest, Fernando was glad to see second place finisher Juan Rodriguez of Brodie Contractors participating; they have worked together a few times over the past year.
Outside of masonry, Fernando’s main hobby is playing recreational soccer on the weekends. According to Joe, he is “really good!” He is currently single but has family in the Durham area. He attended high school is the Durham area.
As of now, Fernando does not know what he is going to do with the prize money. The contest and actually winning was “a good experience” according to Fernando, however, he was back at work that following Tuesday after the competition on a wall at the Raleigh NCSU Centennial Campus Student Housing site.
2012 marks the 59th year for the NC State Fair Masonry Apprentice Contest. Four past state fair contest winners were recognized at the awards ceremony: 2011 winner Kale Hallman of McGee Brothers Company; 2010 Champion, Wriston McGee of McGee Brothers Company; 2009 winner Rhett Hallman, McGee Brothers Company; 1992 winner Ryan Shaver (C.M. Allmon Masonry,) now the masonry instructor at Mount Pleasant High School; and 1979 winner Darrell Hinshaw (Robertson & Son Masonry Contractors,) Popes Masonry.
Past Presidents Calvin Brodie chaired the event and Doug Burton served as head judge.
At the risk of inadvertently omitting a contributor, the following provided financial sponsorship, tool prizes, and/or materials for the 2012 contest: Central Piedmont, Eastern Carolina, Metrolina, Raleigh, Triad, and Western Carolina Chapters; Adams Products, an Oldcastle company; BIA-SE; Brodie Contractors; Custom Brick & Supply Company; Holcim (US) Inc.; Kirby Construction Services; Marshalltown Tools; New South Construction Supply; Pinnacle Masonry; Pyramid Masonry Contractors, Inc.; The Quikrete Companies; Triad Supply & Rental; Triangle Brick; and Whitman Masonry.
NCMCA firms and members provided more than $4,000 in cash, tools and materials for the contest. Each contestant was given a tool bag full of quality masonry tools.
NC Commissioner of Labor Cherie Berry was on hand to congratulate and greet the contestants. In her comments, she spoke of apprenticeship as “the other four-year degree” and reminded the apprentices that their jobs can’t be shipped overseas.
About the Author
Lynn Nash is the Executive Vice President for the North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association.