From left to right: Rennie Tejeda; Richard Lauber; Robert
From left to right: Rennie Tejeda; Richard Lauber; Robert "Ducky" Baum; Milton H. "Milt" Young, II
January 24, 2017 9:00 AM CST

Five Inductees Named to Masonry Hall of Fame

Baum, Lauber, Miller, Tejeda, and Young Inducted to Masonry Hall of Fame

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On Thursday, January 19, 2017, the Mason Contractors Association of America (MCAA) inducted five individuals into the 2017 Masonry Hall of Fame class during the MCAA Convention at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in Las Vegas.

The 2017 Masonry Hall of Fame inductees included Robert "Ducky" Baum, Richard Lauber, George Miller, Rennie Tejeda, and Milton H. "Milt" Young, II.

MCAA Chairman Mike Sutter (back) presents Robert
MCAA Chairman Mike Sutter (back) presents Robert "Ducky" Baum with his Masonry Hall of Fame plaque (front, center).

Robert "Ducky" Baum

For more than sixty years, the 4th son of German immigrant Otto Baum, Robert has been a guiding force behind the growth and success of two of this countries leading masonry contracting businesses, Otto Baum Company of Ill. and Sun Valley Masonry of Ariz.

For the thousands of masonry industry careers his efforts make possible, his daily example of innovation, dedication, perseverance, loyalty, honesty, and faith are the inspiring factor.

Robert and his family's continued committed investment in the empowerment of employees to succeed helps ensure masonry industry opportunities in the future.

MCAA Chairman Mike Sutter (left) presents Richard Lauber with his Masonry Hall of Fame plaque.
MCAA Chairman Mike Sutter (left) presents Richard Lauber with his Masonry Hall of Fame plaque.

Richard Lauber

It is widely known that Dick Lauber has many accomplishments, which are a reminder of his life-long involvement in the masonry industry. These accomplishments brought about great changes and advancements that still have a great impact in the industry today.

His greatest achievement, in the mind of his peers, is the person that he is. He fought for worker safety, voiced field concerns, and improved labor relations through his dedication to doing the right thing. Not just a businessman, Dick has a true empathy for mason workers and their working environment. He was a champion for the workforce, and his dedication to improving labor relations came with a vision that all could benefit from fair labor practices. It takes vision and courage to build harmony in difficult situations, and Dick was able to set an example as he worked to standardize industry practices and improve education opportunities.

It is a real testament to a person's character when so many people speak of him with such great respect. His greatest accomplishment, by far, is his character. As a dedicated and hard-working professional, he is driven to influence the quality of work being done with masonry. In many difficult situations, he kept his beliefs intact and was a fair and balanced negotiator.

Dick Lauber is regarded as a leader, a mentor, and a friend. He has influenced many in the industry to remain humble in their actions and deeds. Dick can be counted on to make difficult decisions that are fair to all parties concerned. He is so well respected that at the end of the day his professionalism, integrity, and character become an inspiration to all those who work with him.

J & E Duff, Inc., the mason contracting firm Dick Lauber has been at the helm of for over 45 years, has been a leader in bricklayer hours worked, masonry laborers hours worked, gross sales and respect - a benchmark of success for all contractors. Dick never hesitated to speak, advise and help younger union mason contractors, and lived by the rule that an educated competitor is the best competitor. His leadership at J & E Duff, and on all the masonry related boards pushed for more education for contractors and bricklayers alike. Professionalism is a trademark of this man and everything he touches.

Labor leaders from the Bricklayer's Union, Laborers Union, and the Operating Engineers Union all have a wonderful working relationship with Dick Lauber. Dick recognized that these are not the only unions and we all have to get along. He was a founding board member of Construction Industry Service Corporation (CISCO) a labor management group that allow union and management a place to talk about their common goals and discuss industry issues.

Dick is also a founding father of the Chicagoland Construction Safety Council (CCSC) - a safety organization to train union workers in all aspects of safety. Today, the CCSC has over 25 years of experience developing training curriculum and conducting high-quality training to industry workers. In addition to the regular schedule of training courses, CCSC now offers custom design training programs to meet specific needs.

