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August 4, 2005 2:20 PM CDT

NCMCA Annual Apprentice Masonry Skills Contest


The NCMCA Masonry Apprentice Skills Contest was held on May 21.
The NCMCA Masonry Apprentice Skills Contest was held on May 21.

Twenty-year-old Joshua Morrison of McGee Brothers Company in Monroe is the new North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association (NCMCA) Masonry Apprentice Skills Contest Champion for 2005. Morrison finished first in a field of 31 apprentices from eight NCMCA member firms at the May 21 contest held at Pine Hall Brick in Greensboro.

Morrison lives in Midland, N.C., and is the son of Johnny and Lita Morrison. His interest in masonry began in Concord as a sophomore at Central Cabarrus High School as a student of masonry instructor Todd Hartsell.

Morrison is no stranger to the spotlight. He won first place in the 2003 N.C. Department of Labor Annual State Fair Masonry Apprentice Contest. He also competed at the N.C. SkillsUSA Masonry contest at Greensboro in April, winning the right to represent North Carolina in the National SkillsUSA Post-Secondary Education Masonry Competition in Kansa City this summer.

"I'm very proud of Josh," says Craig Reeder, Morrison's foreman at McGee Brothers Company. "Kids his age usually don't have his work ethic. He's talented and willing to do what's required to reach the goal, whatever it is."

Morrison says he plans to work for McGee Brothers for the rest of his life. "I wish they'd hurry up and give me a crew of my own," he says.

Morrison won what very well may be the toughest apprentice contest in the nation. This year's contestants included Dallas Caudle who won a Silver Medal in the 2004 SkillsUSA National High School Masonry Contest and will compete in that contest again in June as the 2005 North Carolina High School SkillsUSA Champion. Also competing was Cody Alward who is a state and national high school masonry and post-secondary education champion and winner of the 2002 N.C. Department of Labor State Fair Masonry Apprentice Contest.

Rounding out the Top Ten were Dallas Caudle, McGee Brothers; S. Juan Minguel Chaves, Brodie Contractors, Raleigh; Joaquin Castro Lopez, Old North State Masonry, Charlotte; Justin Flinchum, McGee Brothers; Jose Santos, Gates Construction, Mooresville; Grant Hartsell, McGee Brothers; Jesus Ramirez, Gates Construction; Cody Alward, Alward Masonry, Rockwell; and Marco A. Gracia, Gates Construction. The Top Ten scores ranged from 157 to 169 points out of a possible 180.

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 State President Danks Burton of Pinnacle Masonry in Cary served as head judge.

"The contest is a good opportunity for our guys to come together with peers from other companies ? and even peers within our company they may have never met ? to measure how their skills compare with each other," says Sam McGee, President of McGee Brothers.

NCMCA members provided approximately $10,000 worth of tools and cash, which was divided among all the contestants. As the contest winner, Morrison was presented the "David R. Sigmon Award" for top score, $600 in cash (traditionally matched by the employer), an MK Diamond masonry saw and a wheelbarrow full of tools. NCMCA members also donated equipment, labor and materials.

Contest Chairman Wayne Starr of Griffin Contractors in Morganton expressed appreciation to host Pine Hall Brick, the NCMCA Triad Chapter and all of the sponsors of the contest for helping to make the event a success.

For more information, visit the NCMCA association web site at

About the Author

The North Carolina Masonry Contractors Association, Inc. is dedicated to serving the Masonry Contractors of the Carolinas and to promoting masonry as the building material of choice and as a career option. For more information, please visit


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