NCMCA Apprentice Skills Contest
Twenty-year-old Jaime Salas of Brodie Contractors in Raleigh is the new North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association (NCMCA) Masonry Apprentice Skills Contest Champion for 2004. Salas finished first in a field of 31 apprentices from 10 NCMCA member firms at the May 22nd contest at General Shale Brick's Lee County Plant in Sanford, N.C.
Salas won what very well may be the toughest apprentice contest in the nation. This year's contestants included Matthew Botts, who won the contest in 2003 and went on to win the Masonry Contractor Association of America International Apprentice Skills Contest at Las Vegas earlier this spring; Garrett Hood, who won the NCMCA contest in 2002 and has won state and national high school masonry titles; and Cody Alward, who is a state and national high school masonry champion and who won the N.C. Department of Labor State Fair Masonry Apprentice Contest in 2002. Several of the other contestants previously placed well in various apprentice contests, including Salas himself, who finished the 2003 NCMCA contest in fourth place.
Rounding out the top 10 were:
Second place - Grant Hartsell, McGee Brothers, Monroe
Third place - Garrett Hood, McGee Brothers, Monroe
Fourth place - Marco Gracia, Gates Construction, Mooresville
Fifth place - Mark McGee, McGee Brothers, Monroe
Sixth place - Jamie McDermitt, Gates Construction, Mooresville
Seventh place - Brian Mosteller, Masonry Unlimited, Cherryville
Eighth place - Jose Hernandez, Gates Construction, Mooresville
Ninth place - Matthew Botts, Masonry Unlimited, Cherryville
Tenth place - Cody Alward, Alward Masonry, Rockwell
Hartsell, the second-place finisher, actually tied Salas' score but lost on the predetermined tiebreaker.
Contestants were given two hours to complete a predetermined project later scored for plumb, level, square and range, measurement, correct design, manipulation, tooling and neatness, full joints, and production. NCMCA Past President Doug Burton of Whitman Masonry in Benson served as head judge. Scores ranged from 152 to 164 points out of a possible 180.
As the winner, Salas was presented the "David R. Sigmon Award," $600 in cash, an MK Diamond masonry saw and a wheelbarrow full of tools.
NCMCA members' firms provided approximately $10,000 worth of tools and cash, which was divided among all the contestants. Members also donated equipment, labor and materials.
Contest Chairman Wayne Starr of Griffin Contractors in Morganton expressed appreciation to host General Shale Brick, the NCMCA Sandhills Chapter and to all of the sponsors of the contest for helping to make the event a success.
The NCMCA has membership of some 200 companies affiliated with nine local chapters around the state. For more information about the association, please visit www.ncmca.com.
About the Author
Masonry, the official publication of the Mason Contractors Association of America, covers every aspect of the mason contractor profession - equipment and techniques, building codes and standards, business planning, promoting your business, legal issues and more. Read or subscribe to Masonry magazine at www.masonrymagazine.com.