Quality, quality, quality is what drives Dick. He understands the masonry wall fails if the standards are not followed, and if short cuts are taken, the masonry industry could lose face. Things have to be done right if we are to succeed as an industry long into the future. He would say properly assembled masonry walls cannot be beat, but we must stress quality and workmanship if the future of masonry is to survive.

Accomplishments and Industry Advancements:
  • Was instrumental in merging all the apprentice schools in the Chicago area to establish a new centrally located bricklayer's apprenticeship school, the District Council Training Center, covering 9 counties. It opened in March 2002 and is considered one of the finest bricklayer apprenticeship schools in the country.
  • Trustee on the pension fund, annuity fund, and health & welfare funds for more than 30 years
  • Successfully merged the health and welfare funds in January 2010
  • Pushed for, and oversaw the Bricklayer Pension fund merger that was finalized in January 2015
Served as a Board Member:
  • Sat on Management side of the Bricklayer's "The Joint Board" as an Arbitrator since 1988
  • Mason Contractors Association of Greater Chicago for 40 years, as its President for 21 years
  • President of Mason Contractors Association of DuPage 3 years
  • Officer of the Mason Contractors Association of America for 6 years
  • Board of Directors for both International Masonry Institute and International Council of Employers
  • Masonry Advisory Council and Mason Contractors Association of Greater Chicago for more than 25 years

MCAA Chairman Mike Sutter (left) presents Jeff Buczkiewicz with the Masonry Hall of Fame plaque for George Miller.
MCAA Chairman Mike Sutter (left) presents Jeff Buczkiewicz with the Masonry Hall of Fame plaque for George Miller.

George Miller

George Miller dedicated his entire life to the masonry industry in general, and to the Mason Contractors Association of America in particular.

He began serving as the MCAA's first association executive in 1950. He was at the early organizational meetings, including that first Convention at the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island, Michigan. For more than forty years thereafter, he was at the MCAA helm.

On his watch, the MCAA went from very humble beginnings to become a highly respected specialty contractor association. Those active in the MCAA during those years can and will testify to his total dedication, and what he was able to accomplish with minimal staff (usually just a secretary).

One of the benchmarks for just how highly respected George Miller and the MCAA became, was established when he was appointed by President Nixon to serve on the Construction Industry Stabilization Committee. That appointment was a major feather in his, and MCAA's, cap. We owe George Miller much.

MCAA Chairman Mike Sutter (left) presents Rennie Tejeda with his Masonry Hall of Fame plaque.
MCAA Chairman Mike Sutter (left) presents Rennie Tejeda with his Masonry Hall of Fame plaque.

Rennie Tejeda

Rennie Tejeda has dedicated his life to the masonry industry and was actively involved for over thirty-five years. His passion for masonry and vision for the industry are what set him apart. He was a great leader in the industry, who was well-respected by both his fellow masonry contractors and the general contractors he worked and interacted with on projects. More importantly, he was a mentor to many of the younger masonry contractors who looked up to him and sought advice from him due to his experience and integrity.

In 1954, at the age of 21, Rennie started working for Charlie Meister Masonry. He worked as an apprentice bricklayer, and then quickly became a journeyman bricklayer laying brick on commercial and residential projects. He soon was promoted to a foreman bricklayer, managing jobs and running work. In 1960, he became the field superintendent for the company, overseeing the field for all of the company's projects. In 1963, Rennie and his brother Richard decided to start their own company, R&R Masonry, Inc., in North Hollywood, Calif. Rennie's role in the company was president and field superintendent, which he continued to do through the late 1990s. In addition, Rennie was active in estimating R&R Masonry's larger and more complex projects. Rennie retired from the company in 2000, with his sons, Ken and Steve, taking over the operations of the business and continuing his legacy.

Rennie has spent countless hours serving and supporting the masonry industry. He was actively involved in various masonry trade associations. He was a board member of the local Masonry Institute of America (MIA) for over 25 years and served as Chairman of the MIA from 1988-1993. Rennie also served as the Region H Vice President of the MCAA for many years, overseeing the California and Hawaii territories. Rennie was active in the California Conference of Masonry Contractors Association (CCMCA), for over thirty years. In 1978, he was elected President of the Los Angeles Chapter, and served as Chairman from 1979-1980.

