5 on 5 with Artisan Masonry, Inc.
Contractor to Contractor
By Tim O’Toole
The Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) recently sat down with Bobby Gladu, President of Artisan Masonry, Inc., to discuss the history of Artisan Masonry, Inc., challenges he’s faced, and the future of the masonry industry.
MCAA: Tell us about the history of your company.
Bobby Gladu: Well, it all started with a wheel barrow and a shovel…
I still remember my first big loss; on my way to find work, my wheel barrow bounced out of my trailer on the highway, and by the time I was able to get turned around to get it back, it was gone. So I immediately started knocking door to door looking for work, something that hopefully provided the wheel barrow, of course. That was 25 years ago and now we do large scale masonry work anywhere from local high schools to 23 story commercial buildings, like the West Tower Village located in Dallas. I’m very passionate about masonry; the more intricate, the better. I can honestly say I’ve never been driven by money, but by building something we can truly be proud of. I recently included granite and marble fabrication and installation to our services that we offer to our customers as well. I love the variety and beauty that natural stone offers, which we fabricate with our automated water jet and our digital templating layouts. I’m very proud of one of our recently completed projects, a high rise project that won local and state recognition in which we were able to utilize both divisions of the company.
MCAA: What do you think has been the key to your company’s success?
Gladu: I absolutely feel the key to our success is our long tenured employees. I’ve had loyal employees since the conception 25 years ago. The continuity and cohesiveness of our team is priceless.
MCAA: What advice would you offer a budding mason contractor?
Gladu: Being a masonry contractor is one of the hardest companies to run. You have to move a myriad of materials to differing job sites and an army of men between projects. However, I don’t know of any other profession that is more rewarding. In our Texas market, we blend so many beautiful masonry products that it makes you proud driving around town looking at all of your accomplishments littering the skyline. I would tell a budding masonry contractor to have a thick skin and go for it!
MCAA: What do you feel is the masonry industry’s biggest challenge in the future?
Gladu: There are a few challenges in our market here in Texas. First, the masonry industry has to continuously work on keeping our market share by having readily available data showing that building with masonry is still the best material to build buildings with to this day. Another major concern is the immigration reform. We have a large workforce of hard working Hispanic immigrants. They make up a large percentage of our construction community and it is constantly getting harder and harder to get them to pass the stringent background checks and proper documentation. We just recently went through a growth spurt where none of my competitors could get enough men to satisfy their work needs. So continued brick laying training is vital in order to sustain our trade.
MCAA: What is your favorite aspect of being a member of the MCAA?
Gladu: The MCAA does a phenomenal job promoting our trade and supplying the continued training and tools to make all of us better contractors. From keeping us informed about new tools and products to becoming certified masonry contractors, which sets us apart from our competition and fortifies the customers decision that they hired a highly trained contractor; one that will build their project just as they envisioned.
Our national masonry association has some of the best variety of masonry business topics that we can utilize in their online webinar training. That benefits all masonry contractors, large or small or anything in between. I recommend that all masonry contractors become a member of the MCAA, I promise you will get the most return on your investment by joining this great association that champions all masonry contractors.
About the Author
Tim O’Toole is the Director of Marketing, Education, and Information Technology for the MCAA. He has a Masters in Business Administration from Webster University and has worked in the masonry industry since 2003.