In addition, Rennie was a Management Trustee for the Bricklayer's Union Trust Funds for over 25 years and also served as Chairman for various years. He was a prominent leader of the Executive Council of the Masonry Contractor's Exchange of Southern California, and was instrumental in the negotiations with the Bricklayer's and Laborer's Union for the Collective Bargaining Agreements for 30 years.

Rennie had many significant accomplishments and contributions to the masonry industry. He developed and created the Prefabricated Masonry Systems (Brick Panels) in Southern California working closely with Jeff Asher, now Principal & Chairman of KPFF Consulting Engineers, and with the Higgins Brick Company. Rennie also was instrumental in the design of specialty block - the Y block and Chevron block - working with Truestone Block Company on units used in the construction of CMU cell walls for a Correctional Facility at the Ventura County Jail. These specialty block ultimately became the standard for Correctional Facilities in the Southern California area.

Knowing the importance of safety in the industry, he worked jointly with CAL OSHA Consultation Division in California promoting safety on scaffolding and the bracing requirements of the Masonry scaffold frames.

R&R Masonry just celebrated its 53rd Anniversary last August. The company's success is directly attributed to Rennie's devotion and passion for the industry, and it is because of his strong work ethic, honesty and fairness that R&R Masonry is still flourishing today. The masonry industry is stronger because of his dedication and lifetime contributions.

MCAA Chairman Mike Sutter (left) presents Milton H.
MCAA Chairman Mike Sutter (left) presents Milton H. "Milt" Young, II with his Masonry Hall of Fame plaque.

Milton H. "Milt" Young, II

In May 1961, Milton H. "Milt" Young, II received his diploma from U.S. Jones High School in Demopolis, Alabama. In September of that same year, he enrolled at Tuskegee Institute ( now Tuskegee University). While at Tuskegee, "Milt" as he was commonly called, began studying in the Trade and Industrial Education program. His uncle, who had the same name, attended Tuskegee as well, and inspired and encouraged him to go to "skegee". Every male member of the Young Family was a construction worker by tradition (great grandfather; grandfather; father; uncle; and now little "Milt"). Carpentry was the occupation of the other relatives, but Milt decided to make "bricklaying" his occupation. While at Tuskegee, Milt developed his skills known as the, Trowel Trades. In fact, his skills were so well developed that the school's instructor often allowed him to assist in training other students. In May 1966, Milt completed all his requirements for graduation and received the Bachelor of Science Degree in Building Construction with a minor in Masonry Technology.

In September 1966, Milt's first job was working with the company of Shaker, Travis, and Quinn, (Professional Plumbers) in Poughkeepsie, New York. Duties included constructing brick piers, columns and walls of certain elevations to support the length and weight of 8", 10" and 12" pipe being installed at Vassar College (height and grades were critical points). By the spring of 1967, I. B. M. (International Business Machines) started an expansion program at their facility located on South Road outside of Poughkeepsie. Masonry subcontractors were looking for individuals with bricklaying skills and hiring "open shop" was permitted for a short time. Supervisors and foremen watched and observed workers to see how well each would handle tools and the appearance of the work. After a few days, Milt was asked to help with lay-out procedures that included some blueprint reading.

By the fall of that year, new construction was on the rise in up-state New York and the demand for masonry workers in that area encouraged Milt to relocate. Ithaca, New York was the destination and this area provided an excellent opportunity for work. Cornell University and Ithaca College had large building programs and a large student population. This area also had new shopping centers and residential construction in progress on North Tripphammer Road.

While working in this area, Milt was invited to join the I.U.B.A.C. (International Union of Bricklayers and Allied Craftworkers), local # 96 from Coming, New York. During this time, masonry sub-contractors were coming from every place including Elmira, Courtland, Binghamton, Sycrause, Albany, Rochester, and Coming, New York.

McDonald's fast food restaurants were quickly moving across the entire state of NewYork. Bass Masonry, a subcontractor from Sycrause, had the contracts for building McDonalds in other cities as well. Milt was invited to travel to each location to make certain the "Golden Arches" made especially for the front entrance could be installed without rebuilding or taking down any work. If the Golden Arches did not fit according to the required dimensions, the subcontractor was in trouble. Milt was responsible for approval of the work and acceptance of delivery of the Golden Arches. Construction across the state of New York, which provided great experience, was truly rewarding. Working with other craft workers helped to appreciate the time and efforts that were made to achieve a goal and ambition. The work lasted from 1968 - 1975.

In 1975, Milt returned to Alabama because of the unexpected and untimely death of a beloved family member. During this time, the State of Alabama was moving toward Vocational Technical Education. New training facilities were scheduled to open in the fall and people with building skills could apply for positions. The state required a degree in education to fulfill requirements for teaching; however, a person with a non-education degree could take additional course work from an institution designated to satisfy all the state requirements and recommendations.

In August 1975, Milt accepted the position of masonry instructor at Hale County Center of Technology, located in Greensboro, Alabama. While performing duties as the masonry instructor, Milt also complied with requirements and recommendations of Alabama State Department of Education by 1979 - 1980.

The American Vocational Association (AVA), held its educational meeting in Cincinnati, Ohio in the fall of 1989. There was a discussion about organizing and establishing a National Brick Masonry Instructor's Association. At this meeting, Milt was selected chairman of the committee to draft an open letter to brick masonry instructors across the country. Mr. Bill W. Weaver, the Industry Advisor from Brick Institute of America (BIA) located in Reston, Va., explained some of the concerns facing the masonry industry and encouraged the committee to move forward as quickly as possible.

The response to the open letter was overwhelming! Over one hundred fifty plus instructors all over the USA requested additional information and expressed support for this association NBMIA.

The first National Masonry Instructors Conference and Seminar was held in Myrtle Beach, S.C. during the summer of 1990. Milt was elected the first president of the association along with other officers.

South Carolina already had a State Masonry Instructors Organization along with other states. However, South Carolina pledged their support and assistance in every way. Mr. A.C. Lewis, president for the South Carolina organization and the new NBMIA president, developed a relationship and partnership with Milt that have continued until today! The secretary of the South Carolina organization was encouraged to help with written communications, correspondences and printing of information. Soon after the 1990 conference, duties and responsibilities were divided among the elected officers (secretary, treasurer, etc.). This association would serve to represent all masonry instructors from every state as well as those at correction institutions.

Milt has worked with the Alabama Instructors Association and the Alabama Department of Trade and Industrial Education to unite and promote workshops designd to support and strengthen the skills of technology instructor.

Professional development courses and training will benefit technical instructors as well as academic instructors. While serving with both the national instructors and Alabama instructors, Milt has received special awards and recognition which include the following:
  • NMIA Distinguished Service Award in Recognition of Exceptional Leadership as Charter President - 1990 - 1991
  • Alabama Masonry Instructor award for Outstanding Service in 1992
  • NMIA Excellent Leadership and Commitment Award - 1994
  • Hard Work & Support Award as Past President Alabama -1995
  • NMIA Professional Sevice Award as Secretary I Treasurer from 2001 - 2004
  • Alabama Technical Education Program of the Year Award- 2002
  • 2005 - "Retirement at Hale County Vo-Tech Center (No Awards)
  • 2008 - NMIA Hall of Fame Inductee award at Sandestin, FL

About the Masonry Hall of Fame

The Masonry Hall of Fame was created to recognize and award those individuals who have dedicated their lives to the masonry industry. Each year, nominations are accepted to recognize individuals who have had a major impact on the masonry industry, not necessarily with just the MCAA, and have been in the industry for a minimum of 25 years.

All inductees are nominated by their peers and carefully reviewed by a panel of judges. Nominees must receive two-thirds of the eligible votes in order to be accepted into the Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is held during the Closing Banquet of the MCAA Convention at the World of Concrete/World of Masonry in Las Vegas.

Nominations will for the 2018 Masonry Hall of Fame class will be accepted July 1 through October 1, 2017. Please visit www.masoncontractors.org/hall-of-fame for additional information and a full list of Masonry Hall of Fame members.


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.

 